Did Halloween end before the Black Friday sales started hitting your inbox this year? With email headings like “Pre-Black Friday Sale”, “Black Friday Preview”, and “Start Shopping Black Friday Deals Now”, I was shocked at how early retailers jumped on the sale train this year. Well, I should correct myself, shocked and happy! Every year, once late-September rolls around, a constant thought for me is can it wait until Black Friday? Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t living without essentials like toilet paper, but to the extent any purchase might be on sale for Black Friday, I’m usually willing to wait it out.
Over the years, I’ve seen all sorts of sales. Some are absolutely incredible, others are no better than the offers I see weekly or monthly. What makes the difference, is decoding what retailers are really offering you, which is often deceptive. We’ve all seen the memes about filling your cart with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise, only to balk at $6 in shipping costs.
Below are common offer categories that aren’t as good as they seem:
Retailers love to use offers such as Buy One Get One 50% Off. What catches your eye is the 50% off number, but in reality, that’s just 25% off of two items, assuming they both cost the same. If you buy two differently priced items, the retailer will apply the 50% off to the lower cost item, making the discount less than 25% overall.
Sometimes, it’s an add to cart kind of day, and you know what, go for it. That said, if you find yourself adding items you weren’t planning to buy just to avoid the shipping costs, that’s not being a savvy shopper. Many retailers will offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount, but if you’re paying more to avoid the shipping cost than what you would save by not buying the additional item(s), are you really saving anything?
The Low-Cost Lure
Just because prices start at a certain number, doesn’t mean that they’re things you’re interested in buying. I’ve been reeled in many a time by this, only to discover the out-of-season sale items may start at that price but now that I’m on the site, I find myself looking at in-season full-priced items.
Black Friday To Dos:
It may seem like I’m hating on sales, but I promise you I’m not. In fact, below are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop, which can help you save money immediately and in the future:
- Look for deals with future benefits – For the past two years, a certain retailer that I love has offered 10% off of up to $300/per person in store gift cards. That is an incredible offer for this retailer and every year, I go into the store (the ONLY one I’m willing to go into over that weekend) to max out the gift card purchase. No matter what, I know that my next $300 in purchases from that store will be 10% off because of it.
- Sign up for money-back apps such as Dosh – Dosh quite literally gives you cash back for your everyday purchases when you link your credit cards to the app. You don’t have to do any work other than signing up and linking your cards. If you haven’t signed up for Dosh yet, please consider using my referral code from your phone or enter MELISSF251 when you sign up.
- Sign up for a coupon extension for your browser – I just recently signed up for Honey, which automatically searches all available offers and coupon codes for you to apply to your purchase. Again, no additional work on your part once the extension is added to your browser! If you haven’t signed up for Honey yet, please consider using my referral code.
- Share a purchase to maximize the benefits – I was recently shopping with a friend. We were both purchasing items from the same store, which had a buy-more-save-more promotion going on (spend X, get an additional XX% off your purchase; spend Y, get an additional YY% off your purchase). The premise was that the more you spent, the deeper the additional discount. Because neither of us would qualify for the top tier of the discount independently, we combined our purchase to capitalize on the top tier discount for both of us.
If you have any of your own tips, feel free to share them in the comments below. Here’s to happy shopping and feeling good about the savings!
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