Black Friday is almost here! Of course, now it’s more like an entire shopping season than just one day. The deals and ads have already started this year, and they’re expected to run through Cyber Monday on December 2.
If you want to really get the best deals this year, you have to shop smarter than ever. These are the best secret Black Friday tips you’ll need to know so that you can make the most out of your shopping season and save as much money as possible!
Tips & Tricks to Get the Most Out of Black Friday
Shopping on Black Friday is a tradition for many. It’s always fun to head out early in the morning (or late the night before) on the hunt for the most possible savings.
Over the years, our team has figured out a few tips to really finding the best deals. There are also some other tricks we’ve learned to make the season even better and less stressful!
Some of these you might already know about, but many of them might be completely new to you. Whatever the case, these ideas will help you navigate shopping on Black Friday (and even the few days leading up to this big shopping day).
1. Shop Using Discounted Gift Cards
It is always fun to get a deal. It’s even better to get a great deal. A simple way to do this is to shop with discounted gift cards. Before you head out to shop, visit a site like Raise.com to find discounted gift cards.
You can also find gift cards for hundreds of retailers. Places like Sam’s Club often offer up to 25% savings on gift cards, which means you’ll have saved money before you even make it to the store!
2. Sign Up for Emails
Decide which stores you will shop at this year. Visit each website and sign up for email newsletters. It is important that you do this at least two weeks before Black Friday. It can take time before the emails start to generate, so you want to allow ample time to get added to the list.
You can also sign up for Clark’s free newsletters to be the first to know about Black Friday deals.
3. Prioritize Your Shopping List
When making your list of items you need to buy, list them first by store and then by order of importance. This will put the “must find” items at the top so you can first focus on finding them as you visit each store. When you get there, walk to that department first to find the item you want.
4. Have a Backup Plan
With the number of people shopping, there will be instances where you will not find the item you want. That means you need to have a backup plan in place. Add a second item to your list, just in case you can’t find the one thing you really want.
5. Shop With a Friend
Not only is it more fun to shop with someone you love, it can be helpful too! If there are a few must-have items on your list, you can work together to find them. Your friend can visit the electronics section for the video game you want while you are in the toy aisle finding another item on your list.
6. Leave the Kids at Home
If you’re shopping in-store, this is a big tip. Although your kids may want to come with you, you’ll thank yourself that they’re being taken care of at home while you’re spending hours in line throughout the day. Plus, they don’t need to see what you’re buying for Christmas! Leave them with your spouse or a friend and just enjoy your shopping day.
7. Price Check in the Store
When you shop in-store, have your list in one hand and your phone in the other. As you find the items you want, always do a quick scan to check and see if it is less expensive elsewhere. Amazon’s app has a feature that allows you to scan the barcode of the products right in the store.
Remember, not every item you want will be on sale, so you need to take a moment to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.
8. Plan Your Shopping Trip
Once you have your list ready, decide which stores you will need to visit first. I recommend you start with the one that has your must-have item. You can then figure out which ones to stop by after that. It might be based upon your list or a route.
9. Don’t Even Try to Price Match
10. Shop on Wednesday
Sometimes, the Black Friday prices are not always the lowest price. Visit the store on Wednesday to find out. You might find that the price listed is the same as, if not lower than, what you will find a couple of days later. Go ahead and grab that item while you can.
This is also true with finding the hot holiday toys. If you find one in the store before the shopping frenzy hits, grab it to ensure you have one for Christmas.
Prior to Black Friday is also the time to figure out the other items you want and where they live in the store. This way, when you get there on Friday, you know where to head to get find the gifts on your list.
11. Score Early Deals
Many retailers now start to put items on sale online before Black Friday. This can mean amazing deals that won’t be available later in the week. Follow sites that share these deals in an easy-to-follow format, like ClarkDeals.com. This way, you will not miss out on any of them being offered.
12. Shop for Other Holidays/Events
Make a list of the events coming up during the following year. For instance, if you know someone is getting married next year, look for the appliances or household items they might want. You could even pick up smaller toys to set back in your gift closet for kids’ parties for the following year.
13. Don’t Wear Red to Target
This may sound like a joke, but you’ll save yourself time on Black Friday if you’re shopping in-store at Target. My mom learned this one the hard way! One year, she wore a long-sleeved red tee and was asked for help on numerous occasions.
14. Shop Online Instead
If Black Friday stores are not your thing, you are in luck! Many of the in-store deals will be available online. The only items you will not find are the doorbusters.
15. Avoid Walmart (If You Can)
While they typically have some of the best deals, keep in mind that you and 5,000 of your closest friends are probably after the same one. That means you’ll find some of the biggest crowds at Walmart.
This is also historically where the fights and trampling seem to take place most frequently. There is no deal worth having where you risk injury of any sort. Instead, consider shopping online!
16. Get Out Early
This may mean less sleep, but the sooner you can get to the store, the more likely you will find the items you want. Plan on waking up early (or staying up really late) to get the items on your list.
17. Shop Late
Retailers will want to keep the shoppers in the store all day long. They’ll sometimes offer late shopper deals in addition to the early bird offers. Watch the ad to find out which items will be discounted later in the day. You might be able to sleep in, avoid the crowds and still score an amazing deal.
18. Follow Your Budget (and Use Cash)
Before you even make a list, you need to know your budget. Once that is set, get cash. Leave the credit cards at home. You’ll think more about every purchase and reduce impulse shopping if you have cash. There is no way you can overspend as you don’t have the money to do it.
19. Don’t Rely on Doorbusters
Retailers want to get you into their store to shop. The way they often do this is with the doorbusters. Make sure you read the ad carefully. Many times these are limited to 25-100 items at each store. That means if you are not in line super early, you will not get the deal.
If you really want a doorbuster, watch for those which have a shopping guarantee, like shoppers in the store at a certain time will be guaranteed to get that item.
20. Remember Not Everything Is Really a Deal
Not everything on Black Friday is a deal. Often times, retailers do not have to offer their lowest prices until closer to December 25. That may mean the item on sale 30% off might drop to 40% off or more the closer you get to Christmas.
Always check the original sticker price on the product or the shelf. Compare that to the discount to see if it is really a great deal. You can also check the price history of a product using a tool like Camelcamelcamel.
Not all items will be deeply discounted, so don’t fall for the hype of the shopping season.
21. Know the Return Policy (and Get Gift Receipts)
This one can really get you. Some stores have a liberal return policy for items purchased on Black Friday and during the holidays. However, it might also be valid for a limited time. Be aware of final-sale items and other non-returnable purchases.
In addition to this, get gift receipts for the items you buy. It will make it a LOT easier on your recipient, should a return or exchange be needed (and the store will love this too).
22. Use Shopping Bags Instead of a Cart
You’re less likely to fill the cart with unnecessary purchases if you aren’t pushing one around! Besides, maneuvering a cart through crowds of people is difficult and can slow you down. Instead, grab a couple of reusable shopping bags and take them with you or stick to what you can fit in your arms.
23. Talk to People in Line
This is actually a fun one! Every time you are in line, chat with people around you. This is a great way to find out where other people are finding great deals nearby. If you see something they have in their hand or cart and you want one, ask where they found it and how much they paid. Plus, if you have to dart out and get something, the majority of people will allow you to get back in line where you were before.
More Articles on the Best Ways to Save During Black Friday:
- Black Friday Deals 2019: When to Find the Best Deals This Year
- Online Shopping Guide: How to Get the Best Price Possible
What are your best Black Friday shopping tips? Let us know in the comments below!