Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner. Here’s how to be a smart consumer during the holidays.

Inflated reference prices

Be cautious of inflated list prices. This article explains how list prices can be manipulated to make sale prices more appealing. Be careful – some retailers overstate list prices so that their “sale” price looks like a great deal.

Suspicious emails

You may start to notice your inbox fill up with promotions. It is best not to click on the links in the message. Hackers are able to make fraudulent emails look legitimate. Links that look harmless may actually bring you to an unsecure website. Instead, go directly to the retailer’s website through a web search to view any promotions they may have. This website provides more information on how to stay safe online.

Now you know what you may be up against. Below are some tips to help you navigate the retail landscape as the holiday season approaches.

Make a shopping list (and stick to it)

Before you go out, create a shopping list. It will keep you focused on what you actually need to buy. And no list is complete without a budget! It’s easy to get caught up in the cheery music and beautiful displays or feel pressured by the hordes of shoppers and blinding lights and overspend. Either way, a list you can refer to will keep you on track.

Research prices beforehand

In addition to making a list you can check out different retailers online and compare their offers. It is your responsibility as a consumer to make informed decisions because, unfortunately, some retailers take advantage of those who don’t. You have the power to decide who gets your business. Make sure you get the most for your hard-earned money.

Price versus value

Before you even look at a price tag, ask yourself, “how much is this worth to me?”. Follow up with the question, “Does the price tag match my appraisal?”. If more expensive, don’t buy it. Yes, even if it’s on sale. And if the price is lower than your value judgement? Save the difference rather than allocating the savings to something else.

  • This information is of a general nature and should not be considered professional advice. Its accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and Queensbury Strategies Inc. assumes no responsibility or liability.