The hustle and bustle of the holidays are fast approaching. With it comes you guessed it, the shopping. Black Friday is something of a enigma here in the US. In 2016, something around 101 million people braved the crowds to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. $5.9 billion was spent last year just on Friday alone.
My first encounter with Black Friday shopping was at a Walmart on Thanksgiving night. I went out with some friends since that sounded more fun than staying at home. We all gathered into one car and head out. The first trial was the line…no, not to get into the store. To PARK! Traffic was so far backed up that it took us over an hour just to get a parking spot.
After an arduous wait we find our parking spot. Luckily this wasn’t a door buster event so we could walk into the store without a wait. We just had a lot of company as the mob of people all funneled into those little gaps we called doors.
My mission was simple, I wanted to pick up a video game that was half off. Seemed simple enough, just had to make it over to the electronics department. Think again, because after entering through those doors what I witnessed went past comprehension. The chaos that ensued was a re-enactment of every war movie I have ever seen.
People were RUNNING to every which aisle, globs of figures scouring through the boxes of merchandise once nicely laid out. Fearing for my own survival I slowly tip-toed through the maze, constantly aware of my surroundings. Weaving in and out of the Walking Shoppers, eyes lit up with a sense of disparity and fury.
On the way my friend was going to grab some bed sheets, but no, one of the walkers forcefully reached for it in his hand to try and take it away for herself. The item finally secure, we make it to the electronics department and I get my video game. Was this madness worth the $20 dollars I saved? Never again I said!
Skip the Lines
I did go again. It just wasn’t on Black Friday.
Meet our friend Price Protection. Many of us in the FI community are no stranger to credit cards. Travel hacking is a great use for them in fact. Some can even price match the Black Friday ads we all so desperately “need”.
Just to touch on this sarcastically included blip. If there have been items that you’ve wanted or could use for a long time and it is something you value. Then yes, Black Friday is a great time to try to snag a great deal and save some money. Just make sure you buy with a clear, conscious mind. Don’t get sucked into the hype and the billions in advertisement dollars to try to keep you there.
Price Protection is the tool we use to skip the lines.
The How: The weeks before Black Friday rolls around, you want to start looking at all the ads retailers start releasing of their deals. Once you find an item you want, save a picture of the ad so you have it for future use.
Next find that same item in any store of your choosing, make sure the model numbers match and the description is the same.
Then…go buy it. Yes, really. Weeks before the chaos, no waiting, happy bliss. You purchase it on a credit card that offers price protection at a higher price. Then you use the Black Friday Ad to trigger the price protection and the credit card company sends you a check for the difference in the mail. Easy.
The following three credit card companies offer this feature.
These just so happen to be ranked from best to worst for Black Friday shopping. Not all credit cards from these companies offer this, so double check for the specific card you own.
The best card for price matching. They match door buster deals and limited quantity items, up to a $500 difference up to $2500 per year.
Read more here.
Citi is another one that price matches door buster and limited quantity items. It has the same $500 difference up to $2500 a year. You need to sign up for their price rewind system to get the protection.
Read more here.
I have heard mixed things with Chase, if you call them they say they price match Black Friday deals but when you visit their price protection page it sounds like they don’t. So, use them at your own risk or do some of your own research before going with them. Read more on their price protection policy here.
Some of the cards exclude certain items. For example, the Discover card excludes computer components. Make sure you read the details of the price protection you plan on enacting before you pull the trigger.
When in doubt, give them a call with the exact item you want to buy and the ad you plan on price matching. The rep will usually tell you if it’ll work or not so you can rest assured.
Everything mentioned here works for Cyber Monday as well, so keep an eye out for that best deal.