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Frugal Holiday Shopping: How To Save Money on Black Friday

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Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, highlighted by sales, deals and bargains – but do you really save on Black Friday? The shopping extravaganza is fraught with gimmicks and often times results in people abandoning their frugal financial sensibilities in favor of fervent spending sprees. To help ensure you shop frugally, I’m sharing my top tips on How To Save Money on Black Friday.

First, let’s talk about how much money is made on Black Friday.

The money spent on Black Friday is a staggering figure. In recent years, Black Friday sales have topped $9 billion. Yeah, $9,000,000,000 (that’s a nine…and then nine zeros). The mind-blowing figure is a clear reminder that retailers are not in it to help you save; they are in it to make money…and they can be ruthless in helping you part with your hard-earned cash.

10 Tips for How To Save Money on Black Friday

In order to come out ahead, you need to go in with a plan – and my best tips on how to save on Black Friday are the perfect place to start.

Top 10 Tips How To Save on Black Friday by

#1 Skip the Black Friday Hoopla

Want to know how to save the most money on Black Friday? Don’t shop! Ignore the ads and stay out of the stores (and offline!). It seems simple enough, but I feel it must be said anyway: By not spending anything, you will actually save the most money.

Rather than buying into the hoopla, re-examine your holiday gift-giving routines. Maybe this year, opt to exchange Frugal Christmas Gifts.

#2 Make a List

The hype that surrounds Black Friday is designed to put you in a spending mood – and that is when your bank account can really take a hit.

On Black Friday, don’t get so swept up in the action that you get swayed into buying things you don’t need or want (or even worse, buying things that you really can’t afford).

Instead, make a list – a very specific list – of items you will buy on Black Friday. Use the list as you shop to prevent making irrational impulse purchases. 

#3 Investigate Actual Prices before Buying on Black Friday

Stores are notorious for using sly marketing tactics on Black Friday to create an illusion of huge savings. For instance, a store might inflate regular prices leading up to the event just so that their Black Friday markdowns seem even more impressive.

Therefore, some of the oh-so-hot Black Friday deals are really not so great – which begs the question, Do you really save money on Black Friday?

I will provide a real-life example. An item normally costs $100. The week (or month) before Black Friday, the store increases the price of the item to $150. Then, on Black Friday, they announce a huge 33% Off Sale. The price on Black Friday is $100. An uninformed person will think they saved $50, but the reality is that they simply paid the regular price.

You won’t really know how much money you can save on Black Friday if you don’t know the regular prices of the items you plan on buying. However, if you investigate the product prices well in advance and are informed about how much a product should be, then you will know the true value of the item and can instantly determine if the Black Friday price is a deal or not.

Websites, like CamelCamelCamel, allow you to enter a specific product (from Amazon) and view the price history, which can be incredibly helpful!

#4 Research Black Friday Deals

As Black Friday approaches, set aside some time for researching the deals. You will need to identify the best deals for the products you are interested in buying. Use store flyers and online ads to find out which stores or websites are offering the lowest prices.

There are some online websites and mobile apps that can help you compare prices – like PriceGrabber app, CamelCamelCamel and Honey. These price comparison tools help you search for the products at the lowest prices online.

You will also want to note which items are Door Busters or are only offered in a limited quantity.

Additionally, if electronics are on your list, compare model numbers of the regular shelf items to the ones they are offering for the Black Friday Special. The Black Friday models are not always equivalent – and the lower priced, Black Friday specialty items are often a very similar but inferior product (typically made with cheaper materials and lower quality overall).

#5 Set a Spending Budget for Black Friday

It doesn’t really matter how much you save on Black Friday if you buy things you can’t afford or spend money that you don’t have. To alleviate going into debt on Black Friday, make a budget…and stick to it!

It’s best to set a finite amount – and it should jive with your monthly budget plan, too.

