It’s the biggest shopping day in the US calendar. There are always great deals to be had, but for most people, it’s a total minefield. Knowing how to tackle the craziness will put you on the right path to snagging a bargain.
We’ve all seen the videos of people fighting in stores over the latest gadget (ironic for the day after Thanksgiving right?). That shouldn’t dissuade you though, because if you need to buy gifts for the holiday season, Black Friday is one of your best bets.
Preparing yourself now for what’s to come is the best way to tackle what is always, a crazy weekend. Here’s our handy guide, along with the help of frugal bloggers, that will help you make the most of Black Friday 2019.
The Lowdown Before Black Friday Hits
The earlier you start to get ready, the more you are likely to save. It’s good to do your research beforehand, so you are ready with the tools to get the most out of your Black Friday weekend. Here’s everything you need to know to get your Black Friday off on the right foot.
Stick to a plan
It’s so easy to get carried away on Black Friday with all the hype around deals and discounts. You will see circulars, billboards and TV ads everywhere from retailers. But just because they are advertising their ‘biggest discount of the year’ doesn’t make it a good deal.
If you go ahead and buy things for the sake of it being on sale, you aren’t saving money at all, it’s just unnecessary spending. That’s why it’s super important to stick to a plan and to not get carried away.
So before Black Friday comes around, write yourself a list of things that you need to buy, either for Christmas or yourself, and use Black Friday as the time to find deals on it. You can also write a list of ‘nice to haves’, where you can check the prices and if it’s not going for super cheap, you can give it a miss.
Once you’ve written out a list, you will be far more likely to stick to it, and in turn you’ll save money. Try to restrict your family by going too wild also, by creating a family list if it makes things easier.
Money Blogger Melissa from Perfection Hangover says it’s one of the best things you can do:
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for Black Friday is to start by having a written Christmas budget and list. Don't go shopping without a clear action plan for how much you're going to spend on each person.
Do Your Research
It’s super important to start your research on the items you want to buy right now. If there is something you want, you need to get a feel for the pricing well in advance of the date, to know what will actually be a good deal.
Retailers are well known for fluctuating the pricing of its best selling products before Black Friday. A lot of the time, prices could increase by up to 50% before the big day, in order for stores to do a massive ‘price drop’ back down on Black Friday. This is to fool customers into thinking it’s a good deal, when it’s actually not.
Get a feel of the current pricing now and every two weeks going forward on things at the top of your list. The last thing you want to do, is buy something during the Black Friday hysteria when it is was the same price weeks ago.
One way to get a good feel for if you’re getting a good price, is to use price comparison websites. One of the most well known is Google Shopping, which will show you the cheapest place to buy when searching for an item. There are also websites that allow you to add extra features such as price alerts. Faith from Much More With Less agreed:
Use price comparison sites like Shopzilla to check if any Black Friday discounts are actually a good deal.
If you decide that you absolutely have to have something now, and it goes on sale later down the line, it’s a horrible feeling. The truth however, is that most people will never know if the price drops again, as they never look.
But you may actually be able to claim the money back if this happens - and all it takes is an app download. Riley from Young and the Invested explains:
For the least effort to maximize savings on your holiday shopping, apps like Paribus and Earny scan your inbox for receipts and match them against current retailer prices to take advantage of any price drops which occurred after your purchase. Services like these work on your behalf without effort beyond linking your email account to the service.
How to find deals
It won’t be hard to find what your favourite stores are doing for their Black Friday sale - as it’s one of their biggest sales periods of the year. As it’s still quite early, you may need to wait until November till you start seeing them.
If you want to know what specific stores will be offering, sign up to its newsletter or follow its social media. Those will be the first places they’ll let customers know about what’s coming up. Some stores also have specific Black Friday pages on its websites - so be sure to check there too.
You’ll also start to see flyers and circulars in store or special promotions at certain malls if you are shopping. It doesn’t hurt to ask employees whether they know what is coming up too - as they are the ones with the inside knowledge.
