Black Friday, the busiest shopping day in the United States, is around the corner.
About 74% of Americans purchase at least one item during the shopping craze. The average amount of money a person spends on the day moves around $1,000. The total amount paid by Americans on Black Friday in 2018 reached an impressive $717.5 billion.
However, getting what you want is not always easy. Millions of people prepare for the special date and hence manage to get the best items first.
Be smart and make sure you do your homework to grab awesome stuff for the best price possible. Keep reading and find 25 expert Black Friday shopping tips, so you never miss a deal again.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Prepare For Black Friday
- 2 The Best 25 Black Friday Shopping Tips And Tricks
- 2.1 Follow Retailer Brands On Social Media
- 2.2 Sign Up For Emails
- 2.3 Know Your Budget
- 2.4 Plan What You Are Going To Buy
- 2.5 Download a Black Friday App
- 2.6 Use a Price Tracker
- 2.7 Use A Rewards Credit Card
- 2.8 Know What To Buy
- 2.9 Know The Return Policy And Fees
- 2.10 Go With Friends Or Family
- 2.11 Use Discounted Gift Card
- 2.12 Prepare To Wait In Line – Get There Early For Doorbuster Deals
- 2.13 Wear Comfortable And Proper Clothes
- 2.14 Bring Paper Or Digital Ads For Proof
- 2.15 Don’t Try Price Matching From Other Retailers
- 2.16 Get Gift Receipts
- 2.17 Be A Late Shopper
- 2.18 Shop Online
- 2.19 Use Private Or Incognito Browser Mode
- 2.20 Avoid Sites Without HTTPS Security
- 2.21 Use Your Credit Card Reward Portal For Extra Deals
- 2.22 Not Everything Is A Deal
- 2.23 Avoid Unsafe Situations
- 2.24 Talk To People In The Store – You Might Find Out Deals You Didn’t Know About
- 2.25 Have A Backup Plan
- 3 What Is The Best Time To Go Black Friday Shopping?
- 4 Can You Return Black Friday Items?
- 5 Bottom Line
How To Prepare For Black Friday
Black Friday takes smart planning days before the actual date. If you prepare in time for the shopping spree, you will have the highest chances of getting what you want. So, before going over our expert advice, make sure to prepare accordingly by following these simple steps:
- Check the weather – Bring appropriate clothes, so you’re comfortable throughout the entire experience;
- Check for Early Bird deals – Many stores start their Black Friday promotions one day or even days earlier. Avoid the crowds and get the best Black Friday deals before everyone else;
- Have an in-store plan – Black Friday shopping is all about moving fast and moving smartly. Know the store outline, know what exactly you want to buy, and make the most out of your time;
- Make a list – Include primary and secondary items. Flexibility combined with a shopping list lets controls your impulse-purchasing and prevents disappointment;
- Avoid Final Sale items – Final Sale often means that you can’t return those items. So, it’s maybe best to avoid them unless you absolutely need one of those products;
- Compare deals – Make sure to compare sale offers online whenever possible, so you always make purchases at the lowest possible price.
The Best 25 Black Friday Shopping Tips And Tricks
People who always grab the best items on this day are people who know all the Black Friday secrets. From busy hours to return policies, you mustn’t overlook anything if you want to scoop the best deals. Scroll down and learn how to improve your Black Friday game in 2019.
Follow Retailer Brands On Social Media
Social media is everything these days. So, it makes sense for brands to launch special promotions and run last-minute deals. Such deals can appear anywhere, really, meaning you should keep your eyes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
If you want to go the extra mile, just set up alerts when your favorite stores post something. That way, you will be up to date with all the latest happenings even before Black Friday. You may be surprised how many of them provide the most recent information there. This can save you from visiting their stores or looking for the best Black Friday shopping deals in pamphlets.
Sign Up For Emails
Besides social media, emails are another great way of getting the latest offers from stores. Sign up for your favorite brands’ newsletter and wait for their deals to arrive right into your inbox. You should do this at least two or three weeks before Black Friday since it may take time for their mailing list to update.
