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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday: Saving money no matter how you shop this year

How financial experts say you can save money while getting everything on your list this winter.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — About 140 million Americans plan to shop pre-holiday sales following Thanksgiving, according to Finder. They say 56 percent of people in the South will shop during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, with each person estimated to spend $336. 

Ways to save

"I think the biggest mistake that a lot of consumers and shoppers fall into is not having a plan," said financial expert Ja'Net Adams of Debt Sucks University. "If you don't have a plan and you get into that store, (...) and you end up spending $10 here, $20 there and end up overspending your actual holiday budget."

Adams has some solutions for those compulsive shoppers. She said you can opt for a shopping basket you can carry if you tend to put things you don't need in your cart. If you're going after a bigger item like a TV, that's the time to practice self-control.

"I know we wanna be able to buy for other people but try your best to stick to your list so that you can at least try to save some money this holiday season," said Adams.

With three different days of sales after Thanksgiving, you could see a deeper discount on an item as the weekend continues, but Adams warns that if it's something you really want, you shouldn't wait.

"I would go ahead and get it," said Adams. "I wouldn't try to wait for it to be 10 or 20 percent less on Cyber Monday and you miss out getting it all together because it sells out."

Adams says there's no need to worry if you can't get all your holiday shopping done the weekend after Thanksgiving.

"(There) will still be some sales going on leading up to Christmas, especially this year," said Adams. "The supply chain issues from the last couple of years have really just piled everything on (stores) at once and they are trying to clear things out as fast as they can. Don't be surprised if you see some sales around Christmas time just in case you didn't get your list done."

You can also save money and support your local economy by shopping local.

Jennifer Graf is the owner of Vintage to Vogue Boutique in Greensboro. She said they're offering discounts not only on Small Business Saturday, but Black Friday as well this year.

"You have an opportunity to get something unique that big box stores can’t give," said Graf. "A lot of the time people try to see small businesses as expensive, but it isn’t. You get quality, you get items that will last. Shopping local and shopping small, the products will last."  

Ship on time

The United State Postal Service (USPS) is working to beef up its staff to meet the increased holiday shipping demand.

USPS said its converted 100,000 workers to full-time since the beginning of 2021. Its also working to hire 20,000 seasonal employees for the holiday season and installed 137 new package sorting machines to expand its package processing capacity.

To make sure your package gets to its destination on time this holiday season, follow these recommended deadlines:

  • Send First-Class Mail and smaller First-Class packages by December 17
  • Ship Priority Mail by December 19
  • The Priority Mail Express deadline is December 23

Stay away from scammers and thieves

While you shop around for the gifts on your list, the Better Business Bureau is warning you to think twice before shopping through social media ads.

The 2022 BBB Online Scams Report found that online purchase scams through Facebook and Instagram ads were the most common cons reported to the BBB Scam Tracker.

These scams can include products to support charity, offer free trials with you just paying shipping fees and counterfeit merchandise. You may fall victim to the engaging ads, and face the consequences when the product you ordered doesn't arrive and the company's customer service gives a vague answer or no response.

The BBB said you can protect yourself by researching the company advertised before buying from them, searching for previous complaints and using good judgment.

This is also the time of year that porch pirates pick up their attacks. Law enforcement officials recommend having a trusted family member or neighbor pick up your packages if you can't be home to receive them. You can also have packages from Amazon delivered to their secure lockers, or have the delivery driver put the package in your garage.

Key takeaways

Three things for you to remember as you get ready for the biggest shopping season of the year:

  1. Make a list. Knowing what your looking for can help you find deals and stop you from overspending.
  2. Support local businesses. Many business owners are offering deals, and it could be a way to find a unique holiday gift you can't get anywhere else.
  3. Remember the shipping deadlines. You want to make sure all your gifts get to their destinations on time.

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