“People who buy things are suckers.” – Ron Swanson
Just kidding. I’m way too impatient and/or lazy to get up early and deal with the huge crowds on Black Friday.
My Christmas shopping strategy is to do as much of it online as possible.
Amazon is my go-to first option. They have nearly everything on Amazon and I get free 2-day shipping (remember, I’m impatient) through an Amazon Prime membership.
The cost is $79 a year and in addition to the free 2-day shipping you get access to their streaming video service as well as the ability to borrow tons of older books on a Kindle device for free. Students get a free Prime membership for 6 months and a reduced rate once that runs out.
I do plenty of research on my larger purchases and by far the best aggregator of deals is Deal News. I have used this site in the past to track the best deals on laptops, cameras, blu-ray players and flat screen TVs, but they also cover clothing, trips, appliances, home goods, food and more.
If you are a Black Friday shopper, Deal News also keeps track of all of the ads that the big retailers put out so you can find the top Black Friday deals all in one place. That way you don’t have to search multiple websites or thumb through your newspaper’s ads.
The Deal News staff also does write ups on the latest trends in each category and lets you know the best time to buy certain items along with reviews on various products.
I’ve also used their smartphone app to price check certain items when I do venture out into the wilderness of an actual brick and mortar store.
Now for a few interesting reads on the holiday shopping season.
Barry Ritholtz took a look at an annual holiday shopping survey that is right just about as much as Wall Street analysts at offering predictions. Basically, people can’t remember what they spent in the past and are terrible at predicting what they will spend in the future.
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that most of the people that wait in lines for the best deals on Black Friday and answer these surveys don’t have a budget in place. Read more: Enjoy Black Friday but ignore NRF Surveys (Big Picture)
Your Wealth Effect looked at similar data to show how wrong these forecasts can be every single year. And they’re not even close. Yet that won’t stop the news outlets from bringing on the “experts” to discuss the implications for the economy. Continue reading here: Using holiday sales forecasts as an investment tool is pointless (Your Wealth Effect)
Deal News has some interesting facts and figures about Black Friday that you can use to impress your family at Thanksgiving dinner. I love the fact that only 57% of Black Friday shoppers find it fun. What do they expect? Learn more here: 2013 Thanksgiving & Black Friday by the numbers (Deal News)
It looks like Thanksgiving is not only about shopping, but also about TV watching. Most families pretty much watch 15 straight hours of TV on Thanksgiving. Read more from Quartz to see what keeps our attention so we don’t have to talk to our families all day long: Americans’ new Thanksgiving tradition: watching TV all day long (Quartz)
And in honor of the holiday, here’s one of my favorites, Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song:
Enjoy the long weekend. I look forward to suffering through yet another painful Lions loss.