No matter where you are in life, you’re game for saving money, right? Well, when it comes to Black Friday savings, be advised that it’s more of a sport than a savvy money-saving strategy.
Much like a sport, Black Friday shopping requires preparation, strategy and an end goal. In anticipation of the day, we’ve collected a number of tips and resources to help you claim victory and savings! As you may have noticed, we’re all about saving money. (Our homebuyer programs are proof positive.)
The main piece of advice we can give you is: know before you go.
In advance of Black Friday (which now includes Thanksgiving Day for some retailers), make sure you complete your gift-giving list. Black Friday is not for window shoppers and browsers.
If doorbuster/early bird deals happen to intersect with your wish list, pick the most expensive items on that list when you’re planning your day. (You can’t be in 10 places at once!) This is especially important for stores that advertise "in-stock items only". Also, keep in mind that while 80 percent off a fashionable pair o’ boots does catch the eye, getting 30 percent off a big screen TV will save you more money—unless you have very expensive taste in boots.
Here are a few more Black Friday shopping tips from experts far and wide:
- Note the days and times sales start at each store (including online retailers) to be in the right places at the right times for the best savings.
- Shop early for the best selection and deals.
- Shop at stores that offer a price match guarantee. For example, if Store A advertises a big sale on Brand X jeans and Store B doesn’t advertise but carries Brand X jeans and has a price match guarantee, inventory may be better at Store B. (Don’t forget to bring the ads to get the guarantee!)
- Take advantage of store loyalty programs. Follow your favorite stores on social media for insider deals.
- Some stores allow you to buy items ahead of Black Friday (or other sales) and then bring in your receipt for a price adjustment during the sale. Be sure you know each store’s policy ahead of time.
- Don’t need your gift by Christmas? Wait. After Christmas sales often offer even deeper discounts. Keep in mind that Hanukkah doesn’t start until December 24 this year and ends January 1, so we recommend shopping for Hanukkah gifts after December 25. (This won’t be the case next year, FYI.)
- Electronics are always among the biggest Black Friday deals out there.
- When shopping online, look for free shipping offers.
Thankfully, technology is your friend during Black Friday. From online ads to Black Friday apps, there are a number of ways to ensure you’re getting the best deal on the items you want.
Here’s a handy list of some of the legit deal and price comparison websites and apps (‘cause not all are created equal):
Obviously, if you have a favorite store like Kohl’s, Home Depot or Best Buy, be sure to check their websites and apps for deals, too.
One important note: The New York Times has recently reported a number of fake retail apps for iphones. Be choosy about which apps you download, and what information you provide.
Remember that the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday is Cyber Monday, where many of the best online deals can be found. Keep that date penciled in, too.
If you’re like most people, the end goal of Black Friday is threefold: To find as many gifts as possible in a short amount of time; to find gifts that the people on your list want; and to save the most money possible. While we can’t help you with the middle one—we don’t know what Aunt Dora’s favorite color or sweater size is—you can score big by planning ahead and being in the know. Happy shopping!