With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many people are also gearing up for the next big event in the holiday season: Black Friday. Traditionally the day when most retailers move from being in the "red" (in debt) to the "black" (a profit), it is one of the busiest single days for shopping every year. But in all that rush and excitement, how can you be sure to be getting a good deal? We've put together this guide to Black Friday to help ensure you maximise your savings - and your sanity - this Black Friday.
Most of the time, the secret to savings is just a forward planning, and this is no different when it comes to Black Friday savings. As most retailers have already started advertising their Black Friday deals, take a moment to check out and compare what's on offer. Make a list of your major wants/needs, and think about which friends and family members you'll be buying presents for.
The experts say that the best Black Friday deals tend to be for electronics. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend choosing appliances that will deliver you energy savings throughout the year, such as:
- Refrigerators: after water heaters (if they are electric), your refrigerater is one of the biggest users of energy among your appliances, meaning that even small energy efficiency improvements can have big impacts. ENERGY STAR certified refrigerators are about 9-10 percent more energy efficient than models that meet the federal minimum energy efficiency standard. If this doesn't sound like much, think again: according to ENERGY STAR, if all refrigerators sold in the United States were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $400 million each year. A word of warning: style matters. Fridges with a freezer on the top or on the bottom (as opposed to side-by-side) are more energy-efficient.
- Dishwashers: ENERGY STAR dishwashers use 4.25 gallons or less water per cycle, and switching from an old model (pre-1994) can save you about $35 per year.
- Clothes washers: ENERGY STAR washers clean clothes using 35% less water and 20% less energy than standard washers.
- Clothes dryers: Clothes dryers are also among the top three energy using appliances at home. ENERGY STAR certified dryers use 20 percent less energy than conventional dryers. If you're in the market for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically turns the machine off when clothes are dry. This feature saves energy and prevents wear and tear on caused by over-drying.
- Televisions: since a bigger screen means a bigger energy budget, energy efficiency is key to make sure that your new screen doesn't break the bank. ENERGY STAR certified televisions are on average 25 percent more efficient than conventional models, and save energy in all usage modes (active, sleep, idle, etc).
- Computers: with all of us using computers, laptops, and other electronic devices more than ever before, even small improvements in energy efficiency can go a long way in terms of saving money and helping the environment. ENERGY STAR estimates that if all computers sold in the US met ENERGY STAR requirements, the savings in energy costs
Maximise Your SavingsMany utilities throughout the country offer rebates and/or other incentives for energy efficiency upgrades. Make the most of savings by taking advantage of any rebates that might be available to you. Not sure what's out there? Check out ENERGY STAR's Rebate Finder, or ask your utility directly.
What to avoid? According to NerdWallet, toys and clothing are generally to be avoided on Black Friday, as they tend to get marked down closer to Christmas. The best prices on apparel usually tends to be at the end of the season, in January or February.
Turn Your Black Friday Green
The simplest way to save money is simply not to spend it in the first place. While the Black Friday deals may be tempting, there are plenty of good reasons to opt out of the shopping frenzy.
Instead of spending Black Friday battling the crowds, why not take the day off to enjoy the parks and nature near your home? National outdoor clothing company REI has made headlines recently with the company's announcement that all of their 140+ retail locations will be closed for Black Friday. The company is encouraging its employees and customers to spend the day outdoors instead, and can post pictures with the hashtag #OptOutside on social media.
Similarly, many county parks and recreation boards are promoting Green Friday events on Black Friday, to try to get more families to spend quality time with each other outdoors and not in the shopping mall. Check with your local county to see whether any events are planned for your area.
Take advantage of the holiday by catching up on a bit of sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than one-quarter of Americans report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. Save a bit of money and help your health by sleeping in instead of hitting the shops early this Black Friday.
Take the time off to decorate your home for the holidays. While you're at it, try to go for decorations that will save you energy.
Other Ways to Go Green on Black Friday
If you have a second refrigerator or freezer that you rarely use, make an early resolution to recycle it. This will not only save you money in running something that you barely ever use, but will also help the environment: properly recycling your refrigerator will ensure that all of its parts are correctly removed and recycled, and will save carbon emissions.
While a lot of us seasoned shoppers enjoy the thrill of the hunt and scoring great deals, not many people enjoy braving the traffic and waiting for parking spots. Not only is the journey to the shopping mall unpleasant, it's polluting the environment. If you can't resist the Black Friday deals, consider skipping the crowds and scanning the deals online instead. Not only will you preserve your sanity, you'll be saving fuel and time spent getting to and from the shops, which is a bonus for your wallet and the environment.
Another way to save (not just on Black Friday) is to check the price you are currently paying for your electricity and/or natural gas supply, and see if it can't be beat by an alternate supplier. Millions of Americans have the power to choose their energy supplier, and have been able to save by making the switch! Interested? Call us at 347-410-8789 to find the best rates available in your area.