Black Friday has a reputation for being the best time of the year to score some serious deals, but according to the New York Times, "not every discounted TV is worth buying, and not every gadget on sale on Black Friday is at its best price." Retailers know that any sale on the day after Thanksgiving will draw crowds because of the days reputation, so they often hold off on offering their best prices until later in the year. But just because Black Friday isn't all it's cracked up to be doesn't mean you can't still find some great deals. Check out our tips below to make sure your Black Friday shopping is actually saving you money!

1. Review Price History

Business Insider

Sometimes retailers hike up prices in anticipation of Black Friday sales so that the discounts appear all the more drastic. To make sure you don't fall for this trick, start doing your research now on any products you may want to purchase on Friday. Compare the items price at various retailers to get an idea of what the product usually costs, and then keep that number in mind when looking at Black Friday deal options. You can also check websites like CamelCamelCamel and Invisible Hand to compare price trends.

2. The Best Discounts Tend to Be in Electronics

While you may be tempted to hit the mall on Black Friday and score some deals on clothes or home goods, the deals in these categories probably aren't worth the hassle. An editor at Wirecutter, Adam Burakowski, says, "For this year, I'd say take a good look at the small appliances (instant pot), smart home, and headphone categories. We've seen some really strong pricing in those areas already with some of the best pricing of the year."

3. Remember Black Friday Travel Deals

Evan Crawford, regional marketing director for San Antonio's Hotel Contessa, told Today, "Most consumers don't immediately connect travel deals with Black Friday, but some of the best savings during Black Friday through Cyber Monday actually come from the hotel and travel industry." For example, Hotels.com is offering a deal starting on Nov. 23rd that will allow people who visit the website to participate in a lottery for discounts on lodging. The discounts will range from as little as 7% to as much as a 99%.

4. Check the Model Number

Sometimes, even if the brand name is trustworthy, stores will offer deals on inferior makes and models that they haven't been able to move off their shelves. We recommend doing a Google or Amazon search on the brand and model number and reading the customer reviews. If the product is brand new to the website and doesn't have any reviews, it may be a product specifically made for Black Friday, and is likely low quality.

5. Check Out Small Business Saturday


Small Biz Daily

Head out to your local shops on Small Business Saturday and find deals that save you more money than the deals at big box stores. Small businesses recognize the importance of getting shoppers in the door on Black Friday in hopes that they'll earn some year long patrons, so are much more likely to offer serious savings. Plus, you can feel good that you're helping out a small business in a competitive landscape.

This Black Friday, make sure to shop smart and do your research to ensure you get the most out of America's biggest shopping day!

PayPath
Follow Us on

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

Keep reading Show less

diy gifts

Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.

With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.

Keep reading Show less