Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Deals

It seems all everyone talks about this time of year is Black Friday. After the feast, but before resuming work, it's time to shop. Historically, Black Friday is the day of the year where retailers make enough money to go from being in the red (negative earnings) to in the black (positive earnings). I've never been into the whole idea of camping out to get a good deal on a big television, but if that's your cup of tea, make sure to do your research. BF Ads, for example, has plenty of ads listed to make sure you map out your conquests well.

Others might want to go the warm and comfy route of Cyber Monday, a sales bonanza that takes place online only on the Monday following Thanksgiving. If you're thinking of trying it out, make sure you take a few tips from this Fool (#4 is the best tip for all online shopping!):
  1. Check out comparison-shopping tools - Sites such as Cool Savings, Google Product Search, Shopzilla, and Street Prices, plus Deal News' companion sites, offer tools to compare prices.
  2. Re-sort and revisit - Some comparison websites deliver results skewed by ad dollars -- with the stores paying for placement getting top billing or activated links to their storefront. Try loading results based on price, location, rating, or other criteria to get a true view of the shopping landscape.
  3. Fill in the blanks - To capture results from retailers that may not be included in comparison sites and check on the latest promotions, type in the URL of stores directly to see whether their latest promotions are worthwhile.
  4. Erase your electronic footprints - Delete all cookies from your browser and search again another day. You want to make sure you're getting as good a price on an item as a first-time visitor to the website is. Some e-tailers serve up your old, cached search results (and old prices) if you've browsed there before.
  5. Compare clicks and mortar - Does your favorite store have an online shop? Sign up for its newsletter and get advance notice of sales and subscriber-only coupons. And also compare online and offline prices -- they aren't always identical.
  6. Crack the code - If you shop online, don't lose out by leaving the "enter promotional code here" box blank. Get the scoop on possible savings at sites such as Current Codes and Coupon Cabin. Also try typing in the retailer's name and "coupon code" in your search engine.
To be honest, I'm not really interested in either. We're not really in the market for anything we've seen in ads lately, and we try to avoid getting lured in to needless purchases. Besides, given the state of the economy per the Starbucks test, we might have some pretty good sales to look forward to before Christmas, without the crowds ;-)