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It’s Black Friday time again, and it seems to be even more prevalent in Canada this year.   Black Friday is the U.S. term which refers to the day after American Thanksgiving which traditionally kicks of the Christmas shopping season.  Others claim that it marks the period in the fiscal year when stores move from being “in the red” to turning annual profits and changing to being “in the black”.  Regardless of the origins of the term, stores open early (sometimes even at midnight!), prices are slashed, and consumers can get a bit wrapped up in the hype, to say the least!

We’re seeing Black Friday sale ads everywhere north of the border this year and want to pass on some tips to help you keep your cool (and guard your budget) when you’re in the heat of the moment during the excitement this weekend.  We’ll look at some of the common “sale” promos to help you decide if the savings are enough to woo you into a purchase!

B1G1 FREE or BOGO FREE  – Buy one item, get the second for free.  This makes each item 50% OFF.  

B1G1 50% OFF or BOGO 50% OFF – Buy one item, get the second for half price.  This makes each item 25% OFF.

B2G1 FREE – Buy 2 items and get the third for free.  This makes each item 33.3% OFF. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Do I need more than 1 of this item?  If not, can I mix and match the sale with other items?
  • Can I get these products for a higher % off other times of the year?   

Buy More, Save More – this type of sale takes a cool head to decide when it’s worth it to add another item or 2 to your cart to bump yourself up into the next savings bracket.  Here is an example of a savings scheme that we’ve seen in several different stores already this year – the thresholds will change depending on the promo so be sure to crunch your numbers ahead of time if you know there’s a sale/store that you’re going to hit!

  • SAVE 40% when you spend $100 or more
  • SAVE 30% when you spend $75 or more
  • SAVE 20% when you spend $50 or more

This is what the promo looks like in terms of how much merchandise you choose vs. what it will actually cost you out of pocket.  Carry a calculator!

  • Spend $50 and get 20% OFF = $40 oop (out of pocket) plus taxes
  • Spend $60 and get 20% OFF = $48 oop
  • Spend $65 and get 20% OFF = $52 oop
  • Spend $70 and get 20% OFF = $56 oop – DON’T do this!
  • Spend $75 and get 30% OFF = $52.50 oop
  • Spend $85 and get 30% OFF = $59.50 oop
  • Spend $90 and get 30% OFF = $63 oop DON’T do this!
  • Spend $95 and get 30% OFF = $66.50 oop or this!
  • Spend $100 and get 40% OFF = $60 oop

So if you’re going to spend at least $65, you really should choose something for $10 to add to your order and you’ll pay just $.50 more. The same applies to baskets with $85 worth of product; you’d be missing out on a lot of savings if you don’t take the time to choose something worth $15.50 to bump you up to the 40% threshold and pay just $.50 more.  The decision is a bit less black & white when you’re nearing the $60 mark in this scenario:  if you’ve chosen $60 in merchandise and have the budget to keep going, you’ll only spend an extra $4.50 out of pocket to get an extra $15 in merchandise.   

This type of sale can result in some SERIOUS savings if they’re items that you need to buy anyway.  Take some time to write out your gift list for the whole year (birthdays, anniversaries, housewarmings, weddings, etc.) and consider stocking up.

On the other hand, this type of sale can result in some SERIOUS over-spending if you get caught up in the savings and buy items that you don’t really need.  CanadianCoupons.net is sending each of you savvy shopping vibes to help you keep your cool and spend within your limits!

The Gift Card Promo – many stores will offer you a gift card to use towards your next purchase if you spend a minimum amount.  Be sure to take the time to confirm the details of the promotion before getting caught up in spending more to bump yourself up to the minimum.

  • Are sale and clearance priced items included in the minimum total required to earn the perk?  If not, do you really want to be buying full priced merchandise?
  • Are there limited dates for when you can redeem the gift card? 
  • Is there a minimum purchase amount for when you redeem the gift card?
  • Are there exclusions on what you can spend the gift card on? Certain brands, sale & clearance items, during store-wide sale events, etc.?

If you have to spend another $50 to redeem the gift card next month, will you really have another purchase of that amount to make within such a little time?  And will you actually be back at that store during the specified time?  These two questions are often deal breakers for me, personally.  The more exclusions there are on the card, the harder it will be to redeem it for actual savings and you might end up being tempted into buying something you don’t need, or at a higher price than usual just to redeem the gift card.

There will no doubt be many variations on all of these types of sales and offers to lure you into stores during both the Black Friday and Christmas Holiday shopping seasons.  If this were the Amazing Race and I were the host (I can almost do the one eyebrow thingy, btw!) I’d say The mall is waiting for you.  Shop safe … go!

Christa Clips ~ November 21, 2012

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