Heading to the stores this weekend? You'll have plenty of company as you hunt for deals. Here are some tips to help you get the jump on your competition.
Your smart phone is the best guide to product prices, especially on Black Friday. Treat it as a tool and use it in every aisle to compare prices. Your cell is best used when you can pin one store against another on price. Ask for a match. What's the worst that could happen?
KNOW THE TERMS, TIMES
This year's crop of Black Friday circulars contained a surprising amount of fine print. A savvy shopper will wise up to the terms and conditions before heading out. Otherwise, you're learning it on the fly and wasting time surrounded by other hurried shoppers.
Also, specials are being staggered in many stores this year. Wal Mart's Thursday ad was actually a series of three circulars, trumpeting three ‘events' through Friday, each with different deals. Catch the correct wave. Be sure you have the right time for the right sale.
STACK A COUPON
Upon close examination, we discovered a liberal helping of coupons mixed within the Black Friday ads—both store coupons and manufacturers coupons. One slices $15 from your bill; another takes 25% off your purchase. Combined with deep, door buster discounts, coupons can make a good deal even better.
Coupons are also good leverage in price matching, as outlined in tip #1.
RETURN IMPULSE BUYS
It is going to happen. And it's OK. Giving in to an impulse buy is not a crime. But holding onto the unnecessary gadget after buyer's remorse has sunk in is a savvy shopping sin. Return that meaningless piece of clutter and put that cash to use somewhere else, somewhere useful.
WATCH FOR PRICE DROPS
In many cases it's a myth that prices on Black Friday are the lowest of the year. That's why the smart money who buys something the day after Thanksgiving keeps an eagle eye on prices through Christmas. Since several stores offer low price guarantees (even during the holidays), a price drop triggers a refund of the difference.
Save your receipt. Not only is it good practice to save your receipts from holiday purchases, that little slip of paper could put money back in your pocket.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday deal guide: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/category/251035/tampa-bay-holiday-guide-2012
FOX 13's Alcides Segui hunts for deals Friday morning at the Citrus Park Mall: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7992062
FOX 13's April Kellogg looks at the deals on toys: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7992056