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 How to Save with Online and In-Store Black Friday Sales

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: How to Save with Online and In-Store Black Friday Sales   Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:20 pm

Consumer Alert: 4 Pricing Tricks in Black Friday Ads

It’s a frenzied time for Black Friday shoppers as Thanksgiving approaches and major retailers’ leaked Black Friday ads begin hitting the Internet for deal-hunters to start digesting.
Unfortunately, for every door-buster steal on the first page of your favorite retailer’s Black Friday ad scan, there are three ho-hum deals on the tenth page that aren’t worth your time, money, or sleep. Black Friday has essentially cannibalized itself; retailers, in the rush to capture more and more dollars the day after Thanksgiving, have stuffed every product on hand into their Black Friday ads in the hopes that Black Friday’s name will help them push “average” deals.
Related: The 10 Worst Things to Buy on Black Friday
So what’s a shopper to do? Peruse these ads carefully, for starters. Here are four of retailers’ favorite Black Friday pricing tricks – and  your best moves for beating them:  

1. They Mislead Us on Original Prices. 
Retailers usually list the “regular” price of an item next to the Black Friday price to show shoppers the discount they’re getting on a Black Friday purchase.
To make the discount appear larger, though, retailers typically use the original item’s manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) as the “regular” price in the ad, not the price the item is currently selling for on their website. In Bon-Ton’s 2013 Black Friday ad scan, for example, the retailer advertises a $99.97 price for the Keurig K45 Elite Brewer, down from the regular $172, according to Bon-Ton.

If you checked out Bon-Ton’s website at the time of this writing, though, you’d find that same Keurig K45 coffee brewer selling currently for $119.99. Bon-Ton’s Black Friday Keurig K45 price isn’t a bad one – but it isn’t exactly $72 off.
This practice isn’t limited to Bon-Ton. Macy’s 2013 Black Friday ad shows a Tommy Hilfiger faux leather military bomber jacket, WebId #947625, selling for the Black Friday price of $79.99, down from the regular price of $195 - $250. If you search for the item on Macy’s online store, though, you’d find the same Tommy Hilfiger leather jacket, with the same web id, selling for the same $79.99 price.  
These deals aren’t exactly buried in the ads, either – both the Bon-Ton and Macy’s examples are from the retailers’ first pages of their 2013 ads.
How to beat the retailer: Double check the “regular” price of an item to make sure you’re getting the deal you think you’re getting.

2. They Push Derivative Products. 
How can retailers offer such eye-popping discounts on HDTVs, laptops and other electronics? Well, the wares they’re selling often aren’t the cream of the crop. While some retailers simply sell lower-end brands, other less forthcoming merchants hawk limited-time-only TV models designed for the holiday season and Black Friday.
Related: Holiday Hiring More Ho-Hum Than Ho-Ho-Ho
These models are, unsurprisingly, unreliable and shoddy. Derivative products often have fewer features than comparable sets as well.
How to beat the retailer: Check the model numbers you see in Black Friday ads against the retailer’s current website offering or in a standard web search engine. If you can’t find that specific TV currently on sale at multiple retailers, you might be looking at a derivative product.

3. They Repeat Deals from Last Year. 
While many deals advertised in Black Friday ad leaks aren’t exclusive to the holiday, some of these sales aren’t even exclusive to Black Friday 2013. A NerdWallet study last year found that 90 percent of Black Friday ads from 2012 contained at least one of the exact same items selling at the exact same price as in 2011.
For shoppers purchasing discounted Christmas trees or cheap cookware, this deal repetition might not be a problem. For consumers purchasing consumer technology, though, this sneaky retailer practice is a raw deal.  
Related: Cautious Consumers May Make for Ho-Ho-Hum Holiday Sales
Staples, for example, sold the same Brother MFC-7860DW Laser Multi-Function Wireless Printer for $199.99 in both 2011 and 2012. You’d expect another year of the printer product cycle to have further outdated that wireless printer – but  the printer wasn’t any cheaper at Staples in 2012.
How to beat the retailer: Compare a retailer’s 2013 Black Friday ad scan side-by-side with the retailer’s 2012 edition. If any items have very similar product pictures, take a closer look – there’s a good chance you’ll find it’s the same item, selling at the exact same price.