Plus, many stores announce their promotions days before the date, and some even start their sales early. So, you can trick all the doorbusters and other shoppers by merely staying informed. You can also compare the deals and find the best places to go Black Friday shopping from the comfort of your home.
Know Your Budget
One of the biggest Black Friday mistakes consumers do is overspending. Spending more than you can afford is wrong in more than one way. First, you generate debt, which can hurt your credit and cause serious financial troubles. Second, overspending often means that you bought items you don’t actually need. Finally, by spending all your cash on Black Friday, you may not have enough money left for Christmas and New Year.
Here’s when a smart and meticulous budget comes into the picture. Take an hour or two to make a list of all the things you need, their prices, and your spending budget. Decide how much money you can spend on Black Friday and don’t spend a single dollar above that amount.
We have a great guide on how to make a budget and stick to it.
Plan What You Are Going To Buy
Similar to the previous point, planning what to buy is another cornerstone of all Black Friday shopping tips lists. Shoppers often forget their initial strategy and buy whatever seems appealing on the spot. That’s everything but smart. Instead, you must create a list of things you need and stick to it at all costs. If you spend money on something you won’t ever use, regardless of how cheap the item was, that’s wasted cash anyway.
Download a Black Friday App
There’s an app for everything these days. You can count your steps, track your calories, and discover the best shopping deals. Black Friday apps alongside coupon aggregators make you superior over your competition. These help you find relevant deals, last-minute promos, and awesome coupons. They will also aggregate flyers, pamphlets, and even coupons that can earn you extra discounts.
Here are the most popular Black Friday apps for 2019:
- TheBlackFriday App
- The Coupons App
Use a Price Tracker
Using a price tracker is among the most popular Black Friday tips and tricks. Such services let you compare prices at numerous stores. In other words, they give you the power to discover the best offers in several clicks. No wandering around shops or doing research. A price tracker will do all the hard work for you while you’re having a coffee or waiting for your bus to arrive. So, every time you use an app for price tracking and find something for a lower price, you actually get free money for buying another item.
Use A Rewards Credit Card
If you own a rewards credit card, then make sure to use it while you do your Black Friday shopping. Big purchases combined with credit card rewards get you double the fun. By collecting cashback, which mostly ranges from 1.5% to 5%, you are saving cash for the future.
Do you have bad credit? No worries, we have the best credit cards for people with poor or no credit. Even though these mostly won’t offer rewards, some of them do. So, not only you will work on improving your financial score, but also earn rewards along the way.
Know What To Buy
It’s always important to ask yourself about what should I buy on Black Friday before anything else.
Not all items sold during this day are worth the investment or the waiting. In fact, some things should be avoided at Black Friday. The reasons are different. For example, most stores launch fantastic winter clothing sales in January, and that’s when you should buy a new jacket or waterproof boots. Here are the products you should leave for another day.
- Linens and bedding
- Fitness equipment
- Gift cards
- Winter clothing and shoes
On the other hand, some products come at amazing prices on Black Friday. These are traditionally popular items to buy and offer the highest potential of saving cash. Here are products you shouldn’t miss out in the USA this year:
- Video games
- Laptops and PCs
- Electronic gadgets
- Small appliances
Know The Return Policy And Fees
Always get more information about the return policy of items as well as additional fees that may come with it. You want to avoid products you can’t return, especially if these are instant decisions rather than planned purchases. Also, if you buy items that need to be delivered, make sure to learn if there are shipping fees.
Go With Friends Or Family
It’s always advisable to go shopping with friends and/or family. They know you the best and can help you make smart decisions. Also, you can work together to find the clothes or electronics you want to buy. An extra tip – share your shopping list with them. This way, they might find the item you wish to get without the hassle of looking around the store several times. On the plus side, you also have someone to chat with and share the excitement. In the end, you’d get to enjoy Black Friday shopping with someone you care about and grab a coffee.
Use Discounted Gift Card
Want some more Black Friday tips and tricks? Well, before you dive into the stores, check for discounted gift cards from the places you want to visit. In fact, check if the shops offer these cards online. Big stores like electronic shops usually provide them, and you can scoop quite a deal.
