Most U.S. residents know what Black Friday means – it's the official beginning of high shopping season and the most perfect day to get your desired electronics, apparel, and appliances with a great deal. Before shopping online won, Black Friday always meant waiting in line for hours before dawn, traffic, and fights for door-buster deals. While this is still happening, there are many other channels to shop with less stress and still get what you need. Thanksgiving sales, extended Black Friday days, and Cyber Monday deals offer less concentrated shoppers and opportunities. Most retailers just immerse into combined shopping fiesta that erases the divide between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
So whatever and wherever you shop, read on to find out how to prepare for Black Friday and how to get the best deals.
1. What can you afford
Yes, you should know what you can afford and show some restraint. It's completely OK to be below average spender during Black Friday and beyond. You should set your budget, make a list of who will get what, and stick to it. The best strategy is to finish the day with under budget, not over.
2. Research beforehand
You should keep an eye on desired merchandise for weeks and even months before the Black Friday to make sure you will be getting good deals and not just pay reduced prices on something that was over inflated before.
3. Social media
In the media, large retailers offer great deals and shopping hacks for their customers. Follow the retailers on social media because some of them offer best deals, last-minute promotions, and announce sales on their social media pages. Start doing that about 2 weeks before Black Friday. Facebook ads tend to be targeted and can put you on the right path.
4. Retailers newsletters
This is similar to social media following. Create a separate inbox for retailer emails, sign up for each store you frequent, and receive offers all year round. Get really busy reading the newsletters a couple of weeks before the shopping holidays.
5. Bookmark retailer websites
This one is obvious, but so many people don't stay organized and miss lots of sales events.
6. Price matching
In the land of competing companies and dwindling numbers of traditional retailers, price matching is very important. All you have to do is prove that one company is charging more than another and you will get the lower price. Some retailers still refuse to match the price and some exclude Black Friday deals, so read the rules in advance.
7. Return policies
Make sure you know what the return policies of your favorite retailers are. Don't assume that everybody is like Amazon. Some companies require the package to be unopened and returned in 14 days; others accept opened ones for a full refund. Some companies offer store credit and others charge restocking fee.
Some companies are less strict about Black Friday returns, but you need to know that for sure. Some merchandise categories fall into a more universal return rules while others are more unique and harder to return, especially for cash back, so do your research.
8. Plan your itinerary
Plan your trip on that day and be efficient. You should do your shopping at large stores like Walmart, where you will definitely find great deals. Malls and department stores will be very busy, so allocate extra time.
9. Black Friday apps and coupon sites
Shopping without them would be like shopping in the dark. Try Shopular.com, Flipp.com, The Coupon App, and of course TheBlackFriday App for Black Friday tailored deals.
10. Know what you need
Just like with setting the budget, plan what you need to buy and don't deviate from it. Don't get sucked in opportunistic purchases.
Shopping on Black Friday
11. Rewards credit cards
Using them is smart all the time, but especially during Black Friday. Make sure you are using cards with the biggest cash back across the board or category-specific credit cards for large purchases. The best credit cards to use are the ones that don't have annual fees.
12. Discounted gift cards
This hack is gaining popularity fast, so don't be afraid to use it. You can find discounted cards online at sites like Raise and CardCash. You can save up to 35% - less for popular retailers and more for smaller stores. Some gift cards are physical and some are electronic, so make sure you know what you are getting.
13. Buy gift cards
If you are already shopping for discounted gift cards, get a few more for all the people that are hard to shop for and let them get what they want, for less.
14. Split shopping duties
You might have somebody in your family that you can split shopping responsibilities with and accomplish your buying goals faster. Imagine if you can come into Target and get cosmetics and apparel, while your husband heads to sporting goods and electronics – you could be done twice as fast.
15. Get an early start
This practice is becoming more and more controversial, but a lot of retailers open on Thanksgiving afternoon or evening and offer special deals for tireless shoppers. Shoppers with big family celebrations are usually absent, so you won't have much competition. All that is required from you is getting away from that turkey and leaving the house.
You should also dress comfortably, arrive early, stay safe, get gift receipts, bring ads, and enjoy the shopping experience.