Archive for November, 2011

November 25, 2011

Black Friday 2011 Recap

As predicted, Black Friday was largely a bust for us. We did snag a couple of good deals – new sheets, that dust buster (although not as cool as the Dyson Hand Vac), a Christmas present or two. According to the receipts it’s an average savings of 56% (of course that’s an over estimate.)

No TV. I just wasn’t blown away by any of the deals, and the lack luster deals just didn’t motivate me to spend any money. There will be more sales in anticipation of the Super bowl, so maybe then we’ll take the plunge. I had very low energy today (I’ve been a little under the weather) which prevented us from going out most of the day, which lead us to an interesting discovery.

One of the things I was interested in was a camcorder. I love my camera, but wanted to also be able to take video. Both Amazon and BestBuy had the Sony HD Camcorder for the same sale online. While Amazon’s had free shipping, BestBuy had in store pickup. The only other difference between the two is the color, BestBuy’s version is dark blue were Amazon’s camcorder is black. Amazon’s deal was available as a lightening deal this evening, and sold out immediately. In fact, it looked like it was gone as soon as it became available!) BestBuy’s deal was available all day and still is according to their website.

While I can believe color would matter (I prefer black to dark blue myself) and shipping is more convenient than in store pick up, it’s hard for me to imagine the Amazon deal being that much more preferred than the BestBuy one! Or that someone who missed out on the Amazon deal wouldn’t settle for the BestBuy one. The only two explanations I can think of is that maybe it’s a matter of inventory or consumer reach. If Amazon’s stock was dwarfed by BestBuy’s, maybe everyone who wanted a camcorder got one, and BestBuy still has some extras. On the other hand, maybe some consumers don’t know about the BestBuy deal, or live too far away from a BestBuy to pick one up. Still, it seems odd to me that Amazon’s deal would be gone in seconds, when BestBuy’s deal has been available all day.

Regardless, shopping at home was easy and convenient. It was also fun with the dual laptop’s going (me on mine, D on his) trying to score those lightening deals. I am sure we will continue to do more black Friday shopping from the comfort of our couch in the years to come.

I will be interested when the final Black Friday are published, that’s for sure!

November 20, 2011

Disappointing Season

This year’s lead up to black Friday has been a little disappointing.

We’ve been debating about a 3D TV. I’ve been hoping for a good deal to help us make up our minds. I’ve seen a couple fliers for black Friday deals and wanted to see the TV in person, to see the TV quality. We went to Best Buy first. They had five 3D TVs on display. Two of which were not receiving any signal. One was displaying a movie in 3D, but the active glasses weren’t powered, so you couldn’t view the 3D! The final two were receiving a signal, but not responding to commands, so you couldn’t compare them using the same video. One was showing ESPN in 3D and was so horribly pixilated you wouldn’t believe it was HDTV. We couldn’t tell if the problem was the TV, or the ESPN feed. What gives Best Buy?! I think this may have been the push I needed to settle on a 2D TV.

Another thing we’re considering is a Dyson Hand Vac. I previously mentioned we needed a new dust buster. We love our Dyson Animal. It’s the only vacuum that’s held up over time. Since our hand vacs keep losing suction, we decided it’s time to consider the next level in hand vacs. I found a few black Friday deals, but the original price was marked higher so the black Friday deal doesn’t beat Bed Bath and Beyond with their 20% off coupon! Lame.

We have a couple little things on our list, but so far, this year is looking like a bust for the big ticket items.

November 6, 2011

Our Black Friday Strategy

We have a strategy we employee every black Friday for the past few years, and no it does not involve waiting in line all night or getting up pre dawn, or even fighting massive crowds. I hate crowds, cold, and lack of sleep. Instead our strategy starts super early and involves a lot of advance planning, with very little lifting on the actual day.

Know the Season. It starts earlier and earlier. There are targeted “Black Friday” like sales throughout the months of October and November. I tend to wait for sales for most purchases, but starting in September I hold off on most major purchases. Anything that we don’t need right away and a possible candidate for a Black Friday goes on a Black Friday wish list. Best candidates for black Friday sales: electronics – especially video game related, or digital picture frames, TVs, VCRs, personal laptops, cameras, both point and shoot and DSLR camera bodies and kits, etc – winter clothing, household items, kitchen appliances.

This year I’ve been holding off on a new dust buster. Ours is functional, but we generally need to do a couple passes to pick up all the dirt. As long as it doesn’t die, I refuse to replace it until the sale is right.

Plan in Advance. The list helps me stick to a plan, and keeps me from being overwhelemed. The items on the list are the things we need, so these are the things I will search for. I use pre-Black Friday announcements to find stores offering discounts on the things I want. I keep track of multiple stores per item, since I adamantly refuse to wait in line in the cold over night, sometimes the door busters are gone by the time I am ready to shop. Our goal is to find great deals – not necessarily the best possible.

The Day Of. After waking up from our tryptophan induced sleep we start with a hardy brunch. Most of the diehard black Friday enthusiasts are winding down, and heading home to nap. At this point, anything deal that hasn’t already sold out, is not likely to in the next couple of hours, so we don’t feel particularly rushed. Shopping on a full stomach after a full night of sleep is so much more pleasant.

Be Persistent. Just because the door busters are gone at one target, doesn’t mean they’re gone at another. We’ve been surprised at how one store will be completely out of an item, and another store not five miles away still has all their’s stock. If there’s something you really want, don’t give up. Try multiple places. Remember some stores will price match. So if Target is out of dyson vaccum cleaners, you may still get your deal by taking the sales flyer to Best Buy.

Evening/Two Day Deals Both Target and Walmart do a “two-day” black Friday. This means they hold off on some merchandise to put out for Saturday. Last year we were in Target around midnight Friday, when they were bringing out pallets for the next day. We scored both a crockpot and a toaster from Target, simply by being in the right place at the right time.

I dislike clutter. I get stressed out if my workspace, or home is cluttered. I have this theory that clutter leads over spending. At least in my case it does. If I can’t see the back of the pantry, I don’t know what I have. I’m equally as likely to forget about the soup until it expires, or buy more of the salsa for which I already have three jars. (Like last week, sheesh Sarah, you know better!) Yet, no matter how much I hate it, I have a hard time getting rid of it. It’s still good, I might want it again.

The problem is I’m also extremely sentimental. I still have the Disney Music Days t-shirt from my high school senior band trip, the middle school musical t-shirt (which I still wear, by the way!). My sentimental nature doesn’t just extend to plausibly useful stuff. I have the Ticketmaster confirmation (not just the tickets, the confirmation) of the hockey game which was my first date with my husband. I just can’t stand to throw it out, it’s my memories! I’m also extremely frugal – those chips are only slightly expired, they may not be as crunchy but they are still editable! I also hate throwing out anything that could be useful one day, regardless of whether it is useful now, like the shower curtain from my first apartment when the last two homes I’ve lived in have had shower doors.

A while ago I came across this advice: take a picture. You can always look back at the picture and remember, and a picture doesn’t take up space. Shirts I never wear can be donated, Ticketmaster confirmations can be recycled, and we can better organize what we have left.

Every time I move something to the trash pile or the good will pile, I feel a twinge of sadness that it’s leaving my life. I will never hold it again. But the sadness doesn’t last. Still, I can’t completely change overnight. That shower curtain I mentioned? Okay, so that’s still in a box in the garage. Hey, no one is perfect! Each pass through the house, I’ll get a little better.

Good bye, stuff, and thanks for the memories! Although, it might be time to purchase a bigger hard drive. Good thing Black Friday is coming up!