Shopping in the United States is elevated almost to a contact sport. Sales and discounts abound on a predictable schedule. Here in Canada, it's true that we get Boxing Day on December 26th. However, in the States they also end up with “after Christmas” sales, and sales all the way up to Christmas. But the “real” deals for the shopping year is the fact that the United States gets to take advantage of major deals before Christmas with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If you want to take advantage of deals like our friends to the south, you do have options. Here are a few ways that you can get in on the Black Friday deals.
Across the Border
One option is to go across the border and shop the deals in person. Did you know that 75% of Canadians live within 150 km of the United States border? Keep in mind though that the Canadian dollar has a lower value than the US dollar. This means that you can take advantage of sales, but be sure to factor in the exchange rate to make sure it's really a deal. Shop with your credit card, and you don't have to worry about carrying out the foreign exchange transaction yourself. Do watch out for foreign transaction fees your credit card might charge. Before you head across the border, double-check to see which card charges the least.
Black Friday might be worthwhile if you get the big savings. Even if you have to drive more than 150 km (paying for gas), and even if you have a few fees to pay, it still might be worth it for the savings. However, you need to plan ahead, since travelling to the US will only pay off if you can get all of your Christmas shopping completed in one weekend. Run the numbers and see if this option makes sense for you.
Shop Online Websites
For most Canadians, though, a better choice is to shop online from US websites. You can get Black Friday deals by logging on with US retailers. Not only that, but you can take advantage of Cyber Monday as well.
In many cases, online retailers offer even better deals if you wait until Cyber Monday to do your shopping. If you want to get great deals without leaving the comfort of your home, shopping through US websites makes a great deal of sense. You can save money, and you can do it in your pajamas (or even from work).
However, it's important to do your research ahead of time. Be aware of stores that don’t ship to Canada or those that charge a large amount for shipping. If you do your Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping online, you don't want hefty shipping charges to would negate any savings from your great deals.
Shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Canada
You’ll also find that more and more Canadian stores are actually having Black Friday sales. The thirst for deals and shopping marathons has come to Canada, and Canadian retailers want a piece of the pie. With surveys finding an increasing number of Canadians looking to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's not a surprise that retailers up here want in on the act.
However, there are other companies that are taking a look at how they can keep some of these shopping dollars local, rather than sending them to the United States. It's also not surprising that the Canadian locations of US brands like Walmart, Apple, Old Navy, Toys R Us, and Best Buy are offering Black Friday Deals. But you can also find deals from Canadian Tire, London Drugs, Sport Chek, and Rogers. Airmiles even offers Black Friday deals for Canadians.
You can find all the deals on the Black Friday section of RedFlagDeals. Hopefully, more stores will follow this trend in future years while competing for your shopping dollar. It's a lot better than trying to drive to the US and then fight the crowds that have become famous the world over for their aggressiveness.
While Black Friday isn’t a Canadian shopping tradition, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit by taking advantage of the sales!