Shop Like a Pro: Tips For Your Most Successful Black Friday Ever

Some people like to relax after their big meal on Thursday and watch the game. Others know that the real game is yet to be played. They scour the ads, plan their stops, and come up with a game plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you’re one of the later, here’s a few tips to help get you ready.

Black Friday

Follow a budget:

I know this isn’t fun but with all of the deals available and the general frantic atmosphere, it is super easy to over spend and wake up Saturday morning only to realize you didn’t actually get the down comforter that was on your list.

How much are you planning on spending for each item on your list? Add in some extra to spend in case there is a deal on hotel bedding that's too good to pass up. Another helpful hint is to bring cash with you. Not only does it help you budget but stores can get overloaded with credit card use and burn out their machines. You can even separate your cash into specific envelopes for each item you plan to purchase.

Be Organized and do your research:

Make a list of the items you are shopping for. Mark down the stores you are going to go to in order to find them and research the ads ahead of time. This site has a list of major retailers and links to their ads. By doing this ahead of time, you avoid mindlessly wandering through crowds at the mall. Go with a mission in mind and stick to a game plan for the best results.

Don’t take the bargain at face value:

A lot of the items that are deeply discounted are old models. While you can occasionally find great deals on new items, it's rare. A study from NerdWallet showed that 93% of stores repeat Black Friday deals year to year. They also show that some retailers make derivative products- models with fewer features, old technology, or poor selling items- the big Black Friday deal items. You also need to keep an eye out for misleading small print and for retailers who mark an item up just to show significant “discounts” on Black Friday. Do your homework when possible to make sure that you’re getting the best deal on the best product. Sometimes, a quick in-store Google search is all you need. 

Caffeinate and Hydrate:

Coffee in one hand, water in the other.

Pace yourself:

Deals are going on all day and though there is an ever increasing push to go earlier and earlier, there isn’t too much of a rush unless you want the doorbuster deals that some retailers advertise. Even then, many stores do different rounds of doorbuster sales throughout the day. Once again, with a little research, you can sleep in Friday morning and face the crowds with a well-rested and level head.

Download Apps:

RetailMeNot is always a great one to have on hand and having specific store apps can be helpful as well. SantasBag helps you budget your holiday list. ShopSavvy, Shopular, and Flipp are all similar to RetailMeNot so compare and pick the one that does the most for your specific needs. 

DON’T FORGET SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY!

Cyber Monday-

Gift Cards:

If you have a gas or grocery chain around you that offers rewards, use your budget and purchase gift cards from the stores. You’ll get the rewards for buying the gift cards and then use them to do your cyber Monday shopping. Security is an added bonus here, since shopping online can sometimes be risky when using your personal account.

Return policies:

Since you won’t be able to see the product before purchasing, make sure that you know what the return policies are before you buy. 

Shop smart:

Use a price comparison tool like Shopify to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Before you start your pillow shopping, delete the cookies from your computer. Cookies can be used to set different prices for different shoppers based on their purchase history across websites. They will predict what the highest price they can charge you is and still get a sale. So delete the cookies and occasionally use incognito shopping.