Black Friday Tips

Black Friday_comingEvery year, Black Friday seems to come earlier.. Well this year is no exception. Yet to make things more interesting, here’s something that can be considered TIPS for shopping:

Full disclosure: I got most of these tips from reading The Simple Dollar, one of my most favorite blogs on the Web.

  • Black Friday deals are not really the best the day after Thanksgiving.. Best deals start on Thanksgiving day (The new norm for stores opening early on Turkey Day!), or weeks before Black Friday.. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Kohls is a key example of this
    • So when should you start shopping? USA Today says that Early November is when you should look for deals! So Black Friday now has so many pre-sales that, you don’t even have to wait till Black Friday to get the best deals!
    • Did you know Staples starts their Black Friday sales in Mid November (November 16th!)???

Did you know that for the past few days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, have pretty much melted together? Oh don’t get me wrong.. You can still get great deals on Cyber Monday, but.. buyer beware.. if you buy stuff on Cyber Monday, your delivery times WILL NOT be guaranteed!

Bottom line friends.. Deals can be had all year round. I’ve seen deals that will beat Black Friday deals starting in October.. That’s how fierce the competition is.

In my frugal mind, each month can be considered to be Black Friday.. as each month will find you the best deals as noted by Consumer Reports table that I excerpted below:

When to Buy
What to Buy
January Bedding/linens, Toys, Exercise equipment, TVs, Winter clothing
February Humidifiers, Indoor furniture, Exercise equipment
March Digital cameras, Humidifiers, Small consumer electronics,
TVs, Winter sports gear
April Computers, Digital cameras, Lawn mowers, Spring clothing
May Athletic apparel/shoes, Camping/outdoor gear, Carpeting, Cordless phones, Lawn mowers, Mattresses, Small consumer electronics
June Camcorders, Carpeting, Computers, Indoor furniture, Pots, pans, and dishware, Small consumer electronics, Summer sports gear, Swimwear
July Camcorders, Indoor furniture, Outdoor furniture, Swimwear
August Air conditioners, Backpacks, Dehumidifiers, Outdoor furniture, Snow blowers
September Bikes, Digital cameras, Gas grills, Lawn mowers, Shrubs, trees, and perennials, Small consumer electronics, Snow blowers
October Bikes, Computers, Digital cameras, Gas grills, Lawn mowers, Winter coats
November Baby products, Bikes
Camcorders, Gas grills, GPS navigators, Toys, TVs
December Bikes, Camcorders, Gas grills, GPS navigators, Home appliances (large and small), Small consumer electronics, Toys, TVs

Personally, Dad doesn’t even bother going out on Black Friday to get his deals.. I just watch my emails and use my iPhone with my Black Friday Apps to send me alerts on deals that allow me to beat the crowds!

How about using price trackers? Below are some that I checked out and found to be worth the click.

  • CamelCamelCamel – Amazon Exclusive
  • Slick Deals – My favorite as it gets me a deal across so many stores that offer in-store pickup and my favorite —> Free Shipping!
  • Price Zombie – This site put’s browser Add-on’s compatible with Safari, Chrome, and Firefox
  • BFAds – All major retailers as soon as they are leaked or published.

What I’ve learned over the past few years… It’s not when you buy, but how and the amount of effort it take to get the bargain. The last time I got up early in the morning as I painfully remember from my personal experience from a few years ago.. when my car’s battery died in the cold as I was amongst thousand’s of shoppers lined up at Best Buy waiting to get in at 5AM on Black Friday.. I said after that experience.. I’ve never stepped away from my keyboard to get the best deals!

If you have any Tips for shopping for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, I welcome your insights, after all, a good deal is what makes bargain hunting even more fun!



Clean crap from harddrive

I’m updating an old posting of mine to add some very useful software to clean up your harddrive.
The software below is all Freeware (free to use).
As we accumulate junk, we need to keep our hard drive clean. Additionally, you need to delete private data in this day of identity theft.. If you insist on spending for something you can get for free, you can always buy software do the jobs below (i.e. Norton, McAfee)
Below are some free utilities that can help with this:
  • File Shredder or Kill Disk – Permanently remove files from your PC. Very useful when you want to make sure nobody can recover files that you have deleted. Always remember that your PC will not re-use the same space until it re-writes over the deleted space (and you don’t control this.
    • For Mac’s: Put your file in Trash and select “Secure Empty Trash” from the folder menu.
    • On a PC if you hold the “Shift” key when you delete  file you will be prompted “if you want to delete a file permanently”.  Select Yes… I use this method all the time. Reduces the size of my Recycle Bin as well.
  • Ccleaner (crap cleaner). This freeware utility cleans the registry as well as all the temporary files on you machine. Has almost weekly updates. I use this on all my machines to clean up the garbage left behind from surfing.
  • An Absolute must have for cleaning up the garbage (cookies, temp files, etc) that accumulate on your PC. Best deal that is that its free!
I like the “Free” Price. You can find the software above  on Filehippo (which also gives you a listing of all the latest most popular freeware). As many people know: “if it’s free, it’s for me”.

