Do you avoid Black Friday like the Black Death? Do you tend to get through holiday shopping by avoiding crowds, paying full price, and feeling robbed? If you’re wondering how to make Black Friday work for you, look no further! Here are ten easy-to-follow tips for making good choices and scoring the best deals on Black Friday, which is November 24th, 2017.
1. Create a Budget
It sounds simple, but it’s incredibly important. Know what you want to spend and stick to your limit. There’s nothing sadder than overspending on a big-ticket item or a single shopping trip, then wondering how you’ll pay for the other gifts on your list. So make a list, check it twice, and put a dollar limit next to each item. Remember, sales are designed to convince you to buy impetuously. Arming yourself with a budget is your best defense.
2. Start Early and Do Your Homework
To get the best Black Friday deals, you’ll need to start looking at the ads. Check out the release dates for online Black Friday ads here. Kohls, Amazon, Lowe’s, Toys “R” Us, Barnes & Noble, Costco, and a host of others offer early access to their Black Friday deals. Some stores let you take a peek at what will be on offer on Black Friday itself, while others will offer Black Friday deals right through until Cyber Monday or longer.
3. Be Social and Be Loyal
Not interested in checking retailer websites in between stuffing the turkey and greeting guests? One way to get Black Friday deals is to follow your favorite stores on social media or sign up for their email lists. You’ll get sales notifications sent right to your phone. Save important notifications sent through Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest along with those emails that detail the bargains you’re hunting.
4. Focus on Electronics
One thing our researchers consistently find is that many Black Friday buys are in electronics, so if you’re in the market for a new TV or computer you’ll want to comparison shop ahead of time. Look at the Microsoft, A4C, Canon, Samsung, or even Amazon coupons on offer and decide if you might not just get a better deal now. When you look at any Black Friday deal on electronics, consider not just the great savings — you can sometimes save $100 or more — but also whether it’s the best fit for your needs.
Pro Tip: avoid pricey accessories and do your research on that TV set that seems like a bargain. Sometimes Black Friday sales emphasize a TV’s size or a computer’s price. You can save yourself a lot of headaches by checking those Black Friday deals for the details on each item’s capabilities. Use a reputable site to check on an item’s performance and ratings before buying. Also, since the store with that great Black Friday TV deal usually offers accessories at full price only, buying the cables or other things you need for your new electronics purchase from another source is often a good way to pay less. Accessory Geeks, for example, has great deals on tech accessories.
5. Wait on Clothing
Unless it’s 40% off — or more — Black Friday isn’t traditionally the best time to buy clothing and accessories. That said, some brands that are rarely on sale DO go on sale on Black Friday. In these cases, it’s ok to go for sales that offer 30-35% off, since this is the largest discount these companies will offer. If you see 30-35% off an item you’ve been waiting to purchase from Prada, Marmot, Oakley, Ferragamo, Johnston & Murphy, Ray-Ban, or Patagonia — buy it! Another option for finding great deals on expensive clothing is to check out a couponing site. At a website like CouponSurf, you can find coupons for fantastic Ann Taylor, bebe, Lord & Taylor, Ray-Ban, Brooks Brothers, and Bloomingdale’s deals, among others.
6. Get the App
Use apps specific to Black Friday, like TGI Black Friday 2017, Black Friday 2017 Ads, Black Friday Sale, or Retale to find great Black Friday deals and compare prices as you shop. Since many retailers have price match guarantees, this can save you some real cash on Friday, November 24th, 2017. While you’re at it, think about downloading an app to help you organize your holiday gift giving, like Gift It, GiftsApp, The Christmas Gift List, Best Shopping List, or Giftagram.
Some apps even allow you to scan items to compare prices. RedLaser, ShopSavvy, Barcode Scanner, and Shopper are among the best. Amazon and eBay have similar apps, but tend to only compare items for sale on their sites.
7. Shop From Home
By some accounts, 70% of Black Friday deals are also available on each retailer’s website. That means you can get most Black Friday deals without pitching a tent in the mall parking lot or getting up at 4am. Just go to your favorite retailer’s website, follow them on social media, or sign up for their email list and wait for the deals to come to you! Or, you can avoid Black Friday shopping altogether by shopping at stores like Target, Big Lots, Sears, Walmart, and TJ Maxx that have pretty low prices and great deals every day. ShoppersChoice ads can help you compare deals among these retailers too. We recommend following our links to get great coupons for the best savings at those stores, both online and brick and mortar.
8. Check Store Policies in Advance
Before you make any Black Friday purchase, be sure to read the fine print. Warranties, returns, and price-matching policies are important to know about. Many retailers limit returns on Black Friday purchases. Some, like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, have an adjusted or extended window for returns. These retailers almost all start their 30- or 90-day return window on December 26th for items purchased between November 1st and December 24th. Each retailer has specific requirements for returns as well. Usually, the item must be in the same condition as at the time of sale or unopened. It’s important to check with each retailer to be sure its policies should you have any Black Friday regrets.
9. Lace Up Your Running Shoes and Charge Your Phone
The intrepid Black Friday shopper knows to dress comfortably — sneakers are recommended — and bring a fully charged phone. Better yet: bring a portable cell phone power bank to charge your phone as you need it. You’ll need to use your phone to view retailer sites, compare prices, and even scan items to get the best deals. A shopping buddy, snacks and a water bottle won’t hurt either. Getting good sales can require endurance, so be ready!
10. Shop Early
Get to stores early in the day to get the best selection. Many stores open early, at 5:00, 6:00, or 7:00am on Black Friday. So check in with the stores on your shopping route and plan accordingly. Some retailers, like JC Penney, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, and Macy’s, open late Thanksgiving afternoon and remain open straight through Black Friday or even around the clock for the entire weekend. Finding out the Black Friday stores hours for your favorite retailers is yet another reason to get on their email lists or subscribe to their social media feeds. Remember, the better you prepare for Black Friday, the better luck you’ll have finding great holiday deals.
And lastly, enjoy the day. Plan your Black Friday shopping trip with family members or good friends. Pick up a few cups of strong coffee and stop for lunch at a local restaurant. And don’t forget to maximize your savings by getting all of the coupons available at couponsurf for your favorite stores before you head out.