NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday Shopping

 

The Christmas displays may have been in the stores for weeks already, but the Friday after Thanksgiving is still viewed as the official kickoff for the holidays shopping season.  To ensure your holiday shopping not only saves dollars but is safe, keep these tips in mind.

- Check online for Black Friday ads so you have time to compare prices and map out what stores to visit. Take photos of the ad items and keep them on your phone so you remember what you're after. Some online retailers will be kicking off Black Friday sales early, so keep an eye online for store opening times.

- Be aware of dangerous online shopping scams – A new scam is an email promoting links for discount coupons.  However, when you click on the link, the site asks for your credit card information.  A legitimate company won't ask for your banking or credit card information to get coupons. Look for red flags - including misspellings and multiple pop-up windows - that are dead giveaways for a scam site. If an email seems suspicious, don't reply or click on any links. Delete it immediately.

-  Make a list and check it twice. Determine where items you want to purchase will be the cheapest and what time the stores will open. Then, map out a plan of attack. Being knowledgeable about what you're shopping for will also help you avoid being lured into impulse purchases.

- Set a budget. It's easy to get swept away in the shopping frenzy and end up spending more than you can afford. Designate a specific amount for each item or person on your list, and don't deviate from the plan.

-  Research before you shop. Compare in-store and online deals. In the past, several big box stores have offered pre-Black Friday online deals that were the same as their in-store Black Friday deals. Some retailers also offer online shopping exclusives that you can't find in stores.

- Understand return policies. Sometimes an incredible deal comes with strings attached, and Black Friday is no exception. Knowing store policies before you go shopping can help you decide where to shop and what places to avoid. Keep an eye out for no-return policies, shortened return/exchange time frames and restocking fees.

-Understand store credit card offers.  Retailers often offer special discounts for signing up for their store credit card.  However, store credit cards carry interest rates that are higher on average than that of standard credit cards. They can still be a great option for consumers, but if you carry a balance, a credit card with a lower interest rate may be a better choice.

 

- Be safe. It's sad to say, but pickpocketing and purse snatching rises around the holidays. When you are out with the masses on Black Friday, bring a small purse and only take essential cash and credit cards. Never leave your purse unattended and be mindful of your surroundings at all times.

 

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