#6 Create a Strategy for Shopping

In order to score the biggest Black Friday savings, shoppers need to have a strategy. Your list should be prioritized by the items that you most want to purchase. Match up your list with the stores and websites that are offering the best deals for those specific products.

Next, plan a route that will enable you to most efficiently use your time and resources. Use your notes from your research regarding which products may be in low supply and bear that in mind as you make your Black Friday shopping plan.

#7 Subscribe and Follow for Bigger Black Friday Savings

While advertising flyers and store websites can shed light on deals, some of the best deals are only offered to subscribers and social media followers.

Before Black Friday, be sure to sign up for retailer newsletters and follow their social media accounts. As a subscriber or follower, you are privy to exclusive discounts, promotions and the latest offers.

Top Tip: Did you know that you can subscribe to my blog? You will get my latest tips and advice for a Frugal life – plus, you will get a FREE Budget Worksheet to get started with your budget today!

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#8 Shop Online

In-store shopping on Black Friday is chaotic and the frenzy can distract you from your intended list of purchases. Avoid the pandemonium and shop online instead.

Not only can shopping online help you better stick to your list, but some stores now offer special Black Friday online deals that are better than those you can get in the store.

#9 Double Down with Coupons and Rebates

There is nothing sweeter than doubling down with money saving tools. Coupons, promo codes and rebates are all ways to add a little sugar to your Black Friday savings.

Find out in advance if stores will allow you to combine offers, discounts or manufacturer coupons to increase your Black Friday savings.

Additionally, look for any extras – like getting coupons for standing in line (but certainly weigh the time-to-savings value of that coupon). Some stores may even allow you to buy a product in advance and then come back on Black Friday for a price adjustment to the Black Friday sale price (but always get that confirmed in advance).

#10 Use Cash Back Credit Cards and Apps

Getting cash back on Black Friday purchases is practically free money. When shopping on Black Friday, use a credit card that gives the best cash back deal. I use both Discover and Chase Sapphire cash back credit cards.

Rakuten is a popular cashback website and app that helps shoppers earn cash rewards, too.

On the flip side, you might be able to save a little cash by purchasing gift cards for stores at a discounted rate – and using them to make your Black Friday purchases. Just make sure to use a reputable gift card reseller, such as Gift Card Granny (and determine if the hassle is really worth the savings).

10 Tips on How To Save Money on Black Friday by

More Tips for Saving Money on Black Friday

Above, I shared a solid frugal process for planning how to save the most money on Black Friday, but I have a few more bits of advice.

Keep a Level Head

I’ve already mentioned it, but it is worth saying again: Keep a level head when shopping on Black Friday. Remember, the store’s aim is to get you to spend.

With that perspective in mind, the question should not necessarily be ‘How much can you save on Black Friday’, but rather, ‘What is the best value for my money on Black Friday’.

How To Save Money for Black Friday

Black Friday can be an excellent way to save money on things that you want to buy – but it’s not wise to go into debt for Black Friday savings. Before making any Black Friday purchases, make sure you have the money to pay for them!

You can start a Sinking Fund for your Black Friday shopping so that the money is already saved for purchases.

Additionally, if you are buying holiday presents on Black Friday, make a Frugal Christmas Budget far in advance – the earlier the better!

If you are looking for more ways to come up with cash, I share tips in my article about How To Save Money.

Shop Year-Round Sales and Clearance Instead

One of my tips for Buying Frugal Christmas Gifts is shopping sales and clearances throughout the year. Doing so can eliminate both stress and over-spending that comes with the Black Friday madness.

Spend the Holidays with a Frugal Mindset

Holidays are getting more expensive. Shopping on Black Friday is one way to save money on Christmas gifts, but there are heaps of ways to celebrate the holidays on a budget.

Use my guide for Gift Giving on Budget or my Frugal Gifts Guide for ideas on how to spend less money on holiday presents.

If you are hosting Christmas dinner, stay on budget with my tips for preparing a Frugal Christmas Feast.

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Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle page!

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