Black Friday has come and gone, but it's not over...just...yet. Still to come is the fairly new Cyber Monday tomorrow, and online retailers are gearing up to put more space between you and your money (what's left of it) starting around 6am or so eastern. Unlike when Cyber Monday first became a "thing", almost every retailer that you could have visited physically on Friday also has an online presence where you can visit via your browser, Amazon, eBay, and a few others being the lone holdouts on having any physical presence.
This year, there has been an absolute uproar about companies encroaching on the Thanksgiving holiday by opening shop at 8pm on Thursday. Whether that uproar be due to worker's rights, the ruining of a holiday, or the greediness of each company trying to get more of our dollars sooner, it seems as though you could find any number of reasons to complain.
But I've heard no such complaints about the encroachment of online companies vying for attention on Black Friday. most of these online-only companies began their sales the Monday before Thanksgiving, leading up to the best deals so far on Black Friday. One didn't have to wait until 8pm on Thursday to buy a bargain. Just turn on your computer, tablet, or smartphone on Thursday while watching the parade and there were the bargains!
This isn't a post that is for or against shopping, whether online or offline. That would be a little bit dumb to actually be a vote against seeing as how my income does boost a bit around this time period. But I would suggest that you stay vigilent and not make purchases that look like bargains or too good to be true sales. Sometimes these sales are masked by the overall atmosphere of the rush to purchase for Christmas. What looks like a bargain might not in fact be a bargain.
It might be too late now, but a good solution is to make a list of the items you plan on purchasing in October, with links to the products and the price at that time of the product or service. As days drop off heading into Black Friday and Cyber Monday, watch the prices for movement up and down. You would be surprised at price movement of the items we buy, especially electronics, as we head into holiday time periods.
A site I like to use for this site in checking prices is CamelCamelCamel.com. Don't discount it due to the name because behind the scenes lurks a price history checker that can help you determine if the prices at Amazon, Best Buy, and New Egg are the best price you can get.
Take for instance this page for the Nikon D3100 kit. Starting with a high price of $700 on August 19th of last year, the kit has been in a downward trend. But there are spikes up several times along the way. These spikes are typically just one day spikes upward and then back down. Sometimes the next day price is lower than the day preceding the spike, but sometimes higher. By using this chart, you can check to see if the price you are getting is as good as what you really could have seen. Some days along the way, the deal isn't as good. For the record, today is as good as it's ever gotten :).
You can use this site for practically any product that is being sold on these three sites. Of course some products are not as strictly followed as others, so the price history is lacking in those instances. Less popular products that just never take off with customers or products that aren't in high demand (washing machines, sewing machines, etc.). But for the most part, the products we would typically buy during a holiday season will have a great price history listings.
So, take care on Cyber Monday to make sure that deal you are getting is actually a great deal, and not just a sale that happens to be highlighted on a popular purchasing day.