Black Friday is right around the corner but this year is going to be very different from the norm. The pandemic has forced many of us to shift our shopping online. And it’s expected that many stores will offer deals and discounts on their websites this year.
So what does that mean? It’s likely that you’re going to overspend or make unnecessary purchases. And guess what? Your favorite store is counting on that.
Over the years we’ve seen in-store Black Friday sales start as early as 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day. This year, you’re going to notice a lot of these deals starting popping up much earlier this year.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the name given to the Friday after Thanksgiving. Many stores offer some of their steepest discounts of the year on this day. Over the years it has become a popular and traditional event for Americans.
It is also the busiest shopping day of the entire year. Some even consider it as the “official” start of the Christmas shopping season.
As you can imagine, huge deals are usually hard to resist. That means it’s also the time of the year most people overspend or find themselves in large amounts of debt.
In this blog post, I’ve laid out a 10 step plan for you to shop and also find the best deals for you.
Here are 10 easy ways to save money on Black Friday
1. Make a budget.
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. Whenever we speak of the “ b-word”, it’s always somewhat a huge deal. Everyone thinks that being on a budget means we can’t buy what we want or we should be frugal. It’s the complete opposite.
A budget actually gives you the freedom to spend without worries. While waiting in the line to checkout, how many times have started to add up how much you’ve already spent? And how many times did you wonder if you can afford the other items in your cart? Well, your budget will lay out exactly how much you plan on spending so you don’t overspend.
2. Make a list.
You should already have an idea of what you plan on buying. If you’re walking into stores to see what deals are being offered, you’re doing Black Friday all wrong. I’ll tell you why later in the post.
After making your list, rank the items that are most important to you. Let’s say you got your first apartment, you may want to focus on kitchenware, a coffee maker, bedsheets, or towels. The purpose of your list is to keep you focused on what’s more important.
3. Do your research – compare prices & deals.
Many stores put out their Black Friday ads and deals a week or two in advance. This is an opportunity for you to do your research. Check to see which stores are offering the best deal on what you’re planning on buying. This will also give you an idea of how much money you’ll be spending (remember that budget?).
4. Make a well thought out plan.
Now that you know what you’re buying and where you’re going to get it, plan on which stores you’ll be going to first. If you’re going in a group, divide and conquer so you can get to all the deals earlier. You’ll also save a little bit on gas.
5. Check ads, coupons & early bird deals.
Usually, markdowns on products do not need coupons. But some stores give their loyal shoppers extra discounts. If you’re apart of a rewards program, check for extra discounts and use points for an extra markdown.
6. Use gift cards.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found gift cards in my wallet that could have saved me money on a sale. You may have gift cards lying around that you got as a birthday present months ago. That’s free money you can put towards your purchase!
7. Say no to the credit cards.
Hate to say it, but Black Friday is not the time to be using credit cards if you won’t be able to pay off the balance right away. The holidays are the credit card companies’ favorite time of the year. They’re counting on you to run up your credit.
When you spend money you don’t have you find yourself paying off that purchase months later. You don’t want to be still paying 6 months or even a year later PLUS interest. Trust me, I know. If you don’t have the cash on the spot then you can’t afford it.
8. Stay away from “buy now pay later” options.
“Buy now pay later” has become popular allowing customers to make purchases and pay for it over a period of time. I know what you’re thinking, it’s convenient or you don’t have to spend all your cash right away. Wrong. It’s a trap.
These plans sometimes allow you to finance things that may even be considered cheap. I’ve even seen financing options on a $15. This option is very attractive becuase it is a zero percent financing and does not need a credit check. But if you make many purchases in a month, you’re on the hook for more than what you can handle.
Instead of paying upfront as you should, now there are many payments taken from your bank account. Sometimes at the worst possible time. Missing a payment will result in fees. That means it ends up costing you more than what the product actually costs.
9. Check return policies.
Always be sure to check the return policies before making a purchase. Most stores extend their return period and some shorten the time in which you can make returns. Based on the type of item you buy, the return window may also be shorter. Another thing you should check for is restocking fees.
You should also check to see if they offer price matching. If something in another store is cheaper, you may be able to get it price matched and get the difference back.
10. Don’t go shopping alone.
You’re on a mission to save money. If you know you won’t be able to resist deals or buying things you didn’t plan on, take a friend with you. It helps to have an accountability partner to remind you to stick to your list. They may even know where you can get a better deal.
If You’re Shopping Online
This year’s Black Friday will very different from any other we’ve seen. Some stores may restrict their hours. Some may not even be open that day (those workers deserve that time with their families anyway). With that being said, many of us will be doing our Black Friday shopping online this year. In some ways, this is good because you could take the time to compare all the deals going on at the time. It’s also an opportunity for you to overspend. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
There are many cashback apps that you can use to find discounts, get cashback, or find the hottest deals. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. Some even offer a signup bonus to use toward our first purchase!
Rakuten (ebates) – Find your favorite stores, activate the cashback deal, and start shopping. You’ll get paid by either PayPal or by check. Rakuten is also available as a browser extension if you prefer to shop on your computer. Sign up and get $40 on your first purchase here.
Ibotta – This is one of my favorite apps because you can use it both in-stores or online. Search your favorite stores for deals, add it to your list in the app, start shopping, and get paid. For in-store deals, take a picture of your receipt and your account will be credited in 24 hours. It’s that simple! You can also link your store loyalty accounts. You can also set up nearby store alerts to get notified if a store nearby has deals you can earn cash back on. Sign up here and start earning!
Honey – this browser extension has saved me so much money it’s ridiculous. When I forget to check for coupons, honey does it for me! Activate the honey browser extension. When you get to any checkout page it will start crawling the website to find any active coupons and apply them for you. Cool, right? It is also available as an app, but I find the browser extension works best. Sign up here to start saving!
Some More advice…..
You don’t need to get all your Christmas shopping done on Black Friday. There’s Cyber Monday and stores will keep discounting products till Christmas.
Don’t fall for the marketing tactics! It may sound like the best deal ever but how many times a year does that item go on sale? And do you need it?
So there you have it. If you’re on the journey to financial independence like I am I hope this blog post helps you save some money this year. Don’t forget to take advantage of the cashback apps and the sign-up bonuses!
Are there other things you like to do to save during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!