Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals Really Worth it?

Income and Investments

With the approach of the Thanksgiving holiday, you might be thinking about how to strategize your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping…and ending up with a few questions. Are the deals really worth it? How can I make sure you are getting the best prices on your purchases? And how do stores even offer such fantastic deals?

Doorbusters and other loss leaders

The items that get people wound up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known as doorbusters and loss leaders. These are items, offered in limited quantities, that you can get only if you shop at certain times.

Often, these deals center around items that are popular and heavily discounted. The store might even take a loss on the items (hence the term loss leader) hoping that you will buy other items while in the store or online. The result of these loss leaders is that the other purchases you make have wider profit margins that result in a net gain for the store.

Some of the most popular and heavily discounted items for these types of deals include computers, netbooks, tablets, TVs, and other consumer electronics. They’re typically higher dollar items because it’s far more interesting to say $100 off a $2,000 item than $1 off a $20 item.

Is it worth it to get up early and camp out?

Since many of the special offers have a limited quantity, some people are willing to get up early in the morning, or even camp out overnight, to be first through the door to guarantee they get the deal. Unless you are willing to go to these lengths, there is a good chance that you won’t be in the store early enough to take advantage of the very best deals, like gaming systems or televisions.

Sadly, there is no guarantee that you will get the item and the savings might not be as good as you think, since many retailers inflate prices to make it look as though you are getting a discount. Also, you might miss out on time with your friends and family. You can’t put a price tag on that.

How to get the best deal

Enough about whether it’s a good deal to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, let’s talk about how to get the best deal and keep more of your own money. If you want the best deals during the holiday season, your best bet is to follow tried and true methods for saving money:

  • Shop around: Look for the best deals online and offline. There are plenty of apps that can help you compare Black Friday and Cyber Monday prices, and even compare past pricing data to see if you really are buying at the lowest price.
  • Price matching: Shop at stores that agree to price match so that if the price drops later, you can take advantage of the savings. Also, see if you can get price matching so that you don’t have to go from store to store, thus saving you some time and headache.
  • Prioritize: Decide which deal is most important to you if you decide to stand in line. Pick the most important item, and focus on that. Plan your shopping around priorities and assume that if there are limited quantities, you’ll only be able to get a couple of your high priority items..

In the end, it’s not much different than shopping any other day – it’s all about doing your research and planning ahead, minus the freezing temperatures and enormous crowds.

Comments (4) Leave your comment

  1. I am at home in my pajamas too! Plus, by shopping online I am saving another $28 (50 miles of driving @ 56 cents a mile). Someone could say that is offset with shipping charges, however, many sites have free shipping after a minimum dollar amount spent. As long as one sticks to the list of what they plan to buy and avoids impulse buying they may very well come out ahead. Plus, sipping on a coffee with Irish Cream while shopping is priceless.

  2. Hi Amanda, I included that section just to provide some kind of numerical baseline to make that decision. I realize most have the day off, but that’s how most people calculate the value of their time, so I went with that. Personally, I find my time to be worth more than my calculated hourly wage!

  3. These are good tips but I don’t find “the time worth it” section to be accurate. If you already have the day off because your employer isn’t open that day, the $26/hr argument doesn’t apply. If you took the day off specifically to go Black Friday shopping, then it makes sense. But my time spent with family and lounging in my pajamas after my turkey induced coma, is worth more than the fighting and traffic of Black Friday. I stopped going shopping on Black Friday about 5 years ago when store became so packed at 6 am that you couldn’t even move through them by yourself, let alone a shopping cart. Thanks for reinforcing why I don’t do this anymore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s