The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. For most, it’s also a paid day off work. So is dragging yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn really worth it? “I don’t think so,” says Michelle Madhok, shopping expert and founder of SheFinds.com. “You can get a lot of the same deals online and there are also some deals you can only get online.”
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And you don’t have to wait until Friday, or even Cyber Monday to start scoring the best deals. Madhok suggests using alert sites, like PriceGrabber.com, which tell you when the price drops on an item you want. And prices are dropping now and will continue to do so the rest of the year.
But if you do decide to brave the crowds, Madhok has some helpful tips to make it truly worth it. Her first one is no surprise: Get your electronics first. “The biggest Black Friday deals are on electronics and getting 70 percent off a TV is better than getting 70 percent off, say, gloves,” she says.
But buyer beware: Madhok says many retailers make lower quality products specifically for Black Friday. To outsmart these sneaky stores, look up the model number to ensure what you’re buying is the same model you want and not a knockoff.
Second, have a plan. “Go to BlackFridayAds.com to see an early release of the coupons and deals. It will help you make a game plan,” Madhok says. “Then, head to the stores in advance so you know the layout.”
Once you’re out shopping, use apps from Amazon.com or PriceGrabber to scan your items, making sure you are truly getting the lowest price. If not, many stores will match the price you find elsewhere.
Lastly, Madhok advises keeping your receipts, taking photos of them and uploading them to SkyDrive.com or Evernote.com so you can keep them on file. “Ask for a price adjustment if you see the price on an item go down. Many stores will honor that. And American Express will give you a money difference if you find a better deal somewhere else,” she says.
Most importantly, remember to keep your cool when you’re out shopping with the crazies. “Keep it in perspective,” Madhok says. “Don’t let yourself get carried away with the mob morality. It’s not worth it.”
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence