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What can you expect from Black Friday sales? How much will you really save? Is it worth the trouble to plan a Black Friday shopping trip?

In these days of reduced income, many Christmas shoppers are looking for the best deals possible. In order to make a sale worthwhile, they must be able to save a great deal on retail prices; in fact, if it were not for Black Friday sales, some shoppers might not be able to afford the gifts they want to give for Christmas. However, Black Friday shopping requires a great deal of planning to make it feasible and worthwhile; in order to justify this extra work, savings have to be significant.

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How much can you save on Black Friday?

Black Friday sales can, indeed, save shoppers tremendous amounts of money if the customer is willing to “shop smart” and put a bit of planning into the Black Friday experience. Black Friday sales can cut as much as 80% off the price of certain items, if the customer knows how to shop at the right times and with the right coupons and other discounts.

Before planning a Black Friday shopping trip, it makes sense to decide what you want to purchase. In fact, this is the key to truly saving money and acquiring the items you need for your gift-giving plans. Oddly, many people simply show up at these sales and grab what looks good, not realizing that they might have saved a lot more with some planning.

Always Compare Prices

Once you have a holiday list of gifts together then start with some online research. It is very possible to get a firm idea of how much the item retails for, which is key if you want to know how much you are saving, and if the savings are worth the trip to the store.

For example, suppose you want to give your child a game system. You choose the format you want and begin shopping online. You quickly find that, within a $20 range, the system is going to cost you $275. Now that you have a baseline price, it is time to start look at Black Friday advertisements.

You might notice in your newspaper that a local retailer is having a Black Friday sale and is offering 25% off all electronics. This is a good start—you can subtract $68.75 from the price of your game system with this discount, bringing the price down to $206.25. However, you do not have to stop there.

If you look at the website for the particular merchant, you may find additional coupons which will save you more on the Black Friday sale. Alternatively, you may find that the 25% off Black Friday sale has an addition—you can save an addition 15% if you purchase your game system within two hours of store opening, which is set for 5 a.m. This means that if you get to the store and buy your game system before 7 a.m. on Black Friday, you will only pay $165. This is significantly less than the original price, and may well make your early trip to the store worth the effort.

Sometimes its worth sticking with the Same Merchant

Another alternative to the “Friday” Black Friday shopping is to shop online with the same merchant. You may be able to find a coupon code for 25% off, and can take an addition 15% off if you buy during a certain time period online. Now you have saved the same 40% without the hassle of getting up early on Black Friday and fighting the crowds at the store! Coupon codes are available from many merchants and from independent Black Friday sites, as well as through email lists to which you can subscribe.

How much you can save depends largely on the item you want and the current demand for that item. Looking at your original list, ask yourself, “Do I have to have this name brand? Is there a similar item I can substitute?” Many sales such as “doorbusters” and “deep discounts” focus on items that are out of production, for which the merchants are trying to deplete their stock. If you are willing to take a less-than-name-brand item or one that might be slightly dated, you can often save up to 80%. If you are looking for electronics or computer items, 25% is a more realistic expectation. For housewares, clothing, and other items, you may be able to find savings of up to 50% with certain sales. Coupons and codes codes can further reduce these prices, making Black Friday deals even more affordable.