TIPS TO MAKE SURE YOU NEVER OVERPAY:
1. SPOT THE REAL DEAL
What’s actually good deal this time of year versus a bunch of hype? Small appliances — like instant pots — and smart home gadgets. Also, good deals: some HDTVs, video games, and game consoles also see aggressive pricing during Black Friday, or the days before and after it.
2. BROWSING BASICS
Add a browser extension to your internet search engine — Safari, Firefox, Chrome — and let them scour the web faster than any human ever could for discounts, coupons, and deals to make sure you get the best prices — for real.
Browser extensions: InvisibleHand, PriceBlink, The Camelizer, Honey
3. PRICE ALERTS
Some sellers raise the price of their products just before big sales, then “discount” them so that it looks like it’s a better deal than it really is. CamelCamelCamel is a super useful website that lets you track the price history of products. Other helpful tech tools include Price Tracker, Shop It To Me, and Slickdeals. All of them let you set a “price alert,” so you get a notification when prices drop to what you’re willing to pay.
Price Alerts: CamelCamelCamel, Price Tracker, Shop It To Me, Slickdeals
4. ASK FOR IT
In the case of Amazon’s own devices, Alexa voice shoppers can score savings early, starting on Nov. 18. Just say, “Alexa, what are my deals?” to hear your options, or see more info on Amazon’s site here.
5. DON’T LEAVE MONEY BEHIND
Price adjustment apps like Paribus link to your email and scan your inbox in search of shopping receipts and order confirmations. If the price drops, then they automatically contact the store to get you a refund.
Price Adjustment Apps: Earny, Moolah, Paribus, Slice
6. DON’T CLIP COUPONS
Well, at least not out of the newspaper as our parents did. There are now dozens of Black Friday websites where you’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ads. We regularly check bfads.net, bestblackfriday.com, dealnews.com, theblackfriday.com, and blackfriday.gottadeal.com. Sign up and these sites will send you deal alerts, which you can typically filter by product category. Or you can use a coupon-clipper app like CouponSherpa, or SnipSnap.
7. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
Does a TV, laptop, or gaming system deal look too good to be true? Then it probably us. It may be a version of a more popular model made especially for Black Friday—functional, yet with some aspect that makes it cheaper for the retailer to stock. To avoid getting scammed by clones and cheap lookalikes, check the model numbers and review the model’s history online. Also, beware of fake apps and websites. Check the URL and make sure the web address is a familiar name, that there’s an actual Customer Service phone number, and that the web address starts with https. The “s” is a clue that it’s more secure. And remember, never, ever, ever click on an unsolicited email or text link!!!
***Updated: FTC WARNINGS***
- Be aware that shopping apps can collect a lot of personal information. Look for apps that tell you what they do with your data, and how they keep it secure.
- Check the terms of the deal when buying online — including delivery dates and refund policies. Will it arrive in time? And, if it’s not what you thought, can you send it back?
- Save receipts. When you’re shopping online, keep copies of your order number, the refund and return policies, shipping costs, and warranties.
- Shipping to loved ones overseas? Check the US Postal Service’s calendar for holiday shipping deadlines.
- Have packages delivered to a secure location. If you won’t be home, have them delivered to work, or see if a neighbor can be on the look-out for deliveries. Consider requiring a signature for delivery — or look for options to pick up your shipment at a local store or mailing center.
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