Black Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year, often offering unbeatable deals and discounts. This year, Black Friday falls on November 24th.
|When||Nov 24, 2023, Friday|
|Why||The biggest shopping event of the year|
|Where||Online & in-store|
|Who||Thousands of stores and brands|
The name “Black Friday” has several origin stories. The most widely accepted explanation relates to accounting practices. Traditionally, losses were marked in red and profits in black. Retailers typically began seeing significant profits during the holiday season starting the day after Thanksgiving, and moving their accounts “into the black.” Thus, “Black Friday” symbolizes the shift to profitability for retailers.
With a myriad of promotions, flash sales, and special offers, even seasoned shoppers might feel overwhelmed. To shop smart and efficiently, it’s essential to be well-prepared. Here are 11 strategies to help you make the most of Black Friday.
- Create Your Wish List
- Set a Comfortable Budget
- Do Your Research on Prices
- Maximize Savings with Cashback and Rewards
- Maximize Savings with Discounted Gift Cards
- Stay Informed with Ads, Flyers & Social Media
- Understand Store Return Policies
- Prioritize Safety During In-Store Shopping
- Opt for Online Shopping with Caution
- Have a Backup Plan
- Don’t Expect Stores to Price Match
Create Your Wish List
Begin by listing the items you’re eyeing and identifying where you’re likely to snag them at attractive prices. Ensure these places are participating in Black Friday sales!
We’ve handpicked a selection of stores and brands recognized for delivering top deals in previous Black Fridays. Keep a close watch on them. As Black Friday nears, we’ll update this list, so be sure to check back for the newest information!
Merchants Amazon Walmart Target Kohl’s Lowe’s Macy’s Best Buy The Home Depot Sam’s Club Costco JCPenney Harbor Freight Bed Bath and Beyond JOANN
Set a Comfortable Budget
Thanks to inflation, our money doesn’t go as far, so a budget helps keep spending in check. It’s easy to get carried away with the allure of discounts. Setting a budget ensures you don’t overspend and regret it later.
Prioritize your list based on what’s essential and allocate funds accordingly. As you shop, track your spending to stay on course. Adjust your budget as needed when Black Friday nears, and always keep a bit of extra cash for surprise deals. Using cash or prepaid cards can avoid exceeding your limit, but you may lose those perks that come with credit cards.
Do Your Research on Prices
- Check Current Prices: Browse the official websites of retailers or manufacturers to check the current prices of the items on your list. Record these prices; they’ll serve as your comparison standard.
- Track Price History: Websites like CamelCamelCamel and Keepa offer a history of product prices. Reviewing this can show the lowest historical prices and help you gauge the value of a Black Friday deal.
- Set Price Alerts: Configure notifications for particular products. This ensures you’re alerted when they drop to your target price.
- Review Past Black Friday Deals: Search for articles or blogs summarizing Black Friday deals from previous years. This provides insight into potential discounts that specific retailers or brands may offer.
- Utilize Community-Based Deal Sites: Slickdeals.net, a community-driven deals site, allows you to search for products and view past deals. The number of upvotes on a deal can indicate its worthiness.
Maximize Savings with Cashback and Rewards
- Maximize Credit Card Rewards and Bonuses: Black Friday is golden time for boosting credit card rewards. If you plan to spend a substantial amount, consider getting a new card with a sign-up bonus. These bonuses typically require a certain spend soon after account opening. Ensure to check for cards offering extra points, cashback, or bonuses for your desired shopping destinations.
- Explore Cashback Websites: Platforms such as Rakuten, RebatesMe and TopCashBack allow shoppers to earn back a portion of their expenditures. By shopping through these sites, you can receive a percentage of your purchase amount returned to you.
When you consistently monitor your shopping activities, cashback and rewards accumulate rapidly. Many platforms, like Rakuten, offer extra rewards for referring friends. For instance, one of our team members at Decent Picks earned an impressive $15,870 just during the last Black Friday season!
Maximize Savings with Discounted Gift Cards
- Set a Clear Budget: Pre-purchasing gift cards can help you establish a distinct spending limit for Black Friday or any shopping event. Once the gift card amount is used up, that’s your shopping cap.
- Boost Your Black Friday Discounts: If you’re targeting a specific store and possess a discounted gift card for it, you’re essentially gaining an extra discount on top of the Black Friday promotions. Often, these gift cards can be combined with other deals or coupons, letting you amplify your savings.
- Thoughtful Gifting Option: If you’re unsure about a perfect holiday present, a discounted gift card becomes both a considerate gift and a money-saving choice.
Stay Informed with Ads, Flyers & Social Media
- Review Promotional Materials: As Black Friday approaches, retailers will distribute catalogs or flyers highlighting their forthcoming discounts. Using your prior research, you can assess the actual value of these advertised deals.
- Stay Active on Social Media: Make sure to follow beloved retailers or brands on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They often preview or unveil their Black Friday specials ahead of time on these channels.
- Subscribe to Newsletters: Register for email updates from retailers. They sometimes offer exclusive discounts or give subscribers a head start on sales.
Understand Store Return Policies
- Hold Onto Receipts: Given the surge in Black Friday sales, always keep your purchase receipts. Most stores mandate a receipt for any product return or swap. In its absence, you might face difficulties.
- Opt for Gift Receipts: If your purchase is intended as a gift, request a gift receipt. This enables the receiver to make returns or exchanges without knowing the item’s cost.
- Beware of “Final Sale” Items: Products with massive discounts may carry a “final sale” tag, indicating no returns or exchanges. Always inspect the item’s return conditions or consult a store assistant prior to buying.
- Look Out for Restocking Fees: Some retailers deduct a restocking fee, particularly for electronics or bulky items, from the refund amount when returning products.
- Benefit from Extended Returns: Some outlets extend their return periods during the festive season. Consequently, November purchases might be eligible for returns as late as January. Make sure to scrutinize the return policy details and retain all receipts and packaging until you’re certain about keeping your item.
Prioritize Safety During In-Store Shopping
- Stay Alert: If you’re venturing into physical stores, always remain conscious of your environment. Large crowds can be chaotic, and it’s easy to become swept away in the excitement. Safeguard your personal items and practice patience. Always value your safety over securing a deal.
- Avoid Conflicts Over Products: If you manage to pick up the last available item without dispute, that’s a bonus. However, if another shopper challenges you for it, it’s best to step back. Their determination may indicate a deeper need or value for the item, and it’s not worth potential altercations.
- Be Cautious in Parking Lots: Keep vigilant when returning to your car, and ensure your purchases are hidden from view. To deter possible theft, store your items in the trunk or another concealed spot.
Opt for Online Shopping with Caution
- Enjoy the Convenience: Online shopping provides an escape from bustling crowds while still granting access to fantastic deals. A lot of retailers present exclusive online promotions or even kick off their Black Friday deals in advance on their websites. To secure coveted items, be prepared for swift checkouts, as they can be snapped up rapidly.
- Stay Cyber Safe: Remember, the rise in online shopping during peak seasons also sees an uptick in cyber threats. Always shop on secure websites, ensure the URL begins with “https” instead of just “http”. Avoid engaging with dubious links. Set strong and distinct passwords for each online account.
Have a Backup Plan
Hot ticket items can sell out quickly. If there’s something specific you’re eyeing, have a backup option or alternative retailer in mind. This way, if your first choice is sold out or unavailable, you won’t leave empty-handed.
Don’t Expect Stores to Price Match
Many retailers suspend their price matching policies during Black Friday. Given the deep discounts, they’re unlikely to match prices from other stores. Always check a store’s price matching policy in advance, and assume that, for this particular day, what you see is what you get.
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