Black Friday, Bye Cyber Monday! Shopping Tips, Tricks and Kicks to Use Year Round

Make Your Own Black Friday, Cyber Monday As Needed

You don't need businesses to tell you when to shop for their deals. Think about that for a moment. Many groups hype Black Friday and Cyber Monday not to give you the best prices, but to get you to come into their stores to buy slow-moving and oftentimes worthless products. You know those problematic, cheap, and over-hyped items that no one really wants.

I took the liberty of checking on some of the popular items many of these retailers use to bring you into their stores. Since many are electronics and household goods, it didn't take long to find out what the problems were with some of these items the reason why they were chosen to grace the cover of circulars. Here are a few tips to help you get started with your research:

1. Type the brand name of the item and then add the word "alternatives." Then start visiting the websites that come in the search engine.

2. Check the reviews on your favorite items (good and bad). You will find that people who have already bought the popular items have also purchased an alternative which is typically affordable and better in quality. Jumping on the bandwagon just might leave you feeling disappointment in the future. So pay close attention to the rants people make in some of those forums and also check blog reviews because they aren't monitored by most companies.

3. Visit eBay and you will see many of your desired items available. The prices will be too good to be true compared to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday prices. The catch is that many are refurbished or used or the retail box is being sold but with no product inside. Take notice of the photographs looking for imperfections. People usually sell items because they no longer work so they are just selling the parts, they still do work but not as good as they once did, or they are fully operable but no longer satisfy their needs. Many of the items in the eBay listings do show signs of wear and don't come with all necessary parts. When this happens, some sellers will attempt to fix the items cosmetically and include substitute parts, while others won't. Based on what you learn about the product you had in mind, you will discover that it simply isn't worth buying at the store on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can predict the future with those photographs!

Companies know you will be out shopping for those so-called deals during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so they put out their losers while you look around for what you think you need. But do you really need what you are looking for during Black Friday or Cyber Monday or have you been brainwashed year round into thinking that you need yet another TV, portable electronic device, or a household item that you know you won't be using often, but you reason, "Well, I just couldn't pass up the price and well you never know..." Sure. Think of the many items that are in garages, attics, and basements that haven't been used in years, but you know, it was on sale. Stores need your business because they know they lost money buying too many of "whatever those were called" items. So what better way to increase profits and suffer less of a loss, promote end of the year events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday?!

So how might one want to make up his or her own Black Friday or Cyber Monday on an as needed basis? Well, start by saving money for the needed item. Set aside an envelope and start filling it with cash. This way you are focused on a single item and will have just enough money to spend on that. If you will be shopping online, have a savings account that will automatically transfer money. Be sure you have a target date when all money is saved up and you are ready to spend. Without a date, you will most likely not reach your objective which is to buy that very necessary item--or is it necessary? Be sure this is something that you really need and will use. Check out video of people using your item and stay on top of reviews for it. Chances are someone somewhere has had a problem or two and needed to find information online to solve his or her issues. So do a thorough check and know what you are getting into before you buy the item.

Note days and times you will check online for sales on your product. Also, research to find when items in your product's category typically go on sale. Find out if there are any new releases or upgrades upcoming. You don't want to end up buying something that will be out-dated within months. Most stores will have various sales on products of every category long before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Be consistent when seeking these Black Friday Deals year round. Here's hoping you will find what you are looking for at the best price--hey wish me well too!

Conduct Research on Needed Products Before and During the Month of November

Notice how much your needed items are to date. Keep watch over the price drops, if any, and watch the Internet as well as talk to others who are familiar with the products you seek. Chances are the item may be discounted near or on Black Friday, but then there may be an item of lesser value with minimum features in the same category, but most likely not what you want.

Pay attention if there are any new products or upgrades similar to your desired items, prices usually drop on older products to make room for newer ones. Comparison shop before you jump on the bandwagon like everyone else being lured into stores with items you simply don't need and aren't very good. Check the reviews, dig for customer disappointments. Sometimes companies will hire public relations teams to do away with unsightly reviews and will pay workers to write glowing ones.

All the best to you!

Look Out for Deals Year Round

The same energy, time and planning that many of you put into Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, spread it out year round! Whenever I need something online I use some of the tactics I mention on this Hub Page. This way you can rest easy knowing that you got an even better price for your stuff than you might have gotten had you waited when the holiday rush storms the stores. Look back in the search engine archives and you will see some of the articles that came out back in the spring and summer on things like electronics and gaming deals.

