It’s that time of the year again. The internet is flooded with discounts, deals, and sales, to the point where it’s hard to make sense of things. Even the most seasoned shoppers these days are confused.
But while things might be a bit overwhelming—one cannot simply sit out the shopping season. There are extremely generous offers to be availed in the coming months. Miss out on them now and you will have to wait a whole nother year.
One way brands provide discounts in this season is by promoting both digital and traditional coupons. Those who find the best of these reap the most rewards.
It’s hard not to come across coupons even in the non-shopping months. Statistics show that 90 percent of consumers use coupons in one way or another, which means they are extremely popular.
As we head toward Black Friday, brands and retailers will advertise a great number of coupons to entice customers. Finding the right ones would mean getting the best price for consumers. Here’s how we can make this happen:
1. Know what you want.
It doesn’t matter if we’re getting 90 percent off, buying things we don’t need is bad for our financial health. This November, there will be deals on everything from cup holders to hairdryers.
But we should keep our focus on the stuff that’s needed in our house. Don’t buy things simply because they are available for a generous discount. Likewise, don’t buy low-quality items just because they come cheap. Ending up with a bad product means we made a bad deal even if we paid pennies.
Have a list of things we wish to purchase and then stick with it no matter how many stores entice us with their over-the-top marketing. Black Friday by nature is a bit chaotic, but those who strategize their purchases make the best of this event.
2. Make an elite list of stores.
In addition to knowing what we want—it’s important to know where we want it from. Now that we have a list of things, we need to look up which stores are having the biggest sales and then compare prices. This allows to single out a few select stores among thousands.
The result would be a list of online stores and/or retail outlets that we’ve prioritized. Shopping from physical stores would need some research as many brands are spreading out Black Friday sales through different days to keep their customers safe. Walmart for instance is planning to have sales on three different weekends.
So let’s check with our listed out stores to see when they will be opening doors for the big sale. Of course, don’t forget to wear a mask as most stores won’t allow us in otherwise.
3. Look online for promo codes and coupons.
There’s no shortage of digital coupons and promo codes on the internet. Some online coupons can be printed and taken to an outlet for redemption. Others only work while buying online. Meanwhile, promo codes are copied and pasted on the store’s checkout page.
The quickest way to get our hands on some latest coupons and promo codes is by following brands on popular social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Stores will be posting a number of them leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many coupons are also advertised through influencers on these platforms who have a large number of followers.
However, we can stay one step ahead by regularly visiting dedicated coupon websites; there are plenty of them online.
4. Checkout the newspaper, magazines, and product packaging.
The internet might be the first place to find coupons but it’s definitely not the last. Sometimes, it pays to take an old-school approach. So go through our local newspapers. Buy the latest magazines. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t done any of these things in ages. What matters is that we need to pull out all the stops in finding the best coupons.
While it’s true that searching promo codes on the internet are easier, digital promo codes usually have a short expiration date. This would be an issue if we’re someone who likes to take their time comparing prices.
Fortunately, it won’t be a problem with coupon clippings from magazines and newspapers as they are valid for a longer period. Thanksgiving newspapers, in particular, are filled with exceptional offers that go on for weeks.
Other than this, check out the packaging of products we buy ahead of Black Friday. These might have coupons and rebate forms either inside or on the packaging itself.
Interestingly, the expiration date on these is even longer than the coupons we would find in magazines. That is because the data here is based on the shelf life of the product.
5. Read return and coupon policies of stores.
With a select number of retailers finalized and their discount offers at our disposal, the next logical step is to read their store policies. Different stores charge a particular restocking fee for returns. Others have an extremely short window for exchange or refund.
Return policies have evolved by a great deal in the past few years. In response to some consumers abusing the return policies, retailers now have a database of people who exploit this service. Suffice to say, one doesn’t want to end up on this list.
On the surface, all stores have similar policies when it comes to coupons, but there are slight distinctions. The majority of retailers won’t give us cashback on coupons if the discount exceeds the item’s price. This means a $6 discount coupon on a $2 item won’t earn us an extra $3.
Some stores will outright reject such a coupon while others will hand over the goods for free. Most stores also don’t accept multiple coupons for a single product, meaning we can’t get $2 off an item with two $1 coupons. Almost no store these days except a return without a receipt.
6. Go on a strategic shopping spree.
After deciding the product, listing out stores, attaining the relevant coupons, and reading store policies, we’re all set to conquer Black Friday.
All we need to do now is to balance price, quality, and risk factor (whether the store will return the good if there’s an issue) to choose the best possible products and stores.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether to either compromise a bit of quality for price or pay extra for a better product. Once you make that decision, happy shopping.
We wait all year to shop our hearts out during these days. However, mindlessly attaining discounts don’t do any good other than giving a false sense of achievement.
It’s better to strategize holiday season shopping by making smart and informed purchasing decisions. Although doing research, making lists, and reading store policies don’t sound that exciting, they are necessary for acquiring the best products at minimal prices.
Couponing is a serious skill rather than a simple activity that saves us a few bucks. It demands time and energy to be perfected.
If we become a master at this art, we will never have trouble saving again.