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You know you’ve said it before: “Those people who camp outside the store for Black Friday deals are crazy!” And maybe you’ve been one. I participated one year at Circuit City for an mp3 player for my mother. I said I would never do that again, and I’ve held true to my words, even now. And if it’s something you’re considering for the first time this year, STOP. Not just because it’s insane to wait hours at a time outside Toys ‘R’ Us for the hottest toy this season. Many large retailers are recognizing the shift towards online shopping and are adjusting their products and, yes, prices to accommodate consumers, which mostly eliminates the need to get out early the day after Thanksgiving and hunt for bargains and items.
One need not even change into decent clothing to shop early now: retailers are offering deals online much ahead of Black Friday and in different ways. Many consumers can earn rewards when using a particular credit card for some purchases, which can in turn be used to purchase other gifts. Some, like Target, offer earlier shopping hours for their cardholders or early deals through Facebook. And a slew of stores are now revealing their deals a few days or even weeks ahead of Black Friday. Wal-Mart, one of those notorious retailers with high volumes of unruly shoppers on Black Friday, had threatened to sue all those who leaked their Black Friday deals in years past, but this year the major retailer provided their own ads early to shoppers to build anticipation and gain an early advantage with deal-savvy shoppers.
But what is especially appealing about Black Friday online shopping is the variety of merchants and online stores to browse and research. Compare prices and products from your typical holiday retailers, like Macy’s and Target, as well as their competitors, such as Amazon and Ebay. Not finding what you’re looking for? Smaller, privately- or family-owned online business might offer the same item at similar or lower prices.
Though Black Friday shopping has changed much in just the last few years alone, your preparation for this new and growing style hasn’t: make a list and budget it. Start with those people whom you definitely want to purchase gifts for, then try this printable holiday shopping list to get you started. Then, specify an acceptable price range. Seems simple, right? The gift and energy of giving can easily thwart your spending plans, so be sure to discipline those calls to spend just a little bit more.
Unless there’s that one item you just can’t get online but only in the store, Black Friday shopping can mostly be done early, without crowds or tumultuous parking wars, and with the comfort and ease of clicking a button. So keep your jammies on, score your Black Friday deals, and head back to bed, because chances are you can buy that special item somewhere in the vast universe of the Internet.