I noticed some items had inflated price tags on some sites and not others. For instance, an mp3 player that I saw for cheap on Toys R Us was $20 plus dollars more at Walmart--it was the same item!! I checked other stores and it was cheaper elsewhere. Walmart prides themselves on having good prices, but that isn't so in recent years--do shop around.

During 2013, I was disappointed with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals because there simply wasn't enough items in stock. My focus was on apparel primarily pjs and outerwear, toys, and electronics. I did find some reasonably priced children's items (clothing, electronic games and shoes.) I visited the lesser known stores and turned up a few good gift items. I also checked out eBay frequently and was able to stretch out my last $100 bucks to spend online. Every child I had in mind received a gift (toys) in the mail.

Some surprises for 2012 Black Friday and Cyber Monday for me mainly happened the day and night before both events like: women's pjs at Sears, children's clothing specifically pjs and top and bottom sets at stores that weren't Walmart or Target (even though I did snatch an in-store deal at Walmart of $4.50 for pjs on Black Friday (not the best quality but will do--kids grow fast) and then went online to see "okay" prices on pjs, but they didn't knock me off my feet.) I had disappointments with Target--I just couldn't win (This seems to be the case most often year round. Sale items are so-so but not the best nor is there many in stock). Target's prices on clothing, household items, etc. so-so or plain terrible, not competitive. When jeans were running at $15 elsewhere, Target had $20 dollar this and that in apparel. Children's clothes were no steal either. I gave up on Target and the website, as usual, had glitches. When I saw something I liked "out of stock" came up and the same happened at Walmart too--I started early. (Mind you, I stayed up during the night, went to sleep for a little bit, got up early the next day and kept at it website hopping for the best deals and using coupon sites too.)

JCPenny made me smile about their apparel sales and so did Old Navy and Cookies - a uniform store for kids but they also had typical prices for clothes as well--no deals. I even felt tempted to keep shopping over at Christian Books too--their select merchandise was priced lower.

I avoided the stores that didn't have free shipping, a coupon or discounted merchandise. I also thought of using a cashback program (Ebates) well into my shopping experience--glad I remembered to use at least for several sites.

No household goods that appealed to me had much of a change in price since the summer like area rugs, bathroom curtains, and household décor. There were gadgets on sale but none I needed. However, my pressure cooker went out during the shopping weekend and I messed up the inside, so I did find one reasonably priced on Amazon. Macy's had a sale on select merchandise for the kitchen too.

I paid close attention to reviews and avoided the popular electronic deals--I discovered there was much-ado about nothing! The so-called affordable brands on things like laptops, androids, tablets, and digital cameras appeared okay until I read reviews. I thought of making a serious purchase at first on a laptop and an android, but decided against it. I remembered someone telling me wait until mid to late January.

Anyway, I liked my Kmart online shopping experience prior to Black Friday after that everything fell downhill from there. The website was jammed on that day and I missed out on quite a few things including a bike and table I wanted, so off to the store I went on Black Friday (sigh). Inside the store, the lines were ridiculous I didn't recall seeing a 20 items or less line and two lanes were not open--what the!? Prior to going there, we went to Walmart. We were out of there with purchase in less than 30 minutes! Thank God someone was managing the 20 items or less lane! Quite a few shoppers tried to get away with full carts in the express lane--oh I hate that! I did go back to Kmart the next day and the items I wanted both on and offline--not there! So down here in Georgia we have a Fred's I got my table and chair for cheap (one of those plastic banquet tables and folding chair, good for kids crafts.)

Toys R Us, well what can I say, I'm not always happy about them or Target when it comes to children's toys, I just think you can do better elsewhere. I did pick up a few things and I do mean a few from Toys R Us online, but the deals weren't extraordinary. I went to E-Toys and Kmart online to finish out the kids "Happy New Year" celebration. We don't do a traditional Christmas. Oh I could go on and on about shopping and such...but overall it was worth changing up the routine a bit, feeling a little excitement for a change, and saving some money on otherwise significantly over-priced stuff. By the way, if you or your child need a coat, check out Burlington. Last year, I got three coats for myself and two boys for less than $50! My coat has down feathers in it. The boys have those puffy character type with hoods.

Happy shopping!

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tips & Tricks You Can Use All Year Round

Here are some things that online shoppers do during Black Friday and Cyber Monday that you can implement during the year too:

One. They set up alerts to stay in the know on what is going on sale. From signing up for email lists to getting information sent to their phone, this is how they know before you know what is on sale.

Two. They befriend store managers and workers. I have personally stood in line when workers called relatives/friends to tell them to come on over to the store, "We got that in...it's here..."

Three. They install software that reminds them when to check certain websites to see if there are any changes since the last time they visited.

