Find the Best Holiday Deals — Even Before Black Friday

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by Nindo Mom on November 14, 2010

These days, retailers–both brick and mortar and online–begin holiday promotions well in advance of Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

I shop at both brick and mortar stores and online, excluding neither because each method offers its own benefits. Brick and mortar stores offer the opportunity to “feel the season” with festive surroundings and music. And the “doorbusters” and other special sales retailers devise to get customers in the door can be pretty fantastic. But for me, shopping online offers benefits that shopping in-person just can’t touch: amazing deals, no crowds, product information at the touch of a button, and tremendous time savings–all from the comfort of your armchair.

Whether you choose to shop at your local stores or online, remember that the deals don’t wait until the holidays are here; there are great sales going on even weeks before Black Friday. Once great example: Amazon.com is offering up to 30% off holiday toys, and their Gold Box and Lightning Deals offer opportunities to get serious discounts on popular items several times a day. Around the holidays, I check the lighting deals  every hour or so, whenever they’re scheduled to change. (And I’ve already ordered 4 items just this past week, one of them for 80 percent off list price. Whoo Hoo!)

An Easier Way to Find the Sales

For my brick and mortar store purchases, I used to wait until the Sunday newspaper supplement was released each week. Nowadays, I find that searching stores’ online circulars is much easier. (The only time this doesn’t work out as well is when stores require the actual coupons they sometimes list in the paper for customers to receive discounts.) Some retailers release their Black Friday circular to the public weeks in advance–so check your favorite stores’ websites to see if they are one of them.

Before you buy. . .

Keep in mind what your goals are for shopping this year. Most people have heard that you should go grocery shopping when you’re hungry or without a list. Likewise, you’ll be well served to make a list before you shop for holiday gifts. Of course, you’ll run into situations where you see something while a shopping excursion that strikes you as a great idea–and sometimes, it is. But sometimes it can turn out to be a waste of money, and a purchase that you regret once you’ve made it.

My best solution to avoid spending too much on impulsive gifts is to create a special place for it in your budget. It’s OK for to plan a certain amount of your holiday shopping budget toward spur-of-the-moment decisions. The important thing is to adhere to the budget you set for yourself. If you decide to modify your budget, that’s fine–just make sure it’s something you think about carefully, first. Another way to avoid too many unplanned purchases is to arrange separate trips for window shopping and trips during which you actually purchase your items.

Recall the Real Meaning of the Season

Through all the deal-searching, remember your original purpose–to make your loved ones happy. To bring joy to people’s lives. Take time to review the path and relationships in your life–and appreciate them. Never let the sometimes hectic nature of the season take that away from you or away from the special people in your life.

And when you’ve got all that done–have fun shopping!

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