Personal Finance Round-Up: Thankful and Thrifty

thanksgivingThanksgiving is upon us, which in my household means the “three F’s”: family, food, and football. What else could you need?

Shopping. At least, that’s what’s on the mind of many of my friends and relatives, who upon finishing Thanksgiving dinner whip out the Black Friday circulars to see which stores are opening the earliest, and which are offering the best deals. According to The Today Show, this year, Black Friday is starting earlier than ever, with major retailers such as Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Sears, and Kmart opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. But are those deals even worth it? Not always, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch consumer affairs reporter Kavita Kumar.

“A lot of it depends on how well retailers did in anticipating demand,” writes Kumar of the Black Friday deals, adding, “If they end up with a surplus of certain products, prices on those items will likely plummet later in the season.”

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – who can keep up with the slew of retail “holidays” popping up as they’re still digesting Thanksgiving dinner? Daniel at Sweating The Big Stuff attempts to in his post, The Biggest Shopping Weekend of the Year: Black Friday Thru Cyber Monday. Daniel provide us with historical tidbits about these shopping days while also giving us the down and dirty on the spending statistics of Black Friday’s past:

“Although Black Friday still dominates when it comes to single-day shopping dollars spent – an estimated $11.4 billion on Black Friday 2011 – Cyber Monday is picking up steam every year. Last year, online retailers recorded $1.25 billion in sales on Cyber Monday. That was not only a Cyber Monday record (up 22% from the previous year), but it was also an all-time high for single-day online shopping sales.”

Daniel also helps us defray the cost of our Christmas shopping, giving us the details on how to sign up for Small Business Saturday, the newest of what he calls this “unholy trio.” Just a few clicks could save you $25 while also helping you support your local community, so be sure to visit his site for details on how to participate.

Here are some other posts that will leave you feeling thankful:

10 Tips to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner [Money Talks News]
Ever wondered how much it costs to feed your family Thanksgiving dinner? Amanda at Money Talks News tells us it’s just shy of $50 in 2012, up by about $0.25 from 2011. Among Amanda’s top 10 tips is an answer to the ultimate question: How much turkey do you really need per person?

Ways to Save on Holiday Travel [One Money Design]
Jason breaks down the pros and cons of getting over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, whether you plan to get there by plane, train, or automobile.

The Technology That Makes the Most of Black Friday [PT Money]
If you’re planning on heading to the stores on Black Friday, you’ll want to bring your smartphone. There are a slew of websites and apps specifically designed to help you navigate the Black Friday crowds – and locate the bargains. Emily sorts through them all and gives her recommendations.

14 Common Black Friday Myths Exposed [Living on the Cheap]
While some of these busted myths are no-brainers, this list contains several surprises. For example, the eighth myth states, “Leaked Black Friday ads are totally accurate.” On the contrary, according to this report, “Stores will alter their sales as they learn what competitors plan. Moreover, the fine print isn’t always present, which is crucial information if your heart is set on a doorbuster deal that will actually be available in extremely limited quantities.”

How to Prepare for Small Business Saturday [Maximizing Money]
Small Business Saturday: The day when American Express actually pays its cardholders to shop small. Have you ever wondered what goes into this second of the three post-Thanksgiving retail holidays, and how to get the most bang for your buck? The folks at Maximizing Money have it all laid out for you, with a five-step plan to cash in.

Cyber Monday Statistics: What to Expect This Year [The Daily Perk]
“This year, Cyber Monday is anticipated to be the biggest day for online sales in U.S. history, as it was last year,” reports Kyle at The Daily Perk – but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, for years the busiest online shopping day of the year fell in mid-December, until retail marketers got the public to catch on to the idea of Cyber Monday.

Best Times to Buy Holiday Gifts []
So when is the best time to go Christmas shopping? Turns out, it isn’t necessarily Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday. The blog at has an amazing infographic that breaks down the best days to buy in individual shopping categories.

Oops, I Just Got Into an Accident in a Parking Lot [Cheap Car Insurance]
With all of the increased traffic on big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might find yourself in the unfortunate situation of getting into an accident in one of the many crowded parking lots across the country. This is a great piece on how to handle the situation and the most important steps to take.


  • Max

    Thank you so much for including my article. Really appreciate the support. Wish you all the best shopping holidays.