Black Friday shopping may be the one bit of normalcy you have this holiday season. ABC Action News talked with shopping expert Sara Skirboll of RetailMeNot.com for some advice before you fill up your cart, online or in store.
Skirboll says you'll find the hottest deals this year are electronics, apparel, smart home devices, gaming consoles, and small appliances. Apparel may be especially good to stock up on.
"You’re going to find sales and deals because these big retailers need to push through inventory. So you’re going to see a lot of items between 50 and 75% off," she said. "So it’s a great time to buy clothing for you or even for your kids who grow out of clothes or even shoes so quickly. Consider even buying into next year because the deals are so good."
You might be able to find the item that you probably would have had no chance of finding this time last year.
"With [Amazon] Prime Day moving to the middle of October, that’s when most of us started our shopping if not before," Skirboll said.
She says you'll see significant savings this year, but it's best to move fast if you see your must-have item for 25 or 30% off.
"The reason being is that number 1, that deal might not exist. Number 2, if you’re shopping online you might not be able to get those items in time. And number 3, your item might not exist anymore," she said. "We are going to experience shipping delays and inventory issues the later into the holiday season that we go."
There's no need to wake up extra early this year. A Retail Me Not survey found 88% of people don't plan on catching those crazy, early doorbuster deals. But, Skirboll did say the earlier you hop to it, the more likely you have to snag what you really want.
Since many people plan to do their Black Friday shopping online, Skirboll says it's imperative you read the fine print.
- Try and find out what the processing time is, not just the shipping.
- Check to see if the retailer offers free returns.
- Make sure you know what the return window is in case you're buying the item as a Christmas gift.
And before you check out, try and find a coupon to get the price even lower.
"Do not check out unless you’re using a coupon, a cashback offer, or you’re getting a sale. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a retailer online or in store not offering significant savings," Skirboll said.
She recommends using Retail Me Not's Deal Finder extension you can download to your browser. It automatically applies coupons at check out. You can also find coupons here. In Greg Dee's Geek Fix, he also recommended Rakuten and Wikibuy.
Unfortunately, the holiday season is ripe for fraud. Skirboll says to be on the lookout for coupons that are too good to be true. Check for spelling errors and be wary of any emails addressed "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madame."
"Just make sure you’re reading your bank statements, check your credit card statements especially if you’re doing a lot of online shopping daily or weekly. Check out those statements once a week, every day, once a month for sure," she said.