iPhone – Applications

iPhoneYes G, I finally figured out how to insert pictures into my postings. 🙂

Every day there are new applications that are coming out for the iPhone, I found a few Mashable sites which summarize what’s available in both the free and paid category. I personally have not purchased any paid applications.

While you are at it,  take a look at the 10 free music based applications that are available.

Of course we are all interested in personal finances (or improving our financial bottom line), I found this weblog of 50+ free apps to make you richer. Worth a look.

Since most of us don’t have time to read the newspapers, here are some apps that enable you to read breaking news on your iPhone. I personally use the NY Times and USA Today application on a regular basis.

Hope you enjoy..

Delta Skymiles – Your Credit Report for Free

I was reading my latest copy of Bottom Line Secrets and came across this gem that wanted to share with the millions and millions of AmEx Delta Sky Miles Members:

  • Until April 30th 2009, you can get your current credit score for free by just asking for it.

Keep in mind this is for Delta Sky Miles Members.

I checked mine out and was pleasently surprised.  Remember in this tight credit market, in order to get any credit,  you should know your numerical Credit score (330 – 830) as well as your FICO score (a combined score from the 3 credit reporting companies.

Of course, as any company does, they try to sell you an ongoing “credit monitoring” service which you can purchase (approx $12/mo).  I of course declined at this time.

Of course if you don’t have the Delta Skymiles card you can get your free annual  credit report for free from each of the credit reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, Transunion):

If you don’t do anything in 2009, make sure you know what your credit score is. Good Luck!

AFTER you know what your credit score is, you have the advantage when you negotiate (yes you can, if you try), with your credit card company revised rates. Credit card companies “rank” you based on your credit score, so if you know your score, you can get the best rates.

I’ve mentioned Suze Orman in the past, but I recommend to everyone to look at her site on how you can take charge of your credit!

Jobs Search – Part 5 – Where the Jobs Are

Over the past few days, I didn’t post anything, as I was (again) in the writer’s block mode. I was having lunch with my little brother G at work and saw the new site created by CNN called: where the jobs are.  So I decided to write about this site as an addendum to my previous posts on job search method in these tough economic times.  As unemployment hits an all time high in the US,  I am continuing my efforts in Job search related posts.

So as many companies are curtailing annual raises (mine included), the economy continues to tank and more people are losing  jobs.  In my continued effort to provide support to the millions that have lost their jobs and continue lose their jobs,  I’ll continue to provide sites that can help..

Where are the jobs? CNN provided a good site yesterday to answer this question: Where the jobs are?

In the same mindset as this, here are my personal thoughts on where some jobs are if you need to get back into the work force.

Go to the Indeed site and key in your zip code and look for local jobs. Below are some tips for using the indeed site.

  • Don’t restrict yourself to your specialty.  Step outside your comfort zone and explore opportunities that you would not normally consider.
  • Create you specialized my.indeed portal. signup is free and this gives you the ability to specialize your search
  • Create an email alert as jobs become available with your specific search criteria. This alert should be the first thing you read in your job search email that you have created (use any free email services).
  • Look for temporary jobs or jobs that may interest you.  No part time job should be considered “beneath you”.
  • FYI: was flagged in the lastest issue of Bottom Line Personal as a useful site.

Do a blog search for jobs searching.

  • WordPress has excellent blogs on ideas for improving your chances of finding a new job, writing a resume, social networking, interviewing, and experiences of  other job seekers such as yourself.

Find upcoming job fairs in your area where you can research jobs and submit resumes.  In my opinion, Job fairs are just a forum where companies gather resumes for FUTURE jobs and not for current openings.

Find a part-time job. Read this article in Yahoo on the 7 best part time jobs.

Always keep this in mind, when it is you that is out there, you should utilize every resource at your disposal to find your next job. When it is you that is unemployed and looking for a new job, you are the master of your own destiny!

Good Luck and feel free to leave me comments on your job search!