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It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Black Friday, right?! The whole idea of Black Friday is to save some money on awesome products, but what’s better than saving money?
If you guessed saving more money, then you were right!
Since it’s almost Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’ve already seen some of the amazing deals that are being offered. Now is the perfect time to snag that Christmas, wedding, baby shower or graduation gift for the special people in your life, so take advantage!
Here are 7 shopping hacks for making the most out of Black Friday this year!
1. Do your research beforehand
As obvious as this might seem, you’d be surprised at the number of people who just go out and buy things on a whim because of the seemingly good deals they see. Not only is this reckless for your bank account, but it’s possible that you could’ve found an even better deal by just investing a little time to properly research beforehand.
After checking the ads that come in the newspaper and your promotional emails, head online and see if there are other stores that would have the same or a better deal, since they may also offer better options like free shipping or price matching.
For example, Amazon offers free 2-day shipping for Prime members and if you aren’t currently a Prime member, it’s simple to sign up for the 30-day free trial. Just remember to cancel before your 30 days runs out, otherwise, you’ll be hit with a surprise deduction (been there, done that, lol!). Click here to grab your free trial!
2. Carpool with your family or friends
When I think of carpooling, I always think of a mom carpooling her kids and their friends to soccer practice, but in reality, it’s really efficient!
Think about it: instead of everyone going out to do their separate shopping (sometimes in the same stores), why not just have everyone pile in the car to save not only time but gas?
It’s better to get together and figure out what stores everyone wants to visit, develop a strategic route to get there and then have everyone pitch in on the gas to lessen the burden for the driver.
Bonus tip: Nothing says teamwork like divide & conquer! One way to minimize “out of stock” disappointment is to have your friends or family members grab items off the shelves for each other. That way you all can get what you want in half the time.
3. Create a budget!
As I mentioned earlier, instead of pre-planning, most people will venture out on Black Friday just because they know that there will be deals out there. However, this is the easiest way to lose track of your funds. “I went to _______ for one thing and came out with 20!” Don’t do that to yourself on a day of sales.
Create a list of things you need to buy or at the very least, have an idea of an item even if it’s not brand specific. That way you’re not out in the stores grabbing things you’ll never use (AKA wasting money).
My favorite apps for keeping up with my spending every month are Mint (iOS and Android) and Personal Capital (iOS, Android). It’s always easier to exhibit self-control when you can see where every dollar is going.
4. Hit the stores early
I don’t mean at 2 AM, either! My family is notorious for saying that the food will be ready by a certain time and it never is. Instead of lounging around the house waiting for grandma to finish the meal, why not swing by the main stores you plan to hit and get the lay of the land?
This way, you’re not aimlessly running around like a chicken without its head and you already have an idea of where the items you’re looking for are located. The items that are on the cover of newspaper ads or on the homepage of websites will typically be placed in the front of the store, so you can’t miss them.
Sometimes, you can purchase these items the day before Black Friday as well.
5. Cyber Monday is your friend
Instead of dragging yourself out of the house to deal with other crazy shoppers, why not shop from the comfort of home with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate? That’s what Cyber Monday brings to the table in addition to equal if not better deals than Black Friday and other in-store offers.
It’s a lot easier to do the research and compare prices across different sites for a product. There’s also less reason for impulse buys as you can’t see 50 things that are marked down for sale within arm’s reach.
Granted, some stores throw in freebies in-store that you would obviously miss out on while shopping online, but that’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.
A great way to shop and earn is to use Ebates, which gives you cash back for shopping at your favorite online stores. There are over 2,000 stores including Macy’s, Amazon, Best Buy, etc. so it’s super easy to shop & save. You can join Ebates here and receive a $10 welcome bonus. Happy shopping!
6. Travel deals are a thing too
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also two of the best times to rack up savings on travel costs. There are usually discounts on hotels and flights from almost all of the major chains. But make sure you read the fine print which discloses info like flying restrictions and hidden fees.
Sometimes the deals you see advertised on these days have already been around; they just have more restrictions because the companies know that you’re more likely to buy now. The Honey extension for Google Chrome is a great way to save on a day-to-day basis, but can definitely come in handy to capitalize on the savings.
Don’t get caught up by not having a plan for this either. If you’ve been planning a trip to Europe, look for the best deals for that trip. Don’t get distracted by that shiny 20% off a flight to Australia.
7. The final tip: don’t participate
I know, I know. It seems counteractive to say not to shop after all this great advice but at the end of the day, I’m here to save you money! Before you venture out to the stores or browse around the web, stop and think about your goals: are you trying to pay off debts? Save for a down payment? Fatten your savings?
If so, put that shopping money towards something that would benefit you more down the line. Shop using normal bargains and deals when they come around.
And that’s all she wrote, folks! Have a safe, happy holiday and be sure to save some money while you’re at it! Do you have any additional tips for saving (or surviving the rush) on Black Friday?