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I have a love-hate relationship with Black Friday: I love the season but hate the day.
Black Friday has practically become synonymous with the entire holiday shopping season, with Black Friday sales starting as early as October again this year. It’s the best time of year to buy anything. From September through December, I stock up on household staples as well as purchase Christmas gifts.
That’s also why I hate to see people miss out on savings because they obsess over the singular day that is Black Friday — Nov. 24 this year. While it will bring fantastic deals, so will plenty of other days during the holiday shopping season.
Additionally, focusing on Black Friday can be costly for consumers if they believe a sale offers the very best price of the year. The reality is that no matter how great a deal you score on Black Friday or any other day, there is almost always a way to pay even less.
So, whether you’re a die-hard Black Friday shopper or hate the retail “holiday,” remember that you can save even more money the next time you buy anything. Just follow these tips before you check out.
1. Do your homework
A little research can go a long way toward lowering the prices you pay.
If you plan to buy anything on Amazon, for example, first take a few seconds to use free resources like those we describe in “2 Tools You Must Use When Shopping on Amazon.”
If you plan to hit up Black Friday sales on Nov. 24 — or on Thanksgiving — first review the ads of the stores where you expect to shop and compare prices with their competitors’ ads. Many retailers have already posted their Black Friday ads to their websites this year, as we have reported.
2. Use a cash-back portal
Going through a cash-back portal when shopping is something we talk about often here at Money Talks News. Most of the MTN staffers use portals like Ebates.com.
There is perhaps no faster way to lower the prices you pay than to use these sites, particularly when shopping online. It’s like getting paid to shop — see “3 Websites That Pay You to Go Shopping.”
3. Pay with discounted gift cards
Discounted gift cards are sold for less than their face value — for example, a gift card that’s good for $100 but for which you pay only $80.
There are two main types of discounted gift cards:
- New gift cards can be purchased for less than their face value at wholesale clubs. Check out the Sam’s Club’s gift cards webpage, for example.
- Unwanted gift cards can be purchased for less than their face value at marketplaces like Cardpool.com and Raise.com — see “How Unwanted Gift Cards Saved Me $300 Last Year.” A comparison website called Gift Card Granny will tell you which of these marketplaces is selling a certain retailer’s gift cards for the lowest price at any given time.
My favorite way to raise my savings is to use all three of these hacks at once. I find it particularly satisfying to buy something I found at a great discount while also paying even less than the sale price thanks to cash-back portals and discounted gift cards.
What’s your favorite hack for boosting your savings? Share it with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
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