We're only about a week away from the busiest shopping weekend of the whole year. Are you ready for it? I know I am!
If you're not, don't worry, because this guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday will definitely help you maximize the day, to ensure you save as much money as possible!
Disclaimer: This post does feature affiliate links. You don't have to use them, but I really appreciate it when you do!
You probably already know all about how Black Friday, but here's a bit of a refresher anyway.
Since 1932, Black Friday has been regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season. It's also the time of year most retailers roll into the black and start making a profit for the year, which is partly where the name "Black Friday" came from.
Nowadays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday don't matter as much as they used to, because retailers have started holding "Black Friday style" sales and offering crazy discounts on merchandise as early as the beginning of November. Amazon is a great example of this, as they started their "Countdown to Black Friday" sale in the beginning of November. Not only that, but the weeks leading up to Christmas also see hordes of fantastic deals
That being said, certain deals (like doorbusters) are only featured on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, so you will need to act on those immediately if you want them.
Planning ahead may seem obvious, but it's extremely important to make sure you get the most out of your Black Friday. Take a look at how I plan ahead for Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
As a side not, I'm pretty much only looking for items to resell on Amazon on these days, so your process may be a bit different than mine.
Setting up price and in stock alerts is super important if you're looking for something either A, super popular and sold out everywhere, or B, too expensive.
As for in stock alerts, I use two things: First, I use the actual store website in stock notifier if they have one and second, I use nowinstock.net.
So, why do I use both? Because, if the item is hot enough (ie. Hatchimals), they sell out within seconds of going live (seriously), so I want to be notified as quickly as possible, regardless of the fact that I'll receive a heap of emails this way.
Another type of alert I use regularly is deal alerts on Slickdeals. These types of alerts are best for products you want, but you don't have a specific price in mind to pay for them. A good example of this would be a GoPro alert. Since the GoPro Hero5 just came out, price drops have been few and far between, but there have been a couple deals where companies offered a gift card with the purchase of one.
Shopping portals are a must any time you make a purchase online, regardless of whether it's Black Friday or just a normal Tuesday. If you don't use one, you're leaving money on the table!
If you don't know what a shopping portal is, it's basically this: a website that you click through to the website that you plan to purchase something at. For example, if you were planning on buying something at Target, you would want to click through a portal first to get an additional 1-5% cash back on the purchase.
By clicking through a shopping portal, you add a little extra cash back into your wallet and it costs you nothing, so there is absolutely zero reason NOT to use one.
The best part about shopping portals is that there are so many of them, so when one has a low rate for a specific store, you can use a different one that has a higher rate. To check which portal has the best rate for a specific store, I always visit CashBackMonitor prior to making a purchase. That way, I ensure I'm getting the most points, miles, or cash back for my purchase.
A few of my favorite portals are: Ebates, TopCashBack, Upromise, Shop At Home, and Giving Assistant. I use a couple more, but those five receive most of my clicks. If you haven't signed up for any of these portals yet, I highly suggest you do, as it's free money and many of them even have a small sign-up bonus. If you're interested in what other portals I use, check out this link.
Honey works similar to a shopping portal in the sense that they give you a percentage of your purchase back to you in "Honey Gold" which can be redeemed for gift cards.
The best part about Honey is that you can use it in addition to a shopping portal, so you can really maximize your cash back this way!
In addition to acting as a shopping portal, Honey will try using every available coupon it can on your order to save you more money. In my experience, Honey is not that great at finding coupons, but the Honey Gold definitely adds up quickly!
This is another program I would say there is no reason NOT to use, since it's free and it's giving you free money back on your purchases.
Discounted gift cards offer another way to save money on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, as you can usually get much cheaper this time of year!
Many companies run gift card sales where they offer $5-$25 as a bonus when you buy a gift card to their store. The best way to check on these deals is to search Slickdeals for "STORENAME + gift card" or go to the store/website and see if they're running any promotions.
Another option is to use Raise.com to find discounted gift cards. Many times, you can get these gift cards instantly, so you could even buy them right before you checkout.
Prior to purchasing a gift card, I like to check Gift Card Zen to see what website offers the highest discount for the gift card I'm looking for. This works similar to CashBackMonitor for portals.
This one is a given, since this blog is all about credit cards, but regardless, here it is again: Always use a credit card (as long as you pay it off in full).
Credit cards offer a lot of perks that debit and gift cards don't, such as price protection (see the next tip), extended warranty, fraud protection, and much more! Not only that, but they also earn you points, miles, or cash back which helps add to your bottom line!
Since there are so many different credit cards out there, with each earning a different type and amount of rewards, I suggest using Wallaby to track which credit card to use at each store. That way I ensure I maximize the rewards I am earning, as it's a challenge to keep track of 20+ credit cards.
That being said, you can't really use a credit card if you're using a gift card, so you'll need to decide what's more important to you: rewards and CC perks or a percentage off your purchase. The way I make this decision is if I can save 5-10% more with a gift card, I'll go that route, but if not, I'll just use my credit cards.
One amazing perk of using a credit card is price protection. What is price protection you ask? It works like this: If you buy an item for say $50 and then that same item is on sale at a different retailer next month for $20, you can find file a price protection claim with your credit card for the $30 you overpaid.
Many credit cards offer this feature, but I've personally only used it on Discover It and Chase Freedom.
This specific perk is ideal for doorbuster deals, as those are the types of deals are usually in store only and there is usually a limited amount of items available, so they're hard to get. For these types of deals, you just buy the item early for the higher price, then after Black Friday, you submit a price protection claim for the difference. I've done this many times and it works great!
On RetailMeNot, I just search the store name that I'm looking for and then I have access to all their coupons.
On Slickdeals, I search "STORENAME + coupon" to find any available coupons.
Another app I've been using lately is Shopular. This is a mobile app that shows you the ad circulars for virtually every brick and mortar store. It also has a convenient search feature where you can quickly locate a store and see what coupons they're running currently.
This is a more advanced method specifically targeted at resellers, but it would work for someone who hates shopping on Black Friday as well.
If you don't want to go out shopping or you want more bodies shopping for certain items, hiring a personal shopper is a great way to go. The best way to do this is by posting an ad on Facebook, so that you're more likely to hire someone you trust, or by using an app like Task Rabbit, which helps you hire local help for odd jobs.
By taking advantage of most of these tips and tricks, you can absolutely make sure you get the best deal(s) out there!
If you have any tips that I missed, please share them in the comments.