For example, you can find a discounted gift card whose worth will put half the money you’d need to pay back into your pocket. It’s possible to get such gift cards online and at the physical shops. Just do a bit of research, and you’ll be saving more than actually spending. Play smart and shop smart.
Prepare To Wait In Line – Get There Early For Doorbuster Deals
While this might not be fun, it’s always advisable to prepare beforehand for Black Friday. This means that, on an actual day, you need to get there earlier. Also, prepare yourself mentally for waiting in long lines. Don’t forget to look on the bright side, though – you’ll be the first to get the doorbuster deals. Some shoppers even bring their own tent to say over the night.
While this might be insane to some people, you’re actually playing smart. No one likes to be pushed around and get stuck in crowds. So, by doing it, you will be among the first ones to get in and start shopping.
Wear Comfortable And Proper Clothes
If you’re planning to go shopping in high heels and tight jeans – forget about it. Not only you’ll be exhausted by the end, but you’ll also move around slowly. The best thing to do is to wear proper and comfortable clothes like a sweater, pants, and running shoes. This way, you’ll be able to move around easily and freely.
Also, don’t wear a big and heavy purse. If you really need to carry many things around with you, get a backpack instead. Always make sure your hands are free, so you’re the first one to grab whatever you wish to buy.
Bring Paper Or Digital Ads For Proof
You cannot always rely on the retailer when it comes to discounts. Even the best places to go Black Friday shopping can disappoint you sometimes. While some shops stick to the deals they advertise, most don’t. They use the busy Black Friday to mess around with the item prices. So, it’s highly recommendable to bring physical proof of the discount.
For example, a flyer showing the discount of the item you want to buy or a printed out copy of the ad. Also, pay attention if the discount is eligible in both the land-based and online stores. Some shops may use this against you too. Always double-check this before embarking on a shopping spree.
Don’t Try Price Matching From Other Retailers
Hey, it’s Black Friday! All retailers offer discounts, even up to 70%. So, you shouldn’t do price matching. You’ll lose valuable time, and perhaps money, doing this. Imagine you find a suitable TV you’ve always wanted to buy. But, instead, you go to the next store selling electronics just to check the price there. Then, you find out that the TV is cheaper in the first store. You go back only to find out that there’s no more left! Selling and buying are at a high level for Black Friday. Hence, if you really want to compare prices, you should do this beforehand.
Get Gift Receipts
While it’s not mandatory to get the actual receipt of the item you purchased, you should always get the gift receipts. Especially if the item is returnable. You don’t want to buy something for a friend, and then not being able to return it if they don’t like it. They should have the chance to exchange it for something else.
In general, most stores have a liberal return policy on days like Black Friday, but you never know. Thus, better safe than sorry. Moreover, check if the return policy is valid for at least a month. Some retailers have a 3-day return policy, and you might miss the window.
Be A Late Shopper
You can find good deals if you’re a late shopper too. Shops and stores want to keep people coming in all day long on Black Fridays. This means that some places may offer last-minute deals or extra discounts for those that arrive right before closing. You can check this yourself. Look for such deals online and check if your favorite shopping store has an ad about it. Being a late shopper also means that you’ll avoid the busy crowds in the morning and still get excellent deals. If you’re not an early bird, this is just the thing for you.
If you find it difficult and burdensome to go from one store to another, you can always do online shopping. It’s far more convenient, and you can do it from the comfort of your home. Also, with proper research, you can find the best deals online and have them delivered right at your door. Some websites usually advertise their best-discounted items even before Black Friday, so you will know what to expect before the day comes. Just make sure always to check if the website is safe and secure. You don’t want to be scammed out of your money and end up disappointed.
Use Private Or Incognito Browser Mode
Another top-pick among the best-kept Black Friday secrets is to use incognito mode in your browser. If you’re new to this, just click on the three dots next to the URL field. Afterward, click to open a new incognito window. The reason why we’re recommending this is that websites have traceable tools and links. This enables them to track your IP address. Hence, if you click on an ad advertising footwear, the retailer will know where you come from. So, the next time you click, the price for the shoes might go up because they know you’re interested in buying them.
