If you’re not ready to fight massive crowds to grab the best deals of the year you might want to stay home for Black Friday 2017. The National Retail Federation expects sales on the most shopped day of the year to reach $682 billion, an increase of 4% from 2016. Whether you’re shopping for a 60″ 4K TV or attempting to get your hands on a deeply discounted crockpot, there is usually something for everyone on Black Friday.
But if crowds don’t scare you and you want to grab the best deals of the holiday shopping season, we have some simple but effective Black Friday hacks that can save you time, and most importantly, money.
Wait until you see where the best electronics and toy sales are, both stores will surprise you!
Scout Out Your Favorite Stores The Night Before
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
The most highly touted items at each location are typically showcased on end caps or setup for easy access. The last thing any general manager wants is a bottleneck created by a hard to reach sales item. Show up the night before sales begin and note where each product you want has been positioned for the next day’s sale. Get to the store early and you’ll be one of the first people to find the hot product that everyone wants. Keep in mind that some locations will only stock a few of their most highly discounted product, making it a necessity to grab one while supplies last.
Use The Amazon App To Compare Prices
Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images
Black Friday is not always the best time to land a deal on your favorite products and gifts you’re purchasing for others. In fact, 17% of Black Friday products sell for less money on Amazon. With the Amazon app for iOS and Android, you can scan a product’s barcode and immediately find a better price on Amazon. If that amazing deal you just found is cheaper on Amazon, simply check out with your Prime account and you’ll have the product delivered to your door within two days. Don’t have an Amazon account? There are other apps that offer price comparisons too, for example, Shop Savvy.
Use CrayPay To Save Even More Money
CrayPay is a platform that allows you to instantly purchase a gift card for the exact amount of your purchase. The gift card is turned into a barcode which can be scanned by a cashier or used at self-checkout stations. The best part? You save an extra 1.5% to 3% when you use CrayPay instead of a traditional form of payment. You can also pair the payment with cash back credit card rewards, rebates, and in-store coupons, saving you even more money in the process. There are other gift card apps to choose from so figure out your shopping goals and go from there to save extra money on Black Friday.
Fill Up Your Online Shopping Cart Right Now… Then Abandon It
Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Here’s a fun little trick that could save you a lot of money on Black Friday. One week before the big deals start trickling in, fill up your shopping cart online at your favorite store with various items and then abandon your cart from your logged in account. It’s no secret that online stores will “retarget” customers who nearly complete a purchase but quickly move on before finishing the order. Wait for coupon codes and special offers to arrive in your inbox and use those deals when Black Friday sales push prices even lower. Just make sure your favorite e-commerce platform doesn’t restrict coupon codes for sale items.
Be On The Lookout For In-Store Guarantees
Walmart, Sears, and other large retailers have chosen to lure in shoppers in recent years by offering in-store stock guarantees. Typically, these offers are only available for the first hour of Black Friday sales. If you show up and the item you really want is out of stock, you will be issued a raincheck to pick up the item at Black Friday pricing. There are often some really big items included in these sales, for example, Walmart in 2016 had a guarantee for an LG 55″ Class Smart 4K UHD TV and the iPad Air 2 Gold 16GB. Arriving early for Black Friday sales is always suggested.
Let Stores Spam You Two Weeks Before Black Friday
Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Head over to the websites of Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and your other favorite Black Friday retailers and sign up for promotional emails. You can save a lot of money when your inbox is suddenly flooded with coupons ahead of Black Friday sales. Some coupons can be used for online shopping and others can be printed out and taken to your favorite Black Friday shopping spots. After the holidays you can simply unsubscribe from their shopping lists and repeat the process one year later. A little spam now can save you a lot of money on Thanksgiving Day and for the following Black Friday event.
Need To Buy Toys? Check Out Kohl’s
Stores other than Toys ‘R’ Us are having amazing sales on children’s products. In 2016, Kohl’s slashed prices on toys by up to 50%. On top of those savings, shoppers received $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 they spent. If you add up those savings that meant you could buy $100 worth of toys for $35 when including the $15 in Kohl’s Cash. That’s a toy saving of 65% which was enough to win Black Friday 2016. Kohl’s doesn’t have the biggest selection of toys but it does sell high-quality goods from the likes of Fisher-Price and Disney. Wait until you see where the best computer sales are offered…
Find Out If Your Credit Card Offers Price Protection Then Shop Early
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Are you aware that Citi, Discover, and other providers offer credit cards with “price protection”? These cards allow you to search for a lower price on a product you have purchased for up to 60-90 days and then receive a refund for the difference. Make sure your credit card covers seasonal sales, for instance, Chase won’t cover Black Friday or other “seasonal” discounts but there aren’t similar terms on other price protected credit cards. It’s unclear how long this process will last but it has worked for many shoppers in recent years, saving them millions of dollars before Black Friday even started.
Ask Your Friends To Help
Not everyone is out to purchase presents and other items on Black Friday but they might be willing to help a friend purchase the items on their list. Ask your friends to help you grab all of the items on your wishlist. Offering to buy your friends breakfast or brunch in exchange has become a new trend. If you are going to save a ton of money by shopping on Black Friday, spending $50 on food for a friend or two might be well worth the cost. You could also just remind them of that time you deleted all those Cancun Spring Break photos at their request. Don’t go for the most common items on your list, as you’ll learn in a second.
Look For Products That Are Almost Never On Sale
Many top-tier product manufacturers are protective of their price points and that means products from these sellers are rarely discounted. Apple, Oakley, and various other products will only reduce pricing for one day of the year – Black Friday. Apple is known for offering Apple-based gift cards to buyers who shop for a new iPhone, MacBook Pro, and other high-end products on Black Friday. You won’t see drastic discounts but even a 5% to 10% discount on a $500 to $1500 item is a decent amount of money to save. From electronics to childcare products, Black Friday might be your only time to save money on high-end items.
