Black Friday Is a Marathon. Here’s How to Win

Black Friday has transformed from a one-day event into a two-month sale. Retailers waste no time. The Target Deal Days popped up last Thursday through Saturday. Walmart rolled back prices yesterday and will keep them going through Thursday. And Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale is running today through tomorrow.

While it may seem early for Christmas shopping, this is a great opportunity to spread spending over a few months to avoid a January debt hangover.

Getting the most out of Black Friday takes perseverance. We’ve got some advice on how to beat ad fatigue, sort through sales, and increase your reach holiday budget.

Familiarize yourself with offers

Introducing holiday sales weeks before Halloween may feel intrusive, but waiting for November to do business may not pay off. Early Black Friday deals from three major retailers — Amazon, Target and Walmart — are among the best of the year.

nerd wallet tracked popular products in 2022 to find out if official Black Friday sales are the best of the year. Most of the products tracked had their lowest price on Amazon Prime Day in July or during Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale, which is happening now.

If you missed Prime Day in July or recent Target Deal Days, you now have a second chance to score great deals at Walmart or with Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale, although you’ll need a Prime membership or free trial membership .

And if it seems too soon to buy, you can think about how to make wise spending decisions in the coming weeks. The sale will now be rampant during the holiday season.

Do you have a plan to overcome ‘promotion fatigue’?

let’s be honest A steady barrage of sales for three months is a lot. So create a plan to help you navigate and save.

Shop more to save more

As the holiday season begins, “there’s an onslaught of advertising fatigue,” says Mark Bergen, James D. Watkins Professor of Marketing at the University of Minnesota. The flow of sales can feel overwhelming. “I think tiredness and exhaustion can lead to mistakes, and overspending could be a very natural mistake,” he says.

It might seem counterintuitive, but Bergen says that “actually, you should shop a little more” to avoid overspending. Checking competitors’ prices before buying is one way to do this. It may be worth going to another store or waiting to buy a product online if it saves you money.

Before shopping online, it may be worth visiting a store to see the item in person. Size, color and quality are often difficult to assess online. Check out the item in store then buy online when the best deal comes without fear of disappointment once it arrives.

Set up notifications to benefit from price adjustments

Many retailers will offer extended price adjustments or price adjustments through the end of the year. While it’s tempting to buy an expensive item and move on, it’s worth keeping an eye on throughout the season. If you find it cheaper where you bought it (or from a competitor), take your receipt to the store and ask for the difference. If the store does not offer a price guarantee, the credit card you are using.

Take shortcuts to set yourself up for success. Jane Boyd Thomas, a professor of marketing at Winthrop University in South Carolina, suggests setting up Google alerts on items to let you know about price drops. Browser Extensions like Honey also offer to “watch” a product and alert you when it falls below a certain price.

Automating notifications is the best of both worlds: you can set them and forget them, unless a price falls below what you paid – then you can pocket the difference.

Remember the basics of budgeting

Making a list, estimating costs, and sticking to your budget isn’t necessarily a “modern or sexy” approach, Thomas notes, “but it’s a tried-and-true way to be a good consumer.”

“Consumers should always go back to basics,” she says. That means asking yourself questions like, “What is my Christmas shopping budget? And who am I shopping for?” Then make a list, says Thomas, “so you don’t get confused so easily.”

A good deal might be good enough

Black Friday is all about getting the best deal, but in an extended shopping season also plagued by inflation, settling for the good might work.

Bergen advises consumers to be patient. “I think you’ll see just a little bit more frustration,” he says, “and to the extent that people can forgive themselves or be kinder to themselves, they realize they’ve gotten a pretty good deal — that’s still a good job in inflation.”

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