A Crash Course in Getting Awesome Deals

If you are just discovering the wide world of online deals for Black Friday 2011 and the holiday shopping season, and are finding yourself a little frustrated, don't chuck your computer out of the window just yet. We've created a Deal-Finding 101 crash course to help you get the best deals and save big!

The Language of Love

You’ll learn the language of love (or as people who aren’t us call it, "deal lingo") as you go. When we talk about the shipped price of an item, we are referring to the combined cost of the item and shipping together, not including sales tax. While we can't include the sales tax costs for each and every state, we will tell you what states charge sales tax.

We often mention that coupons that stack. That means that you can use more than one coupon on an order or a promotion. For example, we may provide a coupon or promo code for 20% off that stacks with sale items, a free shipping coupon, or an extra 10% in-cart discount. use more than one on an order. We may also say that a code stacks with another promotion. For example, we may provide a coupon or promo code for 20% off that stacks with  sale items or an automatic 10% in-cart discount

The technical specifications of an item (like a TV with 1080p resolution, or a camera with a 18-55mm lens) can be a bit trickier to explain, which is why we have started our weekly Tech Tuesdays blog to help break down the those big words into plain old English even the dearest of grannies can comprehend.

Why Is It Sold Out?!?!?

We hear it every day: THIS IS SOLD OUT! The best deals don't usually last long. Here at Brad's Deals, we don't always know how many products a retailer has in stock, but when we see a bargain, we post it. Sometimes stock is low, and a deal sells out faster than we anticipate. That is the nature of the beast so to speak: the bigger the deal, the harder it falls, or the better the deal, the quicker it sells out.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm Deal

The best way to avoid sell-out disappointments is to check in at BradDeals.com a few times during the day. If you are a newsletter subscriber, we don't recommend using that as your sole means of finding out about our deals. This is especially important during the holidays when the retail market tends to be more fluid than usual. Tip: we post our exclusive 60 Days of Deals Deal of the Day at Midnight EST!

If you miss a hot deal, we suggest taking the zen approach: take a deep breath and remind yourself that there are always better deals on the horizon. Missing a deal can be a bummer, but don't let it ruin your day. A better deal may be just around the corner. Ooooommmmmm...

If you discover an item that is sold out, please let us know in the comments section for that deal. We try to keep on top of the items we post, but we also get by with a little help from our friends: you, our amazing deal seeking community!

This Link Doesn't Work

There are many reasons why a link in one of our posts might not work.  If the website does not open at all, we highly recommend checking out our page on Link Problems. One of the easiest recommendations from that page is to try a different web browser (we suggest Firefox).  If the link is going to the wrong item, please let us know and we will fix it. If the website is opening, but says something like "item not found," let us know and we will see if it is a link problem or if the item has sold out.

The Price ISN'T Right

When you see a post on Brad's Deals and click on the link, the price you see on the product page might not match the price we gave. In addition to coupons, many sites offer deals where the price automatically drops when you add it to your cart. You may need to actually go to checkout to see the discount. If you've done this, and the price still isn't right, the retailer may have taken the price back up on that item. We hate when that happens, too. If you find the price has gone up on an item, be a pal and let us know (nicely) and we will update our post.

How to Find Coupon Codes, Promo Codes and Online Deals

Entering coupon codes online can be tricky, but the risk of paper cuts is much lower!

Coupons, Coupons, Coupons and Coupons

Coupon and promo codes can be very finicky. They are often case-sensitive (usually they should be ALL CAPS). If you are having a problem with a coupon code, make sure there are no extra spaces or punctuation before or after the code. Also, if you copy/pasted the code into the box, try typing it out by hand or vise-versa. We don't know why that works, but sometimes it does. Check out more great coupon tips and tricks from our editors here.

Need More Help?

If you are having a problem and you can't figure out what to do, please use the comments area for each individual deal. Let us know exactly what is happening and we will do our best to help. You get to the comments section of a deal by clicking on the speech bubble icon in the lower-right corner of the deal post. We want to hear from you! Who knows, you might even make it into our weekly top 5 comments on the site!

Final Tips for Black Friday and the Holiday Season

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some of the best deals will be gone before you've even hit the SNOOZE button in the morning. This is when we see the biggest price drops of the year, so it is also the time when we see deals selling out the fastest (if you snooze, you'll lose). If you want to score the best deals, tactics and timing are everything. Checking BradsDeals.com, BlackFriday2011.com, and CyberMonday2011.com multiple times a day, even in the middle of the night, is our recommended strategy for scoring the hottest deals. Rise and shine brave birds, get those worms deals!

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Image by sdc2027 on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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