Price Matching Isn’t Going To Happen
Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Sorry but you’re not going to outsmart the biggest retailers with your price matching requests. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and other top retailers make it clear that Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales are excluded from their in-store price matching policies. If you wait in line hoping Walmart will sell you that 4K TV you really want for the same price as Best Buy, you just wasted time and lost out on the Best Buy sale you really wanted to take advantage of that day. Remember, retailers have been doing this for decades and they understand how to play the Black Friday game better than you. Doorbusters not on your list? Our next tip will save you a lot of time!
Avoid The Lines Completely If You Don’t Need A Doorbuster Item
Major retailers and even some of the smaller players use doorbuster sales to lure in customers but that’s where the brick & mortar advantage ends. In recent years, in an attempt to keep up with Amazon, an increasing number of retailers have made their Black Friday sales available for online purchase. With free shipping options and the ability to completely avoid the hectic Black Friday lines, this is a no-brainer. Just keep in mind that many sales may only be available for short periods of time. You might still have to wake up incredibly early but at least you won’t get hit with a grandma’s cane after she sees you take the last of an item she was hoping to buy for her grandchild.
Our next tip will remind you to shop with a camel on your back.
Shop With A Camel On Your Back
CamelCamelCamel.com is must have app for Amazon shoppers both on Black Friday and throughout the rest of the year. This amazing website allows you to enter in products you want to purchase and then examine their best prices throughout the year. Think you are getting an awesome price on that 4K TV? What if an app could tell you that it was $100 cheaper just 10 days earlier? You can use CamelCamelCamel to find deals on Amazon products that beat their Black Friday promises before it even arrives. This allows you to save thousands of dollars each year simply as an Amazon Prime shopper who does most of your buying on Amazon.
Some Stores Are Way Better Than Others For Savings
It’s easy to head out on Black Friday without a plan, visiting your favorite stores without maximizing your savings. What many shoppers may not realize is that some stores are known for giving better discounts than others. The biggest savings occurred in 2016 at JC Penney where products were discounted by 58% on average. Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, Target, and Walmart all topped the list of the best discounters in 2015 and 2016. You can do your own analysis of the best savings by comparing upcoming sales to current prices and then decide where to shop based on savings. Our computer savings tip is up next!
Want A Computer? Shop At OfficeMax/Office Depot
Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images
It might surprise our readers to learn that the Office Depot empire was the best place to buy computers on Black Friday 2016. The average computer was discounted by 50%. For example, the HP 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop w/Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB HHD, and Win 10 was being sold for $449.99. The regular price was a whopping $849.99. You might not have a need for a whiteboard or an office chair but you can avoid massive crowds and practically steal a computer by shopping at Office Max and Office Depot stores. Either way, be sure to use the Amazon app to compare prices just to make sure the deal you think you’re getting really is a steal. And don’t forget the stocking stuffers, up next is a tip that may surprise you.
Need Stocking Stuffers? Drug Stores Have You Covered.
RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images
You probably won’t find a massive line at your local drugstore on Black Friday but you will discover a ton of stocking stuffers. After you have purchased your big-ticket items head to your local Rite Aid, Walgreens, or CVS and start purchasing the smaller gifts your friends and family members will love. From hair scrunchies to earbuds and lip gloss, you’ll love the big savings and short lines. Stocking stuffers can be a tough nut to crack so why not choose practical items that you don’t have to fight other shoppers to get. Pair the savings with your store rewards cards and the deals get even better.
Social Media Is Your Friend On Black Friday
Do you spend way too much time on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks? Retailers are hoping to grab a little bit of your attention by offering special discounts to their followers. Sign up today as a follower of your favorite stores and stay connected when Black Friday arrives. Don’t care about deals for the rest of the year? Simply unfollow those retailers and repeat the process next year. Many social media produced coupons can be downloaded directly to your smartphone and scanned while shopping on Black Friday. Technology can slow down our ability to get work done throughout the day but it also has its advantages. We also want to remind you not to accessorize your purchases, find out why in our next example.
Avoid “Accessorizing” For Your Electronics And Other Products
What’s the point of saving $250 on a 4K TV if you end up paying dearly for HDMI cables, speakers, and other “accessories.” It’s a known fact that retailers will offer deep discounts on main products and then jack up the price of cables and other supporting items. Stick to your shopping list and purchase accessories online or after Black Friday has come to an end. Don’t pay $25 for a $5 cable just because you are saving big money on that brand new TV or computer. Remember to use that Amazon pricing app to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off if you decide to buy accessories.
Be One Of The First 20, 50, Or 100 Customers
Many major retailers love to reward their early bird shoppers on Black Friday. You can score free gift cards and extra cash savings if you are one of the first 20, 50, or 100 customers to enter a store. Coupons, Gift Cards, and other savings await those people who are willing to brave the cold, stand in long lines, and wait for hours to start the holiday shopping season. Keep in mind that you should still choose which stores to visit early based on the best savings you are going to receive on the biggest ticket items you can’t live without. And the biggest Black Friday tip of all is up next and it holds true every year.
Don’t Shop On Black Friday At All
Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images
Here’s something big-box retailers don’t want you to know. The best deals of the holiday shopping seasons are ALMOST NEVER found on Black Friday or Thanksgiving Day. You won’t even find the best deals on Cyber Monday. Instead, use price monitoring tools like CamelCamelCamel to keep an eye on product pricing and make your decision based on price drops. Start shopping at the beginning of November and watch prices fluctuate until you find a deal that’s too good to pass up. As an added bonus, you won’t have to fight with a bunch of angry shoppers at 4 am if you shop smart.