Everyone is scrambling to find those last-minute ways to save money before Black Friday. Stop fumbling with research and overthinking the process. Instead, here are 15 practice ways to attack your Black Friday shopping that will leave you stress-free and save money in the process.
1. Create a budget
Before you’re ready to dive in headfirst with coupon clipping and mall shop planning we need to nail down your Black Friday budget. If you don’t already have a number in mind, getting one should be your priority.
Having a household budget will make this process that much easier because you’ll already know how much you have to spend. Assuming you don’t have one (shame on you) – here’s an easy breakdown.
Income – Expenses = Savings
Once you know how much you have leftover after things like:
- Monthly payments
- Holiday decor and meals
Only then can you know what you can afford to spend on Black Friday.
2. Use Coupons
Next comes all the coveted Black Friday coupons. You’ll want to gather as much of these as possible because, let’s be honest, it’s free money. Start by checking places like-
- Online coupon websites
- Email opt-ins
- Holiday newsletters
- Weekly magazines and newspapers
They’re everywhere and usually starting in November you’ll see them start popping up. Even if you don’t think you’ll use them, someone you know might and could be a nice bargaining chip for a coupon you need.
3. Prepare your purchases
Just like your budget is your financial plan, you also need a shopping plan. Know who you’re buying for and what you’re getting before setting off on a shopping spree. You’ll end up either broke or without a meaningful gift, neither is fun.
4. Do your research
Research is key to finding what you’re looking for at the price you need it. Places like BlackFriday.com are designed to help you in your research. You can Google online to find your favorite stores’ Black Friday deals usually by the end of October. Map out your route so you’re not just driving in circles wasting time (and gas).
5. Compare prices
Leading into our next point, use your research time to also compare prices between stores. There will be multiple instances where several places will have exactly what you’re looking for. You need to narrow down based on a few key points;
- Price of the item
- If they only show limited stock
- When they will release the product
This is because stores have gotten into the habit of opening at different times or releasing products at different times for different prices. Plus you may come across a store that’s willing to price match so that’s a win-win for you. We’re just saying having prices compared gives you the benefit of knowing where you can find what you’re looking for and at what price.
6. Use cashback or rewards credit card
This one might be a bit painful for some to hear, and yes going into debt is so easy during the holidays but hear us out on this one. Many credit cards will offer either:
- 0% apr for 12 months
All of which can be used to your advantage. For example, my current credit card offers 1.5 – 3% cashback for certain purchases with no interest for a year. If you know you have a big purchase, why not make some money back off of it in the process.
7. Shop on your credit cards portal
Another interesting fact that not many people utilize is their card’s shopping portals. Check and see if you have one. Most major credit cards offer some type of incentive such as travel discounts, shopping coupons, or rewards for using their portals. Again, this is potentially free money for you to pocket so don’t skimp when looking for the things you need and are going to buy anyways.
8. Prioritize your spending
There’s a good chance you may not be able to go everywhere and buy everything that’s stacked on your list. It’s time to prioritize your spending. What do you have to buy? What can you live without this year? What can wait for Cyber Monday shopping?
When in doubt, categorize your spending into “yes, no, maybe” piles to weed out the unnecessary. Once this is done you’ll find that your budget goes further than before and you’ve saved yourself some stress in the process.
9. Look at last year’s sales
A favorite of ours when it comes to Black Friday shopping is to look at sales and deals from last year. If you’re a super early planner and have to get a jump start then this is the way to go.
While stores may not have the same deals and sales as the prior year, you can still get a feel of who offers some great deals and what categories they offer them in. Then you know whose sales to keep a better lookout for once those stores advertise their Black Friday deals.
10. Hit refresh
You probably read that headline and thought it was mistyped (hang in there for a moment). If you’re solely an online shopper these are for you and can be used on Black Friday and especially Cyber Monday.
We noticed that some stores (ehm Walmart) release deals by the hour to keep people coming back for their merchandise throughout the day. So if you have your eye on that exceptionally marked down 60” television but it says “sold out” – wait about an hour. Hit refresh, and most times they’ve released a new set of inventory to be bought.
11. Bring in the physical ads
Don’t we all hate misunderstanding ads and find ourselves paying more than we expected? Well, if you like to shop in stores be sure to bring along any physical ads or screenshot digital ads you saw with you. This way you have physical proof to show employees what you’re talking about, and maybe even get a price match.
Not only will this save you scrolling time, but how many times have you had to wait to load a coupon in stores? This way you also have them on hand at all times.
12. Look for doorbusters
Another favorite of ours is the doorbusters. Doorbusters are essentially deals that pop up right when a store opens and generally happen on Black Friday but many now do them twice. Once on Thanksgiving evening and another on Black Friday. This is another great way to snag a few great deals if you’re up for shopping that early in the morning or that late at night.
13. Save your receipts
There have been many times we’ve seen it happen, you buy something on Black Friday only to see it cheaper the following week. That being said, save all of your receipts at least a month just in case better sales are happening closer to Christmas. This way you can easily make an exchange and have the option to get your cashback.
14. Start Thanksgiving night
Did you know that there are some amazing deals that start the night before Black Friday? Be sure to check your local store listings to see what deals are popping up the night before, on Thanksgiving. If you’re lucky you might be able to get away with getting most of your list knocked out then.
15. Wait until the weekend after
As crazy as this may sound, it rings true. For example, places like Bath & Bodyworks have “OK” deals on Black Friday but their real bread and butter happens the weekend after. This is when all their candles go on sale, marked down from $25 to $8-$10.
This is where researching some amazing deals start from last year comes in handy, this way you’ll know what to get on Black Friday and what to wait for until the following weekend.