Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Are the Deals that Great?

Before you spend money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, stop and ask yourself: Are the deals really the great?

Because I'm a personal finance blogger, I'm sort of obligated to write about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (If you want to see a cool post about Black Friday, check out J. Money's Black Friday in GIFs at Budgets Are Sexy.)

Before you rush out there (or stay at home) and spend money, stop and think about the reality of your situation.

Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals worth it? Or is it just a lot of hype?

Black Friday

Black Friday: A Lot of Hype

Since Cyber Monday is a relatively new phenomenon, I guess there aren't a lot of numbers surrounding the viability of the deals. However, last year The Wall Street Journal did a price analysis and found that many of the so-called “deals” on Black Friday really weren't the best prices. In fact, you might have been better off if you had paid attention earlier in the year, and bought then.

I've never been a fan of Black Friday, and I'm even less of a fan of actually leaving the house. If we do buy something on Black Friday, chances are that it was done from a computer. And, really, there was no “we” involved — my husband does all the Black Friday shopping because he likes finding deals.

After I told him about the WSJ article on Black Friday prices, he offered his own anecdotal evidence. “Unless it's movies on Amazon, most of the time I find cheaper deals other times of the year,” he said.

He also likes to check the Lightning Deals. But, usually, he only ends up buying video games and movies. Most of the time, even the online Black Friday deals around the Internet aren't as good as what he gets the rest of the year, just by paying attention.

Tracking Prices

If you want to make sure you are really getting the best deals, consider using resources that help you track prices and sales cycles. My husband uses Blu-ray.com to track movie prices. Nifti allows you to watch prices rise and fall on a daily basis so you can get an idea of historical price trends for various items. PricePinx will send you price drop alerts, and it works with major retailers online. Avoid paying more than you want to for certain items. ShopAdvisor is another app that can help you keep track of when the price is right for your purchase

All of these price matching tools allow you to set alerts on specific items, so you can see when the cost truly hits a low. It's a good way to make sure that you are really getting the best deals, and not just wasting your time.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday

Don't forget about Cyber Monday, though. Even though the whole block of time from about two weeks before Thanksgiving until Christmas has turned into a blur of sales and shopping, there are still some targeted days for hype. Cyber Monday is one of those days. Just as it's possible to find a few good deals on Black Friday, it's also possible to go online for some great deals on Cyber Monday.

As always, though, it's important to step back and consider the hype. Are you really getting a good deal? Are you being blinded by the frenzy surrounding your shopping experience?

Think it through before you buy.

(Also, for fun, I'm getting into the Cyber Monday spirit. Confessions of a Professional Blogger: How I Make as an Online Writer will be on sale for Cyber Monday in paperback. The Kindle version will also be on sale — for $3.99. The PDF ebook is also available for $3.99. But I have to admit: That's not the best price. It was cheaper during a sale earlier in November.)

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