Even though it’s only October, you’re probably already starting to see Black Friday deals trickling into your social feeds and advertisements. It’s a lot of information to process and very easy to miss out on the absolute best deals amidst the chaos. We want to make sure you have the most frugal Black Friday yet! Here are 12 Black Friday shopping tips on how to zone in on the best ways to save on your holiday shopping this year.
1. Tune in now. Even if it seems too early to start paying attention to daily deals under the Black Friday label, don’t ignore them. Scope out ads from all types of stores, even ones you don’t normally shop. This will help you compare prices.
2. Browse in person. See a great online deal but not quite ready to commit to buying? This is a great time to start physically going to stores to check out products in person. Once you’re on the floor, ask a sales person about similar products and recommendations that you can also test out in the store. Take notes–this will give you a list of backup products so you can compare prices online when you are ready to buy. During this time of year, brick and mortar stores won’t be as packed with shoppers. This will make browsing a little easier as opposed to going out during the holiday rush.
3. Shop on Thanksgiving and earlier. You don’t have to wait until the stroke of midnight on Black Friday to start shopping. Thanksgiving day is a great time to start. It is historically known as the day of prime Editor’s Choice sales as well. Even the week of Black Friday has fantastic deals you don’t want to miss. Bottom line, don’t wait. As the clock ticks down to the big day, start really paying attention to those deals. As soon as one looks too good to pass up, go for it!
4. Choose to shop online or in-store. Doorbuster deals are designed to get you into the big-name stores with enormous, unbelievable savings on big-ticket items. However, we’ve seen online deals that are just as impressive. But you have to act fast! If you plan on hitting the stores, just know that this will cut into your online shopping time. This means taking the risk on missing top online deals. It all depends on what is more important to you–a visceral shopping experience or a convenient one.
5. Stay on schedule for in-store shopping. Black Friday deals go by lightning fast. You have to be in the store on time. Being even 10 minutes late can result in you leaving empty handed. Know what your day will look like timewise. Plan what time you need to leave, the best driving route possible, etc. If you need a sitter, plan to get one in advance. If you’re going with a shopping buddy, make sure they’re kept in the loop on the schedule. Plan as much extra time as possible to account for unforeseeable variables like parking, traffic and long lines. Black Friday shopping is not something you can do on a whim in a casual fashion. You’ve got to be planned and pumped!
6. Use line time to shop. If you do happen to get caught in a never-ending line, make sure your smartphone is fully charged so you can check out holiday deals on mobile sites while you wait to enter the store. Some online deals are known to pop up at the very last minute. You might even be able to purchase the item you are waiting for at a better price using your phone. Then you can just move onto the next store!
7. Stick to your shopping list. This especially applies to in-store shopping but can also be relevant to shopping online. Avoid buying impulse items to make sure you stay on budget. Rest assured that checkout lines will be bordered with tantalizing products designed to gobble up your dollars with little time to really think about it. Most of the time, these products are not of high quality and are basically clearance items. Don’t be lured by a good deal on a bad product.
8. Shop at price-matching stores. Walmart and Best Buy are among some big name stores that are known to offer price matching during Black Friday sales. This means they will match the price of an item sold for less by a competitor in order to get your business. If you plan on doing most of your shopping at one or two stores, this is a great tool to ensure you get a great deal without having to skip all over town.
9. Plan alternative products. By now, you get the idea. Black Friday deals can go out of stock in a snap. Sticking to your shopping list will ensure that you stay on budget but a little flexibility will make sure you cover all your categories. You may be looking for a deal on a specific TV but consider an alternative brand or size just in case your desired TV sells out.
10. Buy final sale items with caution. Final sale means just that–final. No returns, no exchanges. These are usually fantastic deals but they come with a little risk. Always make sure of the fit and quality of final sale items before buying.
11. Organize store credits and rebates. Things can certainly get lost in the shuffle with the chaos of Black Friday shopping. Be sure to flag all of your emails and keep all of your receipts during this time, especially those keeping track of your rebates and store credits offered as special savings. Keep a special Black Friday folder at home and in your email.
12. Be patient and stay calm. This can be a very stressful time for both shoppers and retail workers. If you need help in-store or online, being courteous will help to ensure that you will receive the best customer care possible. After all, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Happy shopping!
Prices and Cash Back Percentages are subject to change.
Briana is a shopaholic whose newest obsession is matching top-and-skirt sets (but she also can’t resist a good jumpsuit). She loves rock music, horror movies and is an all-around pop culture junkie. She is, without fail, always down for karaoke. Her blog, Mamafierce, is a chronicle of personal fashion, body positivity and the adventures of motherhood. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three-year-old son and tortoiseshell cat, Divvy.