Avoid Sites Without HTTPS Security
If you’re planning on doing online shopping, make sure you do proper research before giving your personal and bank card details. Sometimes it’s risky to buy anything from websites, even if the discount is mouth dropping. What you should do is check the site itself. Does the URL start with https? If so, you’re good to go. This means that the website is SSL-encrypted and secured, meaning your money transactions are secure. Some sites have a Locker icon right before their URL. Click on it to see what it says and check if the connection is secure.
Use Your Credit Card Reward Portal For Extra Deals
Did you know that many brands offer unique credit card shopping portals? Here, consumers can find exclusive deals and boosted rewards programs. Some relevant examples here would be Membership Rewards by American Express and ThankYou Rewards by Citi.
These portals often feature member-exclusive shopping deals with additional discounts or better rewards. While discounts between 2% and 10% may not sound impressive, they save hefty sums in the long run. Especially when they come on top of sweet Black Friday Deals.
Not Everything Is A Deal
Remember, not everything sold during Black Friday is a great deal. Individual businesses often will boost their regular prices before they offer the discounted Black Friday price. Also, some discounts just aren’t worth it if the items can’t be returned or come with high shipping fees. So, always try to calculate rationally if a purchase is worth it or not.
Avoid Unsafe Situations
Staying safe should always be your number one priority, especially when you’re stuck in the Black Friday crowds of shoppers. This means that you should try to avoid any unsafe situations. The streets are busier than usual, and the people are determined to get what they want, making Black Friday the perfect day for conflicts.
Scroll down to find some essential tips to help you stay safe and enjoy your 2019 shopping adventure as much as possible.
- Keep your valuables close and wear an RFID-blocking wallet if possible.
- Avoid fighting over items.
- No need to enter the store first.
- Hide your purchases in your trunk.
- Be careful when crossing streets near stores or while walking in the parking lot.
- Drive slowly around the shopping crowds.
Talk To People In The Store – You Might Find Out Deals You Didn’t Know About
Even if you wait for the best time to shop on Black Friday, there will be waiting in lines anyway. Make the most out of the endless standing by talking to the people around you. The chances are they have valuable information to share with you. If they’ve been out and about the whole day or doing their homework, fellow shoppers may know about deals you weren’t aware of.
Have A Backup Plan
Always have a backup strategy! If you want to avoid disappointments and buy something you need, you must be prepared with alternatives. A backup plan includes different stores that offer what you want and alternative products too. Also, if you’re going to purchase items that are sold during Cyber Monday, waiting for three days can be part of your backup plan, as well. All in all, if you fail to buy something this week, it’s not the end of the world if you wait until next week.
What Is The Best Time To Go Black Friday Shopping?
This really depends on what do you plan to buy and how do you plan to buy it. On Black Friday, data shows that the traffic gets the craziest in the afternoon, while the period between 2 AM and 6 AM seems to be the slowest. You can expect the crowds to start expanding at 8 PM.
You plan to walk instead? In that case, the period between 2 PM and 4 PM is the busiest for foot traffic. Your best chance at avoiding the crowds is starting your Black Friday journey quite early, i.e., around 5 AM.
If you want to avoid the crowds altogether, check if your stores have online Black Friday deals. Alternatively, you can go late at night when most people have already done their shopping. However, in that case, you risk finding empty shelves.
Keep this information in mind next time you wonder, “what is the best time to go Black Friday shopping” and prepare accordingly.
Can You Return Black Friday Items?
Whether you can return your Black Friday purchases mostly depends on the store’s individual return policy. You can expect an extended window for returns and return notifications. Most businesses allow customers to return and/or exchange items within 15-30 days.
Again, all policies vary. So, it’s highly advised to check the return policy before you actually make a purchase. Also, don’t forget to see if returns come with additional charges such as shipping fees.
All in all, Black Friday is an excellent day for buying all the things you need and fast saving cash along the way. Yet, without proper planning, you can easily overspend on items you don’t actually need or miss out on the best deals.
With the list of 25 Black Friday shopping tips put together by our team of experts, you will surely improve your shopping game. More importantly, you won’t spend too much money, you will recognize smart offers, and prepare appropriately for an unforgettable shopping adventure.
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