Black Friday: What You Need To Know Before You Buy

Woman shopping on Black FridayBlack Friday may be one of the busiest and most anticipated shopping days of the year, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few things you should keep in mind before you buy anything that day.

Coupon Craze CEO Christian Gordun recently told WalletPop in a phone interview that, when it comes to Black Friday 2010, shoppers need to be smarter because retailers are being smarter about discounts -- which means fewer insanely low priced Black Friday sales.

Gordun offered the following tips to make sure you don't waste money on a Black Friday deal.
  • Still Good Deals: It's still a good time to buy electronics's and toys -- but hold off on large, high-end HDTVs until January, when the prices are even lower
  • Not the right fit: Unless you're buying clothing as a gift on Black Friday, hold off until right after Christmas when the discounts will go even deeper.
  • Don't forget the milk: Just like retailers who place the milk at the back of the store to sell you extra items on normal shopping trips, retailers will be placing the Black Friday doorbusters in strategic locations to get you to walk past and buy items with smaller discounts.
According to Gordun, the best way for shoppers to ensure a good deal on Black Friday is to, "be sure you're acting on what you want," and to know whether a Black Friday deal is really a deal.

Instead of picking up the ads on Thanksgiving morning or visiting one of your favorite Black Friday websites while waiting for the turkey to cook, you need to do a bit of online and offline legwork to ensure you're getting the best deal.

If you see a deal that you know you want and have been waiting for, then by all means snap it up as fast as you can, says Gordun. But if you aren't sure what the original price of the item really is, you should exercise patience and research it -- even if that means potentially missing out on a deal.

A prime example of the importance of knowing the original price and doing research is the Sylvania Netbook rumored to be on sale at CVS this Black Friday. The Black Friday netbook is listed front and center on the store's leaked ad with a discounted price of $94.88, down from an original $159.99; but savvy shoppers will know that the Black Friday price is only about $5 off the everyday selling price. Additionally, a few minutes of research will show you that this Sylvania Netbook is a bad buy.

If you plan to do your Black Friday shopping online, and want fast access to pricing information, you can install the Camelizer or Invisible Hand browser plug-ins, which make it easy to see the past prices for many items. The only trouble is that some stores offer a specific Black Friday Laptop model, which means there won't be any pricing to look at with these tools.

Bottom line for Black Friday 2010: Do your research on both price and quality, and proceed with caution.
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