How forward planning can save money while making the season bright.
This year's Black Friday season is shaped to be as unusual and, yes, unparalleled as almost anything else that has happened this year – which means that if you want to take advantage of the holidays and make sure your gifts come according to schedule , you will need to plan ahead and follow some necessary holiday shopping tips.
What aspects of holiday shopping are likely to change in 2020? Experts expect that more people will shop online this year due to concerns about the transmission of coronavirus in stores – but an increase in online shopping will not be the biggest game changer this holiday shopping. "I think Black Friday sets an online shopping record every year that beats the previous Black Friday," said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com. "If this was a normal year, we would still expect it to increase."
Instead, the biggest shoppers on holiday will focus on how Black Friday deals are presented to consumers. Here's what to expect during the 2020 holiday shopping season – and how you can save money when shopping for Christmas gifts.
In this article:
Black Friday can last a full month
As you may have already noticed, Black Friday 2020 will not be limited to a single day – or even a single week. In fact, it may be more like Black Fri month . Retailers no longer expect an influx of personal shopping, so they use this opportunity to stretch their sales.
"I expect Black Friday to cover the whole of November and possibly the first week of December," says Ramhold. This extended Black Friday season will allow retailers to offer a range of deals, both in person and online – and give customers the opportunity to spread their purchases.
If you are planning to shop in the store for Christmas gifts, a full month of Black Friday sales allows you to plan your shopping during a time when crowds are unlikely to be present. If you plan to do most of your shopping online, the increased sales will allow you to research prices in advance, compare the store and leave an item in your shopping cart until you are ready to make an online purchase.  "The best way to get a good deal on an online purchase is to do your research, so you know if that price is good or not," says Ramhold. This year's holiday shopping should give you plenty of time to do that research – and give retailers plenty of time to offer really good deals.
Expect fewer door buses – but more offers
If you usually spend your Black Friday getting up early and waiting in line for door buses, it's time to make other plans. This year, retailers do not want lots of people packing their stores the day after Thanksgiving with crowded shopping carts – so there are probably not many door buses that are worth waiting in line for. Instead, many retailers choose to put their best deals online.
"We are used to seeing door buses that are really popular, limited quantity, limited time, you have to be there to get one," Ramhold said. "This year, it's just not what we see advertised. The really good deals will only be online, which is just a complete reversal from what they normally do. "
Does this mean that retailers will not offer any stores only for Christmas gifts? Not necessarily. Ramhold reckons that some retailers will still offer exclusive stores, but these stores will only deal with smaller items such as books and media – the type of items that retailers do not find cost-effective to send, for example. "It will not be such things that people will run into the store to buy."
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Save money by planning ahead
What is Ramhold's biggest tip for holiday customers 2020 who are looking for gifts for their loved ones? Plan ahead. This is good advice before all holiday seasons – but it becomes even more important during a year when many shop with a smaller budget. It's also one of the best ways to navigate a Black Friday shopping frenzy that can last for a month or longer.
"Before you even start looking at the ads, find out what your budget is and who you are shopping for," Ramhold explains. “Look at what the prices are now before Black Friday sales begin. That way you know if it's a good deal when you see it.
Adding the extra work now can pay off later when you start comparing standard trading prices to Black Friday deals. If you are worried about making an early purchase during the holiday shopping period, it may mean that you miss a better offer, Ramhold suggests that you look for retailers that offer price matching. For example, Target offers a price match guarantee that lasts up to 14 days after purchase.
Ramhold also suggests taking advantage of every opportunity to save some money, no matter how small these savings may seem. "If you have a reward credit card, use it – as long as you can pay it, because I do not want to advise anyone to go into credit card debt," she says. “Use the repayment apps like Rakuten. You still make the purchase, you can just as easily get something back for it. It may be like $ 1.20 with a $ 50 purchase, but if you use these things consistently, the rewards will increase. You end up spending less than you would if you did not use them.
Do not talk about larger purchases
Just because this year's Black Friday season can be a whole month does not mean that you delay in buying the gifts you really want to buy. This year, it is extra important to make your larger purchases as soon as they are sold – to hesitate about holiday shopping may prevent you from getting the items you hoped to be able to give.
"This may not be the year to risk waiting, due to shipments delays and supply chain disruptions," says Ramhold. "If you see a lot, get it."
Shipping delays and supply chain problems are not the only factors that can complicate your holiday shopping. If you tried to buy a pool this summer or a fireplace this fall, you already know that there is a real risk that you may not end up with what you want. All popular items, especially if offered at a significantly reduced price, are likely to be sold out – so if there is a special gift you really want to give someone, make sure you grab your gift early.
“This may not be the year to risk waiting due to delays in shipments and disruptions in the supply chain. If you see a lot, get it.
—Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst
Think of Local Businesses
Many of us will do our online shopping at major retailers like Amazon, Walmart or Target – but remember that many local businesses (including black-owned businesses) ) also offers online shopping and often sells craft or otherwise difficult to find gifts that your loved ones can appreciate. If you can do at least part of your shopping with small businesses, the gifts you buy will also return to your community.
"People are more aware that local businesses need their support," Ramhold explains. You may also want to consider putting some of your holiday dollars towards local restaurants that offer pick-up on the sidewalk. This year, some local restaurants may even offer to cook the whole holiday dinner for you – which can be an option for families who can not go home on holiday but still want to enjoy the traditional holiday.
Support organizations that reflect your values
Here's another shopping tip for the holiday season – in a year many of us ask ourselves serious questions about how we can advocate for social and environmental justice and how we can put our energy into that change. we want to see in the world it is worth asking yourself if you should put at least part of your holiday budget into organizations that reflect your values.
"Do your research and find something you want to support," Ramhold recommends. "Make a donation, or buy something from a reseller who offers the proceeds from an item to an organization you want to support."
Black Friday is traditionally followed by Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday – and although this year's Black Friday shopping season is likely to last a full month, it will not be Tuesday. Don't let this year's unparalleled array of holiday shopping distract you from taking the time – and money – to support your favorite charities and causes this holiday season. If you do not already have any good organizations on your list, consider a coronavirus help fund.
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