For many shoppers, the day after Thanksgiving means lining up at stores before the crack of dawn, pushing and shoving through crowded malls, and above all, great bargains! For retailers, Black Friday marks the official launch of the holiday shopping season and a chance to boost sales in order to get out of the red. Jean talks with Mark Solheim, senior editor with Kiplinger's Personal Finance
magazine, about some strategies to help you make the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience:
- Do online research beforehand. Comparison shop, print coupons and find the best deals before you hit the mall, Mark says. Conduct a Web search for "Black Friday" to find even more special deals.
- Widen your search. These days, highly desirable electronics, games and toys can usually be found at more than one retailer. "You don't have to fight the crowds to get that hot item [as] you might have [done] in years past," Mark says.
- Spend those gift cards. Although retailers get money when they sell a gift card, accounting guidelines prohibit them from counting the cash as revenue until the card is used, Mark says. To encourage customers to use their gift cards, many retailers offer extra values and promotions if you use a gift card to make a purchase before Christmas. Don't like the gift cards you have? Search online for sites that allow you to trade gift cards with others "so you don't totally lose out," Mark says.