Start Shopping Early Online
To score a Black Friday deal in the past, you would have to be at the store ridiculously early, get in line, and wait for the doors to open. Luckily, things have changed. Now, Black Friday is less like a one-day sale, and more like a month-long event. Check the websites of your favorite stores a few weeks before Black Friday. Chances are, many will be offering in-store and online discounts days, and sometimes even weeks before Black Friday hits. Heck, why not shop for Black Friday deals online while you digest between meals!
Check Black Friday Deal Consolidators
As you start to track pricing in the days and weeks leading up to Black Friday, of course you’ll want to check as many store ads as possible to compare pricing. Make it easy with websites such as Bestblackfriday.com and Blackfriday.com, which aggregate scans of the latest ads for dozens of stores. They also offer email alerts, so you can be notified as soon as a new discount is added.
Use Store Apps
Although it may seem like to hassle to download every store’s app, it will likely help you save time and money on Black Friday. Walmart, for instance, often gives app users a sneak peek at deals. Download the Kohl’s app, and you’ll receive 50 reward points, plus the ability to scan items in-store to confirm the sale price. And Target allows guests to order Black Friday deals on the Target app, then just drive up and have their items brought to their car.
Learn When to Ignore the Hype
It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of Black Friday, and rush to buy, buy, buy! But the truth is, not every Black Friday deal really is the lowest price. Retailers like Amazon and Target now offer big savings throughout the year (remember Prime Day?), which means Black Friday doesn’t necessarily provide as dramatic of a slash in pricing as it did in years past. Get educated on the average prices for the things on your shopping list so you can identify a deal when you see one. And don’t be afraid to wait! Some items will have bigger discounts on Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday.
Load up on Electronics, Skip the Clothes
The best categorical deals on Black Friday? Electronics. Items such as TVs, laptops, tablets and video game consoles will all be on sale, and you can often score them for up to 45 percent off, according to Bestblackfriday.com. If you need some ideas, check out these quirky gifts for the gadget lover on your list. Clothing on the other hand, you may want to skip. Winter clothing is in high demand before Christmas, so stores don’t have much incentive to slash prices. You’ll save more if you can wait until February or early March—if you can wait, that is. If you can’t, just check in advance to see if the deals are really worth your Black Friday buying time.
Make the Most of Social Media
Be sure you’re following your favorite retailers on the social channels you spend time on. Many reward Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers with additional discounts. You’ll also be the first to know about last-minute flash sales, as well as special followers-only offers and discount codes. Once you know the sales you’re after, it’s time to think of gift ideas that are perfect for DIYers.
Doorbuster, that is. They’re available in limited quantities, so you’ll want to be among the first shoppers inside the store to snag one. You know what that means—waiting in a long, pre-dawn line, possibly for hours. Since you can’t be everywhere at once, your best bet is to focus on scoring just one that you’ve taken the time to verify is a truly good deal. Better to focus on that singular victory than to rush around from store to store with little success.
Shop with a Friend
Use the buddy system! If you decide to brave the crowds and shop ’til you drop; bring a friend along. You can split up in the store to grab everything you need in half the time. For long waits at the register, have one friend get in line while the other friend finishes up the shopping list. Plus, shopping with a pal is always more fun.
Sign Up For Loyalty Programs and Newsletters
Much like following stores on social media, signing up for newsletters can get you the inside scoop on Black Friday deals. In addition to getting the first word on discounts and coupons, you may also get an extra five or 10 percent off your a post-signup purchase, too. And if your Black Friday shopping destinations offer a loyalty or rewards program, be sure to enroll. Being a member typically means perks, which may include early access, extra savings and free shipping.
Map it Out
Some stores, including Walmart and Target, create color-coded store maps clearly identifying where specific Black Friday deals are located inside the store, available on their websites and/or apps. Use these maps to plan your exact shopping route before the big day arrives. You’ll save time in-store, leaving you with more deal-hunting time elsewhere.
And, be sure to check out Bullseye’s Playground, Target’s online dollar section for more great deals.