When it comes to door crasher sales, nothing can top – literally – the crazed shoppers chasing after deals on Black Friday. But you don’t need to get trampled to save some cash on this infamous retail holiday. Here’s how to do it relatively painlessly.

Black Friday Deals Canada

Black Friday originated in the United States, where the first shopping day after the Thanksgiving Day holiday unofficially launches the Christmas shopping period. (The term “black” is presumed to refer to the fact that may retailers end up “in the black” after moving so much merchandise off their shelves.)

Canadian cross-border shoppers have flocked to the U.S. to take advantage of the deals for years. But within the last five years or so, large and small Canadian retailers have been trying to entice them to stay and shop at home by holding Black Friday sales of their own.

You can plan your attack in advance by perusing online flyers ahead of the event. FutureShop, for example, mails out and posts online flyers a few days before. Or visit sites such as Red Flag Deals and Smart Canucks for the latest leaked flyers from the top shopping destinations in Canada.

Shop Safely, Or From Home

The people lining up hours ahead of store openings are hoping to get their hands on some crazily discounted goods such as flat-screen TVs for $99 or clothing that’s 90-plus percent off the regular price. But most stores only guarantee a handful of each of those items. Unless there’s something you’ve seen listed in a flyer that you’re desperately in need of, you’re better off letting the first wave subside, then going in to pick through the leftovers.

The event has become such an important part of the holiday shopping season that retailers will discount most (if not all) items in store for the day. If you don’t feel like venturing out into the crowds – or leaving your home period – sit tight and wait for Cyber Monday to roll around. While the online retailers’ counterpoint to Black Friday isn’t as popular– with no images of people trampling each other, it doesn’t make for much of a news story – the sales do offer another way to save on your holiday shopping.

Assess Your Savings

Still on the fence? Before you do decide to head out and line up in the cold for a few hours, do a little simple math: say you stand in line for four hours, spend an hour in the store scooping up whatever deals you can find, then another hour in the checkout line, that’s six hours. (And that’s not counting the sick days you’ll have to take off dealing with the cold you caught standing in line!) If you manage to save $100 on your purchases, that works out to a little more than $15 per hour of your time. What’s your time worth to you?

Allan Britnell

Toronto-based freelancer Allan Britnell is an award-winning writer with nearly 20 years’ experience. He covers a diverse range of topics, including DIY and professional home renovation projects, nature and the environment, small business, personal finance, and family and health issues. He is also the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, the publication written for small- and medium-sized contracting and custom home building companies. He lives in Toronto with his wife, two daughters, and their dog, Oscar.

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