Four. They check sites for coupon codes before they will shop with them and then they will compare the codes with other prices to see how much they will save between sites. You may have as many as seven to 10 windows open on your screen doing this.

Five. They network online via forums and social media to see who knows what and who is doing what.

Six. They shop with credit cards just in case they have a problem with the merchandise. This way it is much easier to do a return, report a fraud, etc.

Seven. Plan to have an open line of credit months in advance and a system on how you intend to pay borrowed money back. This way when the season comes back around again, you will be ready.

Something worth mentioning, they also use sites where they can get cash back for all their purchases too.

Cyber Monday Madness

7 Tips on Shopping Like It's Black Friday & Cyber Monday Planning

You need to save money and some time so what better way then to plan and plan early! Black Friday deals are scattered throughout the year, not just after Thanksgiving, but if you don't plan and plan well, you just might miss out on a deal for that favorite item you have been waiting to go on sale all year. So how do we find what we want for the price we want?

One. List items you need, not those that you just want.

The best bargain shopping is when you find something you really need for almost half the price. Now that is a savings! However, there is no bargain when you just happened to find something you might have wanted one time or another, but you know you really don't need it--so what that you got it for cheap, but will you use it? Now if you purchase it anyway, consider this, you can resell it on eBay for a higher amount, not only did you get your money back, but you also earned a profit. Do that a few more times and before long you can afford to get the thing you really wanted.

Two. Know what you are willing to pay.

Since prices fluctuate on merchandise just about any time of the year, you will want to have a figure in your mind as to how much you are willing to fork over. So if your budget says, "You have $200 to spend on a TV" then you need to find a television that actually falls below that amount during Black Friday for your own peace of mind. This way if a certain brand you want drops any further in price, you won't feel so bad because you got your TV for the price you wanted to pay in the first place.

Three. Take advantage of free shipping.

Why pay shipping on anything during Black Friday or Cyber Monday? When you shop online, expect not to pay shipping and handling costs. When you refuse to shop at stores that are still charging for shipping, you are making a stand and sooner or later they will have to make some changes if enough people think like you do--why not make an announcement on all your social media pages, "DON'T PAY FOR SHIPPING ON BLACK FRIDAY, CYBER MONDAY!." However, keep in mind some stores will raise the price of merchandise to appear like they are giving you a deal by not charging you shipping.

Four. List the stores that carry your merchandise.

If you don't know what you or someone else truly wants, then how will you know what to look for and what to overlook? Sometimes we shop with an open mind and then find ourselves upset, because we didn't really get what we or someone else needed. So be specific when you list what items you and others need and which stores are known for carrying the best selection.

Five. Obtain and review advertising.

Do you know who has the latest deals on select merchandise? Start surfing the Internet to see which advertising is already available for you to check out. Then circle which items you need and then compare prices. You can do this with comparison shopping sites or simply open up all the websites you like and you can also view the printed advertisements by searching online for sites that have uploaded Black Friday circulars.

Six. Connect with others and have them alert you to deals on your favorite things.

Text, email, phone, and whatever other way you can be reached will help you immensely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday days. So tell family and friends to be on the look out for some of the things on your list and to give you a call. Hopefully, they can take photos and send them to you. Also, post your item you need on your social media page and be specific. This way if someone sees a deal for you, they will know exactly what you are looking for.

Seven. Don't sleep when it comes to midnight, early morning deals.

Set your alarm or stay up late. From clearance categories to sudden markdowns, store workers are doing much while many sleep to bring you savings, just not for long. When you really don't have a clue what someone wants or you might have missed out on some deals, then check the clearance category and offline racks and shelves for some ideas. You will be surprised at some of the most thoughtful gift ideas you can come up with when you have a limited amount of money to spend.

Now that you have seven tips to help you come up with an effective Black Friday or Cyber Monday strategy, start working to obtain that good deal you have been waiting on--happy shopping!

Online Stores Policies

If you don't check the store policies before shopping with those lesser known stores, then don't be surprised to see more email in your inbox. Many will send you additional notices, newsletters, etc. from "select partners" while others may also bill you for things you didn't know you signed up for.

So if you visit a site that you don't typically shop, use a major credit card when you make your purchase, but also pay close attention to your bill throughout the month and next month too. Also, be sure that you un-check boxes before check out that authorize stores to share your information with their partners.

