These Black Friday shopping tips will make sure that you save money on Black Friday shopping and get the best deals.
1. Create a budget.
A 2012 Gallup poll found that the average American family spends $770 on Christmas related expenses – this includes food, décor, gifts, entertaining, etc. One of the best ways to save money on Black Friday is to have a predetermined dollar amount as part of your holiday budget. Create different categories for gifts, food, and so on and have a specific amount just for Black Friday. This ensures you know exactly what you’re allowed to spend.
2. Create a game plan.
You should at least have an idea of what you’re going to get when Black Friday shopping. Going in without a game plan will cause you to overspend on impulse purchases. Retailers often advertise doorbusters the week before. These are just to get you in the door so they can make money off you from the rest of their inventory.
Stay focused and get what you plan for in advance. Check the ads that are available prior to Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day. You can also use deal roundup sites like Bfrads.com or BlackFriday.com to plan your shopping trip.
Finally, remember that higher-demand items like TVs may be limited (this is another common tactic used by retailers), so place them higher on your list. It makes sense to prioritize these limited items and go after them first to maximize your chances of actually getting them.
Make sure that you are well-versed on the store policies of the retailers you intend to visit, especially their stance on price matching. Price matching is the holy grail of money (and time) saving secrets on Black Friday. Some retailers will match a competitor’s advertised price, while others won’t.
Again, check the retailer’s advertisements. Most stores will include their matching policy somewhere on the ad. Walmart, Target, Staples, and Best Buy are among retailers that usually match prices, but be sure to check your particular location.
Here are the price-matching policies of a few prominent retailers:
4. Do your homework.
Here’s one of the best Black Friday shopping tips I’ve ever gotten. Call and ask each store manager when the sales start, how early you can get in line, and where the products you want will likely be located. Make sure you ask this because Black Friday items are typically stocked in weird places. This is yet another ploy to get you exposed to more of the store’s inventory.
5. Skip the extended warranty.
Since retailers offer steep discounts on some items on Black Friday, they try to make their money by offering you extended warranties. These are almost never worth it. Plus, if you pay with a credit card, you likely get an additional year’s worth of coverage on top of the manufacturer’s warranty anyway.
6. Pay with a credit card to get rewards.
I don’t care what Dave Ramsey tells you – if you are a responsible adult, you can handle credit cards. If you followed the first step and set a budget, you should have money set aside anyway. Take that money and use it to pay off your credit card bill and collect rewards. If you spend $500 and get 5% cash back, that’s an extra $25 back in your pocket. It’s not life-changing, but it’s better to have it than not.
Of course, if you struggled to stay within budget last year or the year before that, you may want to make this a cash-only Black Friday. If you’re an irresponsible adult, no credit card for you. When you use cash, once your money is gone… it’s gone!
I know you think that there’s no way in the world your sister-in-law would possibly return that toaster oven you got her, but still get a gift receipt and include it with the gift. That way the person can easily return anything he/she doesn’t want.
I tell you to always include the gift receipt with your gift because if you don’t, you put the person in an uncomfortable situation if they feel forced to ask for it.
8. Check the return policy.
Don’t assume that store return policies will be the same for Black Friday items. Some Black Friday promotions may have a shortened return policy. Other than that, understand the quirks of each individual retailer. For example, electronics at Target carry a 15% restocking fee, while returns on furniture at Macy’s must be scheduled within three days. Amazon gives you thirty days, while Apple only gives you 14 days. Knowing the difference between the two can save you hundreds of dollars when it comes to electronics purchases.
9. Stay safe.
Unfortunately, Black Friday and violence go hand-in-hand. I guess when shoppers just HAVE to get their hands on the last video-game console, they are willing to throw hands. I’ve heard different stories of people being trampled, shot, and pepper-sprayed.
Aside from keeping away from the violent crowds, here are a few Black Friday safety tips to make sure you have a pleasant experience:
- Wait until asked by a cashier before taking out your credit card. An enterprising thief can shoulder surf and get your information.
- Deter pickpockets by carrying your wallet inside a coat or in your front trouser pockets. This is also a good tip for sporting events, concerts, or any other event involving a large crowd.
- Do not leave packages visible inside your car. Lock them in the trunk or take them directly home.
- Shop with a single credit card – it’s much easier to cancel one card than several, if your card or wallet gets stolen.
10. Don’t forget about Cyber Monday.
If you want to stay home, that’s cool too. You can do your shopping online on Cyber Monday. It’s growing more and more popular – nearly $3 billion was spent on Cyber Monday 2015, and even more will likely be spent this year.
Plus, if a retailer stocked up on a particular item for Black Friday and it didn’t sell as well as expected, it could have an even bigger discount on Cyber Monday.
Personally, I’m not one for long lines and large crowds, so I will be spending Black Friday at home. But I will have my money ready for Cyber Monday.
Do you have any more Black Friday shopping tips? Let us know in the comments below!