In the first Google Hangout of what will be many more to come, the Credit.com Credit Experts teamed up with the well-respected experts at RetailMeNot and Bankrate to answer every Black Friday question imaginable.
From layaway to retail credit cards to shopping trends, we discussed the hot topics you asked us about on Facebook, Twitter and our Google + page. The following are some of the highlights from the Hangout, topic by topic. Watch the full video here.
What’s Hot This Season
“We’ve got the iPad Mini, which everyone’s going to be clamoring for. It’s interesting — we know that Apple doesn’t like to discount hardly ever, but they do tend to discount just a little bit around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so I’m very curious to see what they do this year. Another thing I think is interesting, especially if you’re shopping for children, is the resurgence of retro toys. If you remember the kind of annoying Furbie toy that made all sorts of noises and things like that, he is back with a vengeance and he has LED eyes and all sorts of other bells and whistles to drive all the other adults in the house crazy.”
-Trae Bodge, @RetailMeNot
How to Budget
“I think the biggest mistake around this time of year is spreading your purchases out among a bunch of different credit cards. Most of us have 4, 5, 6, 7 cards in our wallet and it’s easy to put $10 on one, $100 on another and pretty soon you don’t know what you’ve spent. So, for your budget, the best idea is to pick a card, hopefully with a low interest rate, or a rewards card, one that doesn’t have a balance, and use that exclusively for your holiday purchases so you can keep them all in one place.”
-Gerri Detweiler, @CreditExperts
Layaway: Yay or Nay?
“Layaway isn’t horrible, it’s not awful, but it isn’t always great either. There are three problems with layaway. One is that a lot of [retailers] charge a fee, they may charge a service fee just to do layaway. I’ve seen a lot of layaway programs advertising this year that they’re free, so that seems to be a trend, but there may be a fee if you cancel. So if you can’t pay for the item or you don’t end up buying the item, there will be a cancellation fee which actually could be more expensive than short-term interest on a credit card. The other problem is if you put something on layaway, you’re not shopping for deals, right? You’ve decided that this is what I’m buying and I’m just paying towards it. You’re not seeing if you can find that item cheaper somewhere else, getting a coupon code at RetailMeNot.com or looking around for sales or deals. And finally, you could end up in the hole. You could just put money toward the layaway item, you don’t end up buying it, you end up paying a fee and then you still have to shop for something for the holidays and you’ve already spent money on something you didn’t buy. So just be careful if you’re going to be using layaway.”
-Gerri Detweiler, @CreditExperts
Enough Time to Score a Credit Card for Black Friday?
“This is a big business day — anytime consumers are out in the marketplace shopping, if you’re an issuer or you’re in a payments function, you want your card or your product to be the one that consumers are reaching for. … I think there is [enough time to get a credit card], but you’re going to have to move fairly quickly and here’s why: Today’s the first of the month, but if you assess your strategy and find out which card is the best for you, which of course you can do at Bankrate.com, if you put an application in you’re going to get an answer instantaneously and then it takes about 5-7 business days before that card actually comes in the mail.”
-Greg McBride, @Bankrate