Calculators a Must for Black Friday Bargains

Have a case of Black Friday flu? Better brush up on your math, if you want to score a deal this year

Quick, which works out to be the better deal?

1) $539 Canadian plus tax? (Best Buy, Canada)
2) $499 U.S. plus tax with a $150 Target gift card? (Target, US.)
3) $360 U.S? (eBay, U.S.)

Don’t ask me. Maths is not my thing.

But it better be yours if you’re planning to score big bargains as Black Friday approaches.

All those prices are for the same item: an iPad Air 2 with Wifi and 16 GB.

Black Friday, when consumer flu strikes Canadians and Cyber Monday, when work is a break from shopping, are complicated this year by the swooning loonie.

Maybe that’s why one in five (19 per cent) of Canadian shoppers are planning to decrease their holiday spending, reports statistical analysis company SAS. It’s the biggest decrease among countries surveyed.

With an exchange rate that costs you approximately $1.34 Canadian for every American dollar, and differing taxes, duty and possible shipping charges, calculating the lowest price for any object of desire amounts to a Grade 11 math problem.

Making it harder to compare is the fact that Black Friday flyers from U.S. stores —Target, Best Buy, Walmart, ToysRUs and others —are are already posted online, inviting browsing, comparisons and list making.

Canadian stores are counting down to Black Friday sale prices, too, but so far aren’t posting them online .

The U.S. flyers are previews only and for most, you’ll have to wait until Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., to order online or purchase in-store.

But some preliminary browsing suggests that the lower loonie may be your friend.

One of the hottest gifts this season for girls is the Furreal Friends Starlily Magical Unicorn. The electronic creature from Hasbro responds to voice and touch with more than 100 sound and motion combinations. She flutters her wings, flashes her horn in different colours, sits, stands, lies down and moves to music.

But the best thing about this toy that’s more talented than the average toddler is that, last time I checked, it’s a better buy in Canada than in the U.S.

The lowest price I found online was $94.94 at Unfortunately, it was also out of stock there.

The next best price was $99.97 at with free store pick-up and a limit of two — but that was a sale price and when I last checked, the price was $139.95.

Over the border, American stores are charging a similar price in U.S. funds: $95.99 at and $99 at

At, as of this posting, the price was $114.99.

Calculator or not, the changing prices and changing currencies can make you a little crazy.

And whatever you buy, at whatever price, remember this statistic from the SAS holiday survey: More than one out of four Canadians (27 per cent) are expecting to return a gift they receive.

Other survey results:

*More than one out of five Canadians (22 per cent) plan to shop on Black Friday

*Only 17 per cent plan to shop on Cyber Monday.

* The vast majority of Canadians (82 per cent) surveyed said they still plan to shop in-store during the holiday season.