4. They Use Rebates. 
Rebates are a tried-and-true Black Friday tactic. Merchants will advertise a fantastic item price in their ads and then sneak a line of fine print under the item stating that shoppers will need to submit a rebate to get that advertised price.
How painful the rebate process is varies significantly by retailer – but remember that you’ll probably have a lot on your mind during the holidays. Shoppers often forget to submit rebates – which is exactly why retailers love them.
How to beat the retailer: Watching out for rebates is fairly simple – make sure to read every ounce of text in your desired item’s item description box. Better yet, read the whole page: There might be fine print at the bottom of the ad. Then be sure to claim the rebate to which you’re entitled.

Matthew Ong is a senior retail analyst for NerdWallet, a financial literacy website based out of San Francisco.
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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: How to Save with Online and In-Store Black Friday Sales   Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:08 pm

Top 12 Tips for Holiday Safety

Tip #1

The holidays are a great time to get to know your neighbors

If you have not already done so, the holiday season is a great time to get to know your neighbors. This includes the people who live next door, across the street and over the back fence. Neighbors watching out for neighbors help keep an eye out for suspicious activity and make communities safer.

Tip #2

Parking Lot Safety Tips for Holiday Shoppers

Lock your vehicle and hide valuables, preferably in the trunk or locked compartment. Before sunrise and after sunset, park and walk in well lit areas and carry keys in your hand. Stay alert to your surroundings and take a moment to glance around for possible suspicious persons, vehicles, and/or situations. Prior to getting into your vehicle take a look inside and around before entering. If you observe evidence of a possible burglary, call your local law enforcement agency.

Tip #3

When you’re out shopping for the holidays, stay alert to surroundings

When in crowded places, be alert for potential thieves. Don’t overload yourself with packages. Maintain visibility and mobility to avoid potential threats. Be wary of strangers approaching you for any reason. The holiday season is notorious for “con-artists” who may attempt to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings. When possible, avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carrying large amounts of valuables. Never leave personal belongings unattended. As an added precaution, make sure you have a record of all your credit card numbers in a secure place at home.

Tip #4

Shop with Friends, there is safety in numbers

Recognize that there is safety in numbers and arrange to shop with friends and relatives instead of going out alone. Make sure everyone remains vigilant and looks out for each other.

Tip #5

Tips for Holiday Shopping with Children

When shopping with children, keep a close eye on them at all times. Consider coaching them to go to a store clerk or security guard if they become separated and be sure they know their first and last name so they can advise someone who they are. Give children a contact phone number that they can carry on their person in case they do become lost.

Tip #6

Holiday Safety Tips for Online Shoppers

Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. The Internet does have risks so it is important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online. The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends that you make sure you have a security suite (firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware) installed and updated with the most current information before shopping online. Also, keep your operating system and Web browser up-to-date. Before you enter your personal and financial information for an online transaction, look for signs that the site is secure. This includes a closed padlock on your Web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured. Never use unsecured wireless networks to make an online purchase.

Tip #7

More Tips for Shopping Online

Before providing personal or financial information, check the Web site's privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service because you’ll have no recourse if something goes wrong. Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchange with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

Tip #8

Keeping your home safe during the holidays

Be extra cautious about locking windows, sliders, and doors when leaving for any length of time. We suggest keeping all entrance points into your house secured while you’re at home as well. Set indoor and outdoor lights on timers and think about doing the same with a television or radio to make it appear as if someone is home. Never keep gifts or valuable objects in plain view from any window. Close blinds, shutters, drapes, and curtains because if a burglar can see those items they may attempt to take them from you. If a person knocks at your door and you don’t recognize them, don’t feel obligated to open your door. Teach your children that by no means will they open the door to anyone prior to your knowledge and authorization. It should also be noted that the Sheriff’s Office has seen cases where criminals have entered homes through doggie-doors or other animal access points.
Tip #9

Staying informed helps increase home security year-round

Following the Sheriff’s Office on twitter provides you with information year-round. In addition, the Sheriff’s monthly community e-newsletter helps keep you up-to-date on Sheriff’s Office activities and provides timely safety tips. You can also increase your home security by signing up for the free online neighborhood safety service, AlertID, or by starting a Neighborhood Watch program.

