“Get in, get out, and get on with your life” was Microsoft’s motto when they released the Windows Phone a few years back. The whole idea was to deliver useful information to the phone’s home screen via live tiles so you could quickly find out what was going on with your digital life, without staring at your phone for minutes on end — thus losing time that could be directed towards other things.
Every year shortly after Halloween, it seems that all of our attention is focused on creating a winning strategy in order to grab the best deals during those “prime” Black Friday and Cyber Monday time frames. As a result, there is a possibility that we delay some things that should be in the forefront of our minds during the holidays.
I’ll let you decide what those important things should be. What I can do is give your some very low-tech, but practical pointers on how to make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, so you too can “get in, get out, and get on with your life.”
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Do’s And Dont’s 1 of 8
A roundup of Black Friday and Cyber Monday do's and dont's to help you get the most out of your holiday shopping without losing your sanity.
DON’T expect 99.9% off 2 of 8
Retail and online stores know they are going to get a huge crowd of shoppers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so even if all the newspaper inserts, commercials, and email blasts promise a ridiculous amount discount or deal, be sure to read between the lines and find out the specifics. In most cases, those deals are for either a very limited supply or very specific item, an uber-cheap inexpensive item, or the deal is only good for a short period of time. In reality, the average deal is around 10 to 20% off. Honestly, you can get that any time of the year. No sense in wasting that time in line.
DO look for good secondary deals 3 of 8
I call them "secondary deals" because you may not get a good deal on the actual item you're looking to buy, but there will be deals like free shipping, a good rebate that you have to mail off for, or even an in-store gift card that you can use on something else. I would suggest making those kinds of deals your focus, versus hunting and hunting ... and hunting ... for a good deal on one specific item.
DON’T shop for the sake of shopping 4 of 8
Marketing agencies do an awesome job of getting consumers wrapped up in the hoopla of holiday shopping. So much so that people will go out in the cold, fight for a parking space, contend with rude shoppers, and argue with annoyed store employees just for the sake of the experience. I'm pretty sure you could've stayed at home, spent time with family, and tuned into the hoopla on your local news channel ... or your social media feed.
DO have a shopping list 5 of 8
If you feel you will miss out if you don't get your shopping done on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the only shopping you should be doing is for the best deal, and not looking for gift ideas. If you're putting in the effort of dealing with the Black Friday holiday shopping hoopla, crossing gift items off an an actual list will at least give you a sense of accomplishment afterwards — while your soak your tired feet.
DON’T feel rushed to buy 6 of 8
Speaking of marketing schemes and the "sense of urgency" you get when deciding whether or not to deal with Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, remember that these same stores (retail and online) will be promoting deals all season long ... and even after New Year's. (They want your tax return money too.) So relax, don't worry about "missing out" and take your time to make sure what you're shopping for will truly be appreciated by the recipient.
DO try to shop local 7 of 8
All the big-box brick and mortar stores, and ba-jillions of online stores, are fighting to get your money. Don't forget about the "Mom and Pop shop" on the corner in your neighborhood who is still open for business. They may not be able to offer the same deals as their humongous competitors, but they still need your business. To help out small biz, American Express is offering special deals for "shopping small" at approved businesses this Black Friday weekend that may prove to be just as attractive as going big this holiday shopping season ... And you won't have to fight for a parking space.
DON’T let hunting for deals mess with your holiday spirit 8 of 8
Truth be told, the U.S. economy is built on the backs of consumers. The more we spend, the better our economy LOOKS on paper. These stores make most of their yearly money in these last two months of the year. So holiday shopping isn't all bad. But in the end, your primary concern should be spending time with your family and not adding to the bottom line of a retail store. So just remember what's important this holiday season. I'm assuming spending time with family and enjoying all the other holiday intricacies — and NOT maxing out credit cards and clearing out bank accounts, just to "fit in" — is what's important to your and yours.