Viewpoint: Be prepared before shopping this Thanksgiving weekend
Thanksgiving around my house is pretty traditional. I enjoy a big meal, surrounded by loved ones. I always take a moment to count my blessings.
That relaxing state is unfortunately interrupted as I am summoned to prepare for a Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping spree. Usually it starts with assessing all the bargains and making a game plan to hit the stores.
To me, the thought of standing in line in frigid temperatures during the early morning hours of Black Friday is not too appealing but millions of shoppers will join the frenzy this year.
Thanksgiving is considered one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Last year, 44.8 million people shopped on Thanksgiving, up 27 percent from 2012, according to the National Retail Federation, while 92.1 million made Black Friday their main shopping event.
If you’re planning to get out and save some money with Thanksgiving bargains, Better Business Bureau offers this advice:
- Shop with Trust. BBB recommends doing your research on a business before you shop, especially with online stores. You can view BBB Business Reviews which display how long a company has been in business, how they handle complaints, customer reviews, and their rating by visiting bbb.org/central-texas.
- Plan ahead. Take time to print out or clip ads for items you are interested in buying to help outline your shopping day in advance.
- Create a budget. Know whom you are buying gifts for and how much you are willing to spend. As you buy gifts, keep track of the cost and avoid impulse purchases to prevent over-spending.
- Don’t be misled by tricky advertisements. Read the fine print on all advertised sales to make sure you are truly saving money, and bring the ad with you. Watch for discrepancies in advertised prices and the prices on the shelf. Verify the real price before checking out.
- Ask about return policies. Many stores have a 30-day return policy, but it is important to read the terms and conditions associated with each purchase. And remember that the refund policy usually applies to the day you purchase the item not when you give the item as a gift.
- Think twice about store credit cards.Some retailers will offer additional savings to entice consumers to sign up for their credit card. However, these cards often times carry high interest rates or annual fees. If you do not plan on shopping at a particular retailer very often, the credit card might not be financially beneficial for you.