Black Friday has become a bit of a weird ritual: People get up in the middle of the night and stand in line in the cold to score deals on things that they might not even want if they weren't so cheap; between 30 percent and 74 percent of shoppers say they'll be out on Black Friday.
That said, there are some great deals to be had: $59 Blu-Ray players, $3 appliances, and so on. Most stores have leaked their Black Friday offerings all over the Internet weeks ahead of time.
You can save a lot of money on Black Friday; just be careful that your deals don't end up costing you more in the long run because you blow your budget in all the hoopla.
- Don't get caught up in the excitement and whip out your wallet. Spend some time before the big day researching what stores have good prices on items you want, and do your absolute best to purchase only those items and nothing more. Getting all fired up about how much money you're saving is how you end up with a singing Christmas wreath and a DVD of Borat. Resist
- Know the usual price of something before you spring for it. Some items are getting seriously discounted to lure people into the store; other times, retailers know quite well that sticking a sign that says "Sale" on an end cap and dropping the price of that $299 iPod to $295 will be enough to get you to bite.
- Don't get swayed by the rebate or gift card offered with an item. Retailers are banking on you never sending in the rebate form or forgetting to get your gift card at checkout. They got a full-price sale; you got screwed and it's your fault.
- Stay out of the seasonal aisles. If you really need Christmas lights or decorations, come back at a less-impulsive time, or better yet, score great deals much closer to Christmas. Many places have their Christmas decor on major discount by Christmas week and are practically begging you to take anything red and green by the day after.
Most importantly, keep in mind that stores are not offering discounts because they love you and want you to be happy; they are trying to get you in the store and make your money their money. If you keep your wits about you, you can brag about your Black Friday "scores" with the best of them.
Are you shopping on Black Friday this year?
Image via Rob Holland/Flickr