THE BLOG
11/20/2014 12:00 am ET Updated Jun 10, 2015
PRESENTED BY U.S. CELLULAR

How To Stay Serene (And Smart) On Black Friday

Whether you wholeheartedly embrace the deals or consider yourself more of a passive shopper, Black Friday madness is just around the corner.

However, it isn't the same shopping day it was a few years ago. Now, there are more brand choices than ever before, rewards and incentives that complicate price points, and physical AND online stores vying for your time and attention.

To score the best tech deals on the year’s biggest shopping day, follow these simple tricks below, brought to you in partnership with U.S. Cellular.

Super-size
You're more likely to get a better deal when you opt to buy a game console bundle rather than just a single item. Buying the console and a few games or accessories together will net you a better discount than trying to buy these items separately.

Compare, compare, compare
When buying an HDTV, don't expect a name brand to be the best deal. Think about the discount you want versus the brand you want. Conduct some research to see what life you can expect from a cheaper TV, or if you're better off investing in a name you trust. You'll also want to check on warranty information and how easily you can get your TV serviced, should you ever need it.

Check your specs
Research the ins and outs of the products you are looking to purchase. Some name brands will make knock offs that have different ingredients from the current standard model. Just check the model numbers to make sure you are getting the real deal. Many times, the model numbers will be slightly different. For example, a laptop under $200 probably isn’t running on the same system as one that's closer to $1,000 (even if it's the "sale" price). Look at the hard drive, processor, and even screen resolution specs to make sure you know what you're getting.

Have foresight
Printers aren't just a one-time expense. If you've got your eye on that printer with a sale price of $24.99, do your homework first and check out the cost of the ink cartridges you'll need to refill. Sometimes, retailers sell printers at a discount, knowing they will recoup their revenue in ink sales later on. While you're at it, read reviews for that specific model and be wary if you don't find any.

Remember the details
Don't leave lower priced tech items off your list. Just because it’s Black Friday doesn't mean you have to look at hugely expensive items to get a deal. Smaller items, like portable hard drives, memory cards, and other electronic accessories, will also be deeply discounted on Black Friday.

Sometimes, stay home
What may seem like an awesome Black Friday deal could actually be more expensive than a regular purchase. Your local retailers factor in several costs when setting their final prices (like store shipments,, employee salaries, rent, etc.) Online retailers may not have to consider these variables. Oftentimes, a Black Friday deal may have a cheaper everyday price on websites such as Amazon or eBay. Why lose sleep and brave the crowds when you can get it delivered to your front door?

Give service add-ons the side-eye
Do you need a service plan? Retailers will try to get you to add a service plan or warranty to the electronic item that you are purchasing. While some of these plans can be a great deal, they often just add more money to the retailer’s bottom line. These sellers know that most people forget that they bought the plan and likely won’t use it. But service plans can be a great idea when throwing down money on big items (like TVs, computers, etc.), Even the smallest broken part can cost almost as much as the original purchase price for the whole item. Most retailers will not even offer a service or protection plan on the names that you’ve never heard of before. This can also help you sniff out the dud products versus the deals.

U.S. Cellular is a company that offers unparalleled customer service and industry-leading innovations. Make sure to stay savvy this Black Friday by checking out their incredible offerings!

CONVERSATIONS