View return policies. Will you be paying for return shipping? Most companies do not accept returns on things like computer software, media, and other things that can be duplicated. They also give you a limited time on when to return items too. So as soon as you realize you don't like or want it, prepare to call them for return shipping information. Get instructions BEFORE you send anything back because you don't want another problem later when the company tries to credit you for your return, but has no record that you ever sent it back.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Shopping: Things I Learned On & Off the Internet

What did I learn when I first started participating in these Black Friday and Cyber Monday events:

One. To start early. I have been known to stay up all night searching sites for things like toys, clothing and electronics simply because Internet service during the day will move slower and some sites will time out due to web traffic.

Two. Print out or make a note of the things you really need/want and note the general price on those items.

Three. Buy only "real" sale items. I avoid products that I know from surfing earlier didn't change in price even though there are notes all over the place that claim they are on sale. If you don't note the prices at each store earlier, how do you know whether or not it is really on sale?

Four. When talking to family and friends about the items you need, don't leave out the specifications. They will easily claim that they saw XYZ on sale, but most likely the specs or brand name is off. So be sure you print out or send a link of exactly what you are looking for to avoid misunderstandings.

Five. Don't take slow pokes or misbehaving children along when you shop. Avoid talking on the phone at length while you shop on or offline too. When you avoid the distractions, your shopping experience will be better, you won't spend as much, and you will be less likely to make mistakes.

Six. Don't do too much eating and drinking before shopping and wear comfortable clothing, shoes, etc. I can tell you that I have had a child needing to go to the bathroom while shopping and ended up wetting his clothes which forced me to have to spend over $30 I didn't plan to spend. I have had stomach upset because I was hoping my item was still in the store--you might want to carry along head and stomach relief with you. I also made the mistake of wearing the wrong shoes which meant I walked slower and didn't feel much like shopping because my feet hurt. While shopping online, I found that I was getting up too much to eat or go to the bathroom and when I came back to the computer, items were out of stock--that happens a lot!!! Then you are left with the undesirable stuff to choose from--ugh!

Although these appear to be common sense tips, you will be surprised how much unnecessary conflict results when you overlook the littlest of things.

Black Friday Ads, Circulars

When viewing those printed circulars, notice the patterns. The same computer, camera, or some other item keeps showing up on the front page of all those circulars, review before you buy! Research sites that list reviews on those so-called deals on electronics. Most likely there are many complaints about those too-good to be true deals. Now sure, some things will be okay, but don't guess! Know what you are getting yourself into before you make a purchase and check out those sites that grade customer service as well like this one.

You can find Black Friday circulars that locals have updated here.

Amazon: Black Friday Deals

One of the largest online retailers in the business, Amazon, started their Black Friday deals early. You will see things like tennis shoes, women's clothes, electronics and more on sale. Amazon will steadily drop their prices on select merchandise throughout the day. They draw consumers in with their Deal of the Day, Best Deals, Gold Box and Lightning Deals. I usually find cheap media, video games, brand name toys that are often seen on TV and baby stuff like bulk diapers, wipes, nightclothes and toys for far less than I would have paid at a brick and mortar store with less selections to choose from.

I noticed that Amazon has many secondary brands when it comes to electronics which is very helpful when you want to check the reviews on those brand names you may have never heard of. So don't sleep on Amazon! Black Friday Deals

When Problems Come Up with Your Purchases...Tell Someone About It!

It happens, sometimes things don't turn out like you had imagined when shopping for a favorite item. Your child doesn't like the toy because it doesn't work right. Your partner doesn't like his shoes or your wife hates the necklace you got. Meanwhile, your other relatives think that your idea of a good gift is just junk. So you collect receipts and back to the store you go. But before you do, you might want to find out what your rights are just in case customer service wants to give you a hard time. Check the store's policies online or call the store, this might help you save some time and even some gas depending on how far the drive is.

You also might want to find out if the merchandise had a history of complaints or even the store you shopped from. Take a moment to head on over to the Better Business Bureau site and go to the consumers section and also stop by sites like Rip Off Report, Yelp, and others that lists customer complaints. Print out your findings and bring them along to the store in case a company store clerk wants to give you a hard time. Also, don't hand over an original receipt and then walk away. Keep all paperwork in view. Make copies in advance if you discover the company has shady ethics.

Keep in mind that most customer service representatives are trained to make money not save the consumer money or refund him or her. Therefore, they will act as if they are "trying to help" and will avoid transferring you to a supervisor or manager like a plague. When this sort of thing happens, you will want to ask for a supervisor or manager. Check the web for any contact information as well that might help you and name names! Be sure you get the rep's name or company id number BEFORE you start talking about your incident. Do insist on speaking with someone in management when the rep gives you the run around. Note additional names of employees and what they say. When they say, "I can't help...don't know what else I can do..." Reieterate what they have told you back to them (so they can hear how bad they sound) and inform them in the most polite way that they can't help, so it would be best that you talk to an authority figure that can and you will mention what they have told you.