Tip #10

Let someone you trust know when you’re traveling during the holidays

Inform someone who’s trustworthy where you will be and when you might be expected back to your residence. Ask a neighbor or other dependable persons to watch your house and retrieve your newspapers and mail if possible.

Tip #11

Watching the weather is an important safety factor for Holiday Travelers

In the Sierra, severe winter weather is a true safety hazard. Stay tuned to weather conditions. Anticipate inclement weather and plan accordingly. Carry chains, keep sufficient gas in the tank and always use extreme caution while driving. Keep an eye out for pedestrians at all times.

Tip #12

When celebrating the holidays, celebrate responsibly

Many people celebrate the season by attending holiday parties with family and friends. Enjoy these gatherings responsibly so this time of joy does not become a time of tragedy. Watch how much you drink. Don’t drink then drive, get a ride with someone who is sober. The Sheriff’s Office recommends you prearrange transportation if you plan on consuming alcoholic beverages.

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: How to Save with Online and In-Store Black Friday Sales   Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:28 pm

How to Save with Online and In-Store Black Friday Sales

Published November 25, 2014

Black Friday offers some of the lowest prices of the year on many consumer goods including TVs, other electronics and toys. Savvy shoppers save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on this single day.

Shopping on Black Friday is extremely hectic and overwhelming due to so many amazing deals. Stores open extremely early the day after Thanksgiving (some open on the holiday) and most only offer their best deals on a first-come, first-serve basis. Finding and keeping track of all of these deals is not easy. To help you, we have put together these tips for saving at both on-line and in-store sales on Black Friday.

1. Make a List of Items You Want to Buy

Your objective for Black Friday should be to buy only the items on your list at the lowest price possible. Please note, we did not say you should buy the items with the biggest discounts at each store because you should not. Why not? Retailers will try very hard to get you to buy things that are not on your list. This does not benefit you. Instead, you will end up spending more of your hard-earned money than you planned which benefits the retailers. Do your best to stick to your list.

2. Scope Out the Best Deals Ahead of Time

Make sure you scope out the best deals ahead of time to make the most of your Black Friday. Remember, you are only looking for the items on your list.

Look through the ads in your local paper to find some of the best deals for brick-and-mortar stores. You can view the same ads on the retailers' websites if you no longer subscribe to the newspaper.

If you plan to shop online, check out your favorite websites ahead of time to see if they are promoting their best Black Friday deals. You might be able to find out about special deals if you sign up for a retailer's email newsletter ahead of the big day. Some websites, such as fatwallet.com and slickdeals.net, compile huge lists of Black Friday sales for both brick-and-mortar and online shopping.

3. Make a Plan of Attack

Once you have identified the best deals on the items you want to buy, make a list of each item, the best store in which to buy it, the discounted price and the normal price.

Scan your list and look for the items with the biggest total dollar savings. Prioritize these items by making them the first stop on your Black Friday shopping trip. If there are other great deals on items that you want to buy at the same store, pick them up while you are there.

You may need to enlist the help of friends or family if there are multiple big dollar savings at different stores at the same time. If this is the case, make sure to entice them to help with a small bribe. Just make sure the bribe is smaller than how much you will save.

4. Shop Online with Your Smartphone

Ensure that you are making the most of your time whenever you are waiting in a line to purchase an item. Pull out your smart phone and buy those great online deals while you wait to make your brick and mortar store purchases. This helps to save time and avoid missing the online and in-store deals.

5. Use Rewards Credit Cards for Extra Savings

We always use our rewards credit cards to tack on a few extra percentage points of savings to every purchase. Make sure to use the best card for every store. Whether you get two percent cash back on all of your purchases or you use a rotating five percent cash back credit card, every penny counts.

Black Friday is hectic, but with a little bit of planning you can save a ton of money without losing your mind.

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