It’s beginning to look a lot like the shopping season! Before you start scanning the flyers and planning where you want to camp out for the best deals, take a look at MapleMoney’s guide to get the best bang for your buck on Black Friday.
The first ‘Black Friday’
It’s a term we use each year and yet most of us have no idea of its origins. The first ‘Black Friday’ was not a shopping free for all, but another great loss of money.
The term actually came from the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24th, 1869. The crash was the result of the greed of two ruthless Wall Street financiers who thought they could buy as much of the nation’s gold as they could in an attempt to then sell it for an inflated price. Instead, they ended up bankrupting everyone from their colleagues to simple farmers.
The retail world took hold of the term ‘Black Friday’ in the 1980’s. While it is falsely believed that the term is meant to symbolize how the sale event takes retail stores from ‘the red’ into ‘the black’, it actually started as a day when Philadelphia police required additional manpower due to an annual Army vs Navy football game.
Black Friday in Canada
Anxious to save money many Canadians would cross the border to save big on Black Friday deals and retailers started to take notice. In 2001, Canadian retailers started hosting ‘Black Friday’ deals and have since expanded to host week-long sales ending with ‘Cyber Monday’ which hosts the best online deals.
Find the best deals
Save more than you spend
Black Friday is a great way to do your holiday shopping for less if done right. Buying unnecessary items you don’t need or overpaying on a product can happen if you don’t do your due diligence.
- Make a list of items you need to purchase and stick to it
- Preview the Black Friday flyers and compare prices
- Prioritize your shopping. Is there an item that is worth lining up for? What store is offering the best deals?
- Compare in store and online prices. You can save yourself a trip to the store by setting an alarm to hit the midnight sales.
Do you need it?
Just because an item is discounted does not mean that you need to buy it. Don’t mistake a good price for a good buy. Make a list of what you need to get to finish your holiday shopping and stick to it. Your bank account will thank you for your reserve.
Is it too good to be true?
Ask yourself if the deal is too good to be true. Sometimes an electronic is being offered at a rock bottom price because it is not good quality. Buying a quality product over one with a tempting price tag will actually save you money in the long run.
Will it be cheaper later?
Is it actually the lowest price? If you don’t actually need the item to finish your holiday shopping you can save money by waiting for a lower price. For example, seasonal items often go on clearance. Some items will be a better price on boxing day. Practicing a little patience could pay off big time.
Is it worth a trip?
The main reason Black Friday sales began in Canada was to discourage sale-seeking Canadians from crossing the border, but is it still worth a trip? Many Canadians will travel to the border areas of Buffalo, Detroit and Seattle to take advantage of big sales, but there are some things to consider before you run for the border this year.
Do you want to deal with the crowds?
Shopping on Black Friday can mean big crowds. Are you planning to camp out for one big ticket item? Each year the news is flooded with images showing crowds of shoppers (sometimes turning violent) trying to snag the best deals. Is this situation worth the savings?
What is the cost of travel?
In order to make the trip worth the cost, you may need to do all your holiday shopping over the border. In order to qualify for $800 in duty free merchandise, you need to stay in the US for 48 hours. Consider the cost of gas, hotels, and food for 48 hours to decide whether it is worth the trip.
Can you order it online?
While not every retailer in the US will ship to Canada, many will. While this can be a tedious and often disappointing step, it could save you a trip (and some cash!). Target is a great retailer that will ship to Canada. Many merchants at Amazon.com will also ship north.
In the end, Black Friday sales can be a great way to save some money on your holiday shopping. Be sure to follow our tips to avoid overspending and bookmark our site for more money-saving tips!