If they put you on hold for a long time note that too. If some how you are disconnected or the person doesn't come back to the phone, call again. Write the name of the next person you are talking to. Brief them on your story and mention the name of the worker who didn't assist you. Ask immediately for a manager or supervisor. Most likely the second or third person will attempt to do a better job than the last one, but it doesn't guarantee that you will get the best assistance about your matter. However, if you find that the rep was most helpful, do mention that and when you can, share your experience online with others who may want to shop at that store.

Hope your shopping experiences in the future are better!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Is it Worth It?

Well it all depends on who you ask. Most shoppers are looking for the following items based on statistical data and research at some of the most popular stores. The items include: digital cameras, laptops, jewelry, HDTVs, toys such as Legos, and gaming consoles. If you don't need any of these things, you can rest easy, you haven't missed much. Surprises include those less popular stores that have an incredible deal here and there. Keep your eyes open for local shoe and department stores who discount household items unexpectedly. Stores like Macys and Burlington Coat Factory are worth checking out. Shopping Black Friday for many is all about wants rather than needs, so if you don't really need anything, stay home.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Shopping - So What Do You Think?

What could retailers do differently when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday events?

  • Offer wider selection.
  • Keep more items in stock.
  • Give more free shipping deals.
  • Reward loyal customers.
  • Print circulars earlier.
  • Have more year-round deals.
  • Stop Black Friday and Cyber promotions and have better deals throughout the year.
  • Improve store policies.
  • Train workers better.
  • Make longer hours for bargain shopping.
See results without voting

What Happens After Black Friday?

More stores will list deals on select items and you will find more coupons, free shipping and discounts. So even if you don't make it on the day of Black Friday to shop around for deals, you will find many sales still ongoing throughout the latter part of November, December and mid-January on things like computers, winter clothes (and off-season clothes), toys, games, and media. So do save some of your money and spread it out throughout late fall and early winter months.

You Never Got Your Stuff!

So you have been going through your merchandise and discover that your item(s) never showed up! Well depending on how long it has been since you made the purchase, you might still have a chance to get a refund or another product sent out if you have proof of purchase.

Make a phone call and tell the customer service representative what happened. There should be record in the company database. Now if it is not, but you are showing a purchase has been made, most likely you will need to scan and email your proof or fax it.

Let's say the company claims to have sent the merchandise, but refuses to send another one because they suspect you are committing a fraud against them. What you will need to do is contact your bank or credit card company and file a complaint. You will also need proof of purchase. Sometimes an item may have been sent to the wrong address and signed for. It is very easy for the store to verify your address and the person who wrongly received it. But if they don't bother to perform this simple step or claim they don't have any record, you can supply a copy of your purchase from the company and send it to them. If they continue to give you a hard time, not only do you let your bank or credit card company know about the matter, but file an online complaint and also if you have a social networking account and blog, let readers know too!

Banks will investigate the store and may provide you with a refund rather quickly, but don't sigh relief too fast. If the company files a complaint against you, the bank will come back at a later date and take their money back from the account that you used. As for credit card companies, they too will investigate and will either give you a credit or come back later and debit your account or worse close it if they find your complaint was made falsely.

Try Auctions for an Exceptional Deal!

Sometimes there are deals that are simply too good to pass up on auction sites.

Computers, Laptops and Tablets - Bid and Win

Brand New Gift Cards, Electronics, and Appliances for Just Pennies

Search Terms You May Want to Use When Searching for Deals

Black Friday Keyword Searches

black friday (then include the specific name of the product you want or something related)

black friday online deals

black friday sales

(include the name of store here) black friday

black friday jewelry (misspellings also bring up results) ie.) jewlry

black friday tv deals

black friday tv sales

black friday (include year here) ads

black friday online deals (include year)

black friday information

(include name of product) black friday deals

black friday ads

black friday deals

black friday sales

Although some keyword searches look very similar, results will vary in some search engines.

Cyber Monday Keyword Searches
cyber monday deals

cyber monday ads

cyber monday sales

(include name of store) cybermonday or cyber monday deals, sales, ads

You will also include name of product, model, or year along with keywords mentioned and others you come up with.

2013 CNET Update: Black Friday begins early online

Toys, Video Games: Thinking Before We Go Out Buying Kids Just One More Thing

© 2012 Nicholl McGuire

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Nicholl McGuire has been providing useful content on websites since 2007. Learn more about her business Nicholl McGuire Media.



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