Experienced Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers know the deal – it can be overwhelming and chaotic, which can cause even the savviest shoppers to make rash decisions, purchase impulsively, and even overpay. Here are the steps you need to keep calm, stay on budget, and get the best deals on all your holiday gifts.
Having a well-organized gift list, including gift ideas and budget for recipients, can keep you on task in the busy days ahead. Use the Memo function on your phone or apps like Evernote or Gifted so you’ll have your list with you at all times.
Arm Yourself With Apps…
For shopping in-store on Black Friday, a couple of choice smartphone apps will arm you with sale info and help you save even more along the way. The Slickdeals app for iOS and Android has a dedicated Black Friday page with interactive ad scans and deals that are voted on and vetted by a community of 10 million users. It’s a useful Black Friday basecamp for the best offers out there.
The deals on Black Friday will be deep, but you can often sweeten the pot by shopping with a discounted gift card. When you’re in-store, use the Gift Card Granny app for iOS and Android to look for a discounted gift card for that store. You can purchase a digital gift card on the spot and save between 2-30% on average by shopping with it.
…and Online Services
For your online shopping, there are services that can serve as your first line of defense against overpaying. Earny, which you link to your email, will seek out refunds for you in the event of any price drops within the next 90 days. Earny takes a small cut for their efforts, but they do all the work and you get money back. There’s also CouponCabin Sidekick, a browser plugin for Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Once installed, it will notify you of available cash back offers and coupons while you shop online. You click on any offers you are interested in and shop as you normally would.
Just because something is on sale, don’t assume you’ve found the best price. Before checking out in-store or online, conduct a quick Internet search to see what the prices are at other retailers. Use a price comparison site, like PriceGrabber, or simply search for the item on Google or Bing.
Leave the Kids at Home
You may have visions of roaming the toy aisles with your kids to see what they are interested in, but don’t do this on Black Friday. They will slow you down. Of course, if you have teens who can help you put things in your cart, bring them along so you can put them to work.
Divide and Conquer
On Black Friday, the discounts will be deep and the crowds huge, so consider bringing a friend if you’re angling for doorbuster deals. One of you can nab the headphones that are 60% off and the other can snap up a few armfuls of deeply discounted video game bundles. You can also keep an eye on each other’s carts and share the smartphone research duties of comparing prices and reading reviews of items you may not be familiar with. When you’re done, put your loot in the car, mop your brows, and have a relaxing lunch.
Focus on the Best Deals
Unless you only have a few people on your list, don’t expect to do all of your holiday shopping during these two busy shopping days. Instead, focus on the categories that are the most deeply discounted now and plan to do the rest of your shopping in the coming weeks.
Deals on fall clothing will be plentiful, both online and in-store. You’ll likely find deals on specific items or categories on Black Friday, where on Cyber Monday, the deals will be broader, i.e. sitewide deals, and there will be no shortage of free shipping offers. Winter apparel deals will be slim. Best to wait until December or even January for those.
Small Devices and Small Appliances
If someone on your list is angling for small tech items, like earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, or a camera, deals should be generous on these items. Also deeply discounted will be countertop items, like food processors, slow cookers, and espresso machines.
TV’s and Electronics
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are known for “doorbuster” deals on TV’s, laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. Take note that rather than jumping at a deal that seems too good to be true, take the time to read professional and consumer reviews before dashing to check out.
Discounts on toys aren’t necessarily better during this time, but if a toy on your list is on sale, you might want to purchase it so you don’t risk it selling out later.
Not everything is a good buy on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. In general, Holiday décor and winter apparel will go on sale in December. Linens, large furniture, and items in the fitness and wellness categories will be more favorably priced in January. You’ll find the best prices on jewelry right before Valentine’s Day.
Watch my video on Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping tips here: