Thanksgiving is the best time to find sales before the holiday season hits in December. It started with Black Friday, a huge sale day on the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, in response to the big Black Friday sales events, online retailers have retaliated with aggressive discounts on “Cyber Monday,” which has offers bargain-bin discounts on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
The hardest part is deciding whether you want to try to get a deal on Black Friday or on Cyber Monday. Some think it's more fun and economical to line up at the mall in the early morning of Black Friday while others may want to shop from the comfort of their own homes on Cyber Monday. No matter which you choose, you're guaranteed to get some money off the original price of whatever items you're buying.
Note: Because of how popular these shopping days are, both Cyber Monday and Black Friday tend to overlap and some sales begin even before Thanksgiving.
When and Where to Look for Deals
As the two streams of commerce—retail stores and online stores—converge, it's hard to say where the best deals will be. And, of course, many of the stores that consumers might visit in person are the same brand names that one might go to online.
The best way to make the most of your shopping is to do some homework and know when to hunt for the best bargains. To scope out Cyber Monday, definitely check the CyberMonday website, and also the sites of any of your favorite stores or brands. For Black Friday, browse the local newspapers, TV and radio ads, as well as looking online on Thanksgiving Day.
5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Cyber Monday Rather Than Black Friday Sales
- Because Cyber Monday is 100% online, it's both easier and faster to search and buy.
- If you were busy with family or travel on Thanksgiving Friday and missed the in-store sales, Cyber Monday gives you another opportunity to take advantage of reductions.
- You can easily compare prices online.
- You can shop in your pj's or from work, on either your laptop or computer.
- You don’t need a babysitter if you have a family, and you don't need to wait in line or battle the crowds in the stores.
5 Cons of Cyber Monday
- You can't see the merchandise in-person, so it may not be exactly what you ordered.
- It might be hard to access a computer for shopping purposes.
- You'll have to wait for shipping.
- Some people hate returning purchases by mail.
- Websites could crash from the online traffic or immediately sell out of a product. Tip: Make sure to bookmark the items you want or add them to your cart in advance.
5 Pros: Reasons to Shop Black Friday Rather than Cyber Monday
- You can actually see what you are buying and measure it or try it on beforehand.
- The prices might be better.
- Not everything that’s on sale on Black Friday will be available on Cyber Monday.
- It's an outing. You can bring a friend or spouse for fun and advice.
- You can browse the aisles and find sales for things you may have forgotten you wanted. Also, some stores offer bulk discounts (if you buy a certain amount of items).
5 Cons of Black Friday
- Some of the merchandise is lower-end.
- Prices may continue to drop as the holiday season approaches.
- It's too easy to overspend in the midst of a buying frenzy.
- It's crowded, and you'll likely be battling other people to get the item you want. You'll also have to wait in lines early in the morning for the stores to open. If you show up later, there's a good chance the best items will be sold out already.
- The real bargains may be limited in quantity and sold to early bird shoppers.
Whatever your personal answer is, the smart thing to do is decide beforehand not just what you want to purchase, but also your budget parameters. That way, come post-Thanksgiving Tuesday (a day for which, gratefully, there's no retailing name yet), you won't feel like a turkey with a hangover of buyer's remorse.