It’s not just employees who have the inside scoop too though. You might get insider knowledge from places you least expect. Nikayla from The Budgeting Couple also knows an interesting way of finding deals on fashion items:
If you’re looking to score new fashion pieces during Black Friday, follow fashion/lifestyle bloggers on Instagram! Lifestyle bloggers go ALL OUT on Black Friday with blog posts, IG posts, and IG stories covering where to get what for the cheapest! Simply find Instagram Lifestyle Bloggers with your similar style, start following them, and watch out for their IG Stories and blog posts on Black Friday.
While Black Friday is in full swing, there will be a lot of hype from people online too, which you’ll be able to tap into. There are plenty of forums devoted to finding deals and sharing them with others.
It’s annoying when your favorite store has a higher price than another. Perhaps you want to shop there for the loyalty card, or just because it’s closer to home. Some stores however will price match its competitors on Black Friday, so you can still get the cheapest price.
Only a few stores such as JCPenney, Lowe’s and Home Depot have confirmed that they will be price matching on Black Friday itself, while others like Walmart suspend its price matching offer during the holiday period.
Here is what we know so far from the stores taking part in price matching:
Home Depot - Match the competitors price and beat it by 10%. Doesn’t apply to online items.
JCPenney - Match the competitors price and beat it by 5%. Must have already purchased the item, and then show the ad for an identical item costing less within 14 days of purchase.
Lowe’s - Match the competitions price. Simply show an ad of the product cheaper elsewhere and they will match it. Also works for items purchased up to 30 days previously.
If you’re hot on price matching, you may even be able to do it through your plastic too, as Bethany from His and Her FI explains:
Check to see if your credit card offers a price match guarantee. You can pre-game Black Friday and purchase the exact item before the sale. Keep the receipt and take a photo of the Black Friday ad and sale price. Send it in, sit back and enjoy not battling crowds for a good deal.
How To Navigate The Day of Black Friday
Once Black Friday week is here, it usually just writes itself. But of course, If you are buying things, there are ways which you can maximise your savings even more. Shopping online is your best option for return rights, but it’s also best for getting extra discounts.
Use Coupon Codes
If you’re purchasing your Black Friday shopping online, you can likely find an extra code or sale to get even more money off. Some Black Friday deals from stores are just an online code.
One of the best places to look during the period is our website, where we find all the online codes, so you won’t have to. Before you go to buy anything from your favourite store, just come back to check that there isn’t an extra code.
Or to make things easier, you can download our Cently plugin for Chrome, which will find and input codes for you at the checkout when buying products online, to instantly save you a ton of money.
Money blogger Tom from This Online World agrees that browser extensions are the way to go:
Installing money saving browser extensions is always my recommendation! There are plenty of extensions out there that can automatically find coupons, look for the best deals online, and price compare. Plus, some of them even chart historical prices of items so you can make sure you're getting a real deal and not a fake Black Friday sale.
If you can’t find an online code for something online, you can usually find cashback for it. There are lots of websites which will give you money back for your spending.
They way it works is quite simple. To get cashback on your item, simply click through the cashback website through to the retailer and buy your item. It will track your spending once you’ve clicked through its special link, and once it’s approved, you’ll get a percentage of your spend back as ‘cashback’.
Picking which website to go with is a minefield. Luckily, money blogger Scott from SimpliFinances has the best way to pick:
A great resource to save money and get cashback on shopping for Black Friday is called Cashback Monitor. For example, if there's a particular item you want to buy you can search for the store and it will tell you where and how to get the highest cashback on that item.
Don’t shop at all
There is a really good way to save money on Black Friday, and that’s not to shop at all. When asking a group of bloggers what their best tips where, this actually came out as the top tip, and it’s easy to see why.
Although there might be good deals around on Black Friday, doesn’t mean you have to be sucked in and spend any money. So before you buy anything, just double check with yourself that you actually need it. If the answer is ‘no’, then don’t be tempted to spend, and put that money to much better use.
Don’t be scared to say ‘no’ to items which are on your list too. Based on your research into pricing and setting your budget, if it doesn’t reach the price you want, it’s okay to walk away. January sales aren’t that far away for your next chance.
So whether you have things on your list to buy on Black Friday, or you just want to do a bit of window shopping, there is no excuse… you don’t need to splurge now you know our tips.
It’s worth mentioning, that big name stores like Walmart and Target will be launching its deals in store from Thanksgiving, though it’s up for debate whether getting a good deal should outweigh time with your family.