15 Black Friday Shopping Tips From Industry Experts

Oct 2, 2019

There’s something terrific about scoring a great deal. Whether it’s an amazing deal on something big like a new TV, or even just a cool freebie like a pair of cute socks with every purchase, there’s just something about a great deal that makes even the most jaded of shoppers smile.

Lucky for you, Black Friday is coming, and this year will be chock full of sale-priced goodies and deeply discounted gifts for everyone on your holiday gift list.

As you may know, Black Friday is the most popular "retail" holiday each year. It occurs the day after Thanksgiving, and with 174 million shoppers buying goods in-store (and millions more shopping online), it’s the best day for retailers - and bargain shoppers! - all year. In 2018 alone, US retailers generated $7.9 billion in sales!

If you’re looking forward to getting a piece of the action this Black Friday, we can help. We’ve got the top tips and strategies for saving big on Black Friday - all while keeping your sanity intact.

Black Friday Tips From Consumer Expert Clark Howard

1. Use discounted gift cards to shop
Why not double dip on deals? You can get discounted gift cards at sites like Raise.com or at retailers like Costco, then use those cards to shop for your Black Friday purchases.

2. Shop online
You don’t have to leave the house and fight the crowds if you don’t want to. Most of the best deals will be available online, so you can shop from the comfort of your own couch.

3. Score on early deals
Retailers are really fighting for your business, and many of them know that early deals are a good way to attract shoppers. Start by writing a list of items you want to find now, and keep an eye out for deep discounts on them - some stores will even offer their Black Friday deals all week long!

Black Friday Tips From Money Crashers

4. Research pre-Black Friday pricing
Some times, retailers will slowly raise a price before a big sale to give the appearance of a giant discount. Avoid paying too much by knowing when you’re getting a truly good deal and when you’re just getting a discount off an inflated price instead.

5. Download helpful apps (or use coupons)
They say there’s an app for everything, and Black Friday is no exception. With apps like Flipp, Shopular, and TheBlackFridayApp, you can find deals, score rebate points, and keep your digital coupons all in one place. Not a smartphone kind of person? Clip coupons beforehand from store circulars and keep your store loyalty cards handy.

6. Bring paper or digital ads
When you’re looking for a very specific item, and the aisles of the store have tons of choices available, deal shopping can get frustrating. Bring the ads with the deals you’re looking for to circumvent the problem altogether. This is especially helpful for tech products where specific models are on sale.

Black Friday Tips From Consumer Reports

7. Start early
Waiting until Friday morning to think about where to go and what to buy is too late. Read up on who will have the best discounts, and see who’s predicted to have the items you want. That way, you can map out your shopping day and take care of everything you need without the stress of running around and missing out.

8. Use price comparison and coupon tools
Guess what - you don’t have to look at website after website to find the best deals - there are sites that have done the work for you! Try ShopKick or ShopSavvy for in-store deals, or Savings.com for the best coupon codes for online shopping at your favorite stores.

9. Create a budget and stick to it
As good as getting a deal feels, if it’s followed up by a scary credit card bill, it’s not worth it. Create a realistic budget to see how much you can spend and stick to it. There are many ways to save money, so it won’t be too hard to get your shopping done without breaking the bank.

Black Friday Tips From Consumer World

10. Beat the early birds
Research when your store of choice will first open and be the first one in the door for the biggest discounts and best choices. Some stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day, so be sure to factor that into your shopping plans.

11. Know return policy
Not all items work out, so make sure you know the return policy before you buy - especially the time frames in which returns are still accepted. Once you know you can make a return, the process is easier than ever before as many stores accept returns for online orders in their stores.

12. Save more with price matches
So Store A has a great advertised deal on an item, but you’re already at Store B… They may still be able to help you out by price matching. You can save big this way, but this doesn’t work all the time, so you’ll want to find out which stores do price matches and what documentation is required. Also, ask ahead of time and find out if you can get a price match at the register or if you have to go to the customer service desk instead.

Black Friday Tips From Consumer Savings Expert Andrea Woroch

13. Online is still a great way to shop
If you’re not looking for one specific doorbuster deal, online shopping may be the best way to go. With great discounts and offers like free shipping, it’s fast, convenient, and frugal. If you want to make sure you get the item you’re looking for, consider opening browser windows before the sale hits. That way, you can just refresh the page instead of losing valuable time on searching.

14. Look out for freebies
There’s no better price than FREE, right? Look for bundled deals, gift card promotions, and free gifts with purchase. This is a great way to get more gifts for the folks on your list while staying under budget.

15. Control impulse buying
The most important key to a great Black Friday experience is sticking to your budget. Make a list of gifts and who they’re for to keep yourself from buying too much and spending hastily.

Ready, Set, Shop!

That was a lot of expert advice. As you can see, there are many ways to make sure you are planning for the best Black Friday shopping available. Using these tips and making sure to check for online coupons when shopping can make the start of the holiday shopping season much more affordable. Pick your favorite tips, create a strategy, start writing your shopping list, and start counting down the days - the best shopping day of the year will be here before you know it!

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