We may be actively in the lead-up to Thanksgiving dinner, but hot on its heels is Black Friday. Much as the big meal on Thanksgiving requires a great deal of advance prep and planning, scoring the best deals on Black Friday also requires mapping out a strategy and making a smart plan of action, which also includes some digital assistance from price-saving apps, extenders and coupons.
Pinpointing savings goals ahead of time is key. “According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF) Americans spent roughly $998 on gifts, food and decorations in 2021. Consider using automated savings tools, like Chase Autosave, to set and reach a savings goal for holiday expenses,” says Sonali Divilek, Head of Digital Products & Channels at Chase.
If possible, get a head start to avoid your favorite items selling out. “In 2021, the NRF found that 61% of consumers had already begun their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving – and that 46% started earlier than they typically do,” says Divilek. Be strategic and start planning now to save yourself stress during the busy holiday season.
Make a shopping plan
This is not that out-there of an idea. I even map out a grocery trip. But it’s a great idea here when things can get pretty frenzied. “It’s important to know that retailers will offer different deals online versus in-store,” says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch.
There’s some confusion about Black Friday now because in the past a lot of the best deals were in stores, hence the frenzy! Now, some retailers have different sales online than in their physical locations. “This can make it hard for shoppers to navigate where to shop,” says Woroch.
The best way to get the deepest discounts is by meticulously mapping out a shopping plan and by doing your research, Woroch explains: “This will require you to write out a detailed list of the items you want to buy and then search online for different Black Friday ads to figure out which stores have the best deal and when that sale will drop, since it may happen before or after actual Black Friday.” For example, you may want to download the FLIPP app since you can compare circulars all in one place.
Check out prior price data
No one wants to spend more than they have to on gifts and other goodies. That’s why you want to make sure an advertised deal is actually the best price you’re going to get for what you are planning to buy. Sites like CamelCamelCamel.com offer historical pricing data for items sold on Amazon while Honey’s browser tool will show you price history for a variety of retailers.
“It could show you that an item was actually lower in price in previous weeks so that would tell you to hold off for another price drop,” says Woroch. A smart strategy is to set sale alerts for the gifts you want to buy, which can help you stay on top of price drops when they happen so you don’t miss out.
Don’t limit yourself to the sale price
Black Friday may be a good sales event, with an opportunity to find great markdowns, but it’s not the only way to get savings. Woroch says to explore the opportunity to get a bigger discount if you apply a coupon code. “Never buy anything without checking for a coupon first. Run a quick search using the store name with the term “coupon code” or bookmark your favorite deal sites like CouponFollow.com which organizes coupons by store name and categories so you can find extra savings quickly,” says Woroch. Other browser tools, such as Cently, will do a search for a coupon and make sure the biggest potential discount is added to your cart.
Play the long game
While it’s possible you will find your best deal on Black Friday, that may not always be the case. The better deal may be on Cyber Monday or even later in the holiday season. “While there are plenty of good deals to take advantage of during Black Friday, some items are better to buy later. Beauty and footwear is best to buy on Cyber Monday, toys will be marked down further the last two weeks of December and winter apparel is cheapest the last few days before Christmas, and right after,” says Woroch. “If you’re eyeing bedding and linens, hold off for the best prices during January’s white sales.”
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