Searching for Deals
Black Friday Ads
Where to find Black Friday ads and what to look for
As Black Friday approaches, you'll likely find your mailbox is crammed even fuller than usual with flyers and promotions for local sales. These ads can be a great source of shopping ideas, but they may not tell the whole story. Advertisers only have so much space within a flyer to show off sale items, and they may choose to prioritize premium products while leaving others out. Also, many flyers are intended for highly localized distribution only, so you might miss out on great bargains that are only available at a specialty retailer the next town over because you didn't get the flyer.
Fortunately, you can go online to find Black Friday ads for all your favorite stores. You can also visit store websites, as retailers will list their Black Friday sale prices online. That way, if you have your eye on a particular item and you want to see if it's going on sale, you can search specifically for it and nab a great bargain.
However, retailers are trying to get your attention and they're trying to bring people into the store, so they'll use every trick in the advertising book. It's very important that you know how to look beyond the obvious in Black Friday ads and make sure the advertised deal really is as good as it seems to be.
Decode Black Friday Ads
Here are some wise and helpful tips to help consumers avoid scams and bait-and-switch tactics on Black Friday:
- Always bring the ad with you to the store when you go to purchase the item, just in case there is any discrepancy between the advertised price and the in-store price. If you found an item promoted for sale online, simply print out the webpage and tuck it in your purse or pocket.
- Read the fine print very carefully, particularly on popular items advertised at deeply discounted prices. Some retailers hide a lot of tricks up their sleeves on Black Friday. For example, some sale prices may only be offered during certain hours on Black Friday, while others may be subject to quantity minimums or limitations.
- Understand that the store's normal return and exchange policy may not apply to all sale items. If you have any doubts about whether or not a sale is final, clarify them before you pay for your purchase. Also, remember that it is very common for all online sales to be "final", while other purchases might only qualify for in-store credit rather than cash refunds. Again, read the fine print with caution.
- Use the Internet to do some careful comparison shopping. There are many websites that compile the Black Friday ads published by major retailers, allowing you to quickly and easily perform side-by-side comparisons to see who really has the best deal. Don't head to the mall blindly; do your research and have a plan.
More Black Friday Shopping Tips
Beyond carefully checking the ads to make sure you're completely aware of the terms and conditions of the sale, there are some other important Black Friday shopping tips that can help make the day more enjoyable and less stressful:
- Shop locally. You'll save gas while helping out your local economy. Remember that Small Business Saturday follows Black Friday, so don't overlook potential bargains being offered by independent retailers in your community.
- Beware of pickpockets when you're in crowded places on Black Friday. Keep your wallet or your purse in a secure location at all times and only take it out when you are paying for your purchases at a cash register.
- Don't forget to bring your store rewards cards with you on Black Friday. If you have a smartphone, use QR codes to unlock special promotions. These codes will appear on both print and online advertisements if they are being used as part of a sale.
Black Friday is an extremely busy event, so build up your coupon collection in the weeks leading up to it so you can hit the ground running when the big day finally arrives.