It’s the most highly anticipated shopping day of the year, but to really make the most of Black Friday, there’s a lot you need to know. From planning to execution, getting the best deals possible isn’t as easy as showing up on Friday morning and hoping a cheap television lands in your cart. We’re here to help kick off your holiday season the right way and make the most of your Black Friday shopping.
1. HAVE A PLAN.
Do you know what time you’re waking up on Black Friday? How about which stores you’re going to, and in which order? If you think you’re going to just waltz into your local mall on Black Friday and walk out with a king’s ransom of bargains, it’s probably time to get a better strategy. Right when the sales are announced, you can start planning what you’re buying, from where, and what time to line up. If you have your eyes on a big-ticket item, like a television or laptop, know that you’ll have plenty of competition from fellow shoppers, so pick a store with a layout you’re familiar with and set your alarm nice and early so you can shave precious moments off your shopping time.
2. RESIST THE IMPULSE PURCHASE.
When those doors open on Black Friday, you’ll be thrown into a world of retail temptation. But since you’ve got a plan, you’ll be able to resist any sudden urges and have a productive shopping day. Have all the items you want, and their prices, listed and budgeted, and be sure to stick to it. You don’t want to blow your budget on impulse buys before you’ve crossed everything off on your list. “Self-control” and “Black Friday” aren’t two things that necessarily go together, but you can really trim your holiday spending by just getting what you really need.
3. KNOW WHAT BLACK FRIDAY OFFERS (AND WHAT IT DOESN’T).
If you have to choose between shopping online and in-store for Black Friday, you should know that there are plenty of “doorbuster” sales that are only valid if you actually show up to the store. These are usually high-end products with huge markdowns, like top-of-the-line televisions, gaming systems, and cameras. The good news is, though, that the items that are on sale are usually announced well in advance, so you’ll know what to expect before the big day. Be sure to look at what stores are offering on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday to see which sales work for you.
4. GET ALERTS FROM YOUR FAVORITE STORE.
Compile a list of all your favorite store chains so you can follow them on social media and sign up for their Black Friday email alerts. These notifications will plug you in to the best deals immediately and help you plan whether you’ll be heading to the store or staying online for what you need.
5. DOWNLOAD AN APP.
There is a whole world of apps out there specifically targeted at the Black Friday aficionado. Some compile the best deals in your area and send the information directly to your phone in the lead-up to the big day. Others curate all the best coupons and keep track of all your store reward points. Every little bit helps on Black Friday, and these apps could soon become your biggest allies.
6. SHOP FOR BIG-TICKET ITEMS FIRST.
Black Friday offers some deep discounts on certain items, but for others, there are better sales out there at other times. With this knowledge, you can strategize on the smartest things to buy on Black Friday and what to skip. Need winter coats and boots? These will likely be cheaper after the holidays as the weather starts to change. Smaller products, such as toys, will also continue to be discounted well into December as the holidays get closer. Then there are items like laptops, which tend to be at their cheapest when a new school year approaches in September.
To make the most of Black Friday deals, you have to prioritize the biggest items on your shopping list, because these are usually the first to sell out. If you’re heading to a large shopping mall, go from big to small; chances are this will be the lowest price you’ll find on that TV, camera, or sound system you’ve had your eye on and you don’t want to miss it. Wait until later in the day to shop for smaller items since they go on sale far more frequently, and the money saved isn’t nearly as much as on a big-ticket item.
7. GO TO STORES THAT PARTICIPATE IN YOUR CREDIT CARD’S REWARD PROGRAM.
You may be eligible to earn extra cash back when you shop at stores that are partnered with your credit card for extra holiday savings. And some cards will actually match your cash back bonus. Discover’s Match program, for example, will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year as a cardholder.
If you’re willing to hunt for the right bargain, you should make sure you’re making the most of your credit card, too. With an automatic Match on all cash back you earn at the end of your first year as a cardmember, the Discover it Card can help boost your rewards earned from all of your shopping. Terms apply. Learn more at Discover.com.