Black Friday is my Super Bowl. Every year I create a game plan for my online shopping for Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals and then wait till game day (aka the day after Thanksgiving and the Monday after that) to execute the game plan. I like to compete with myself to see if I can save more money this year than I did last year.
My girlfriends joke that I’m the queen of the Black Friday deals because I can bargain hunt like no-one’s business.
If you’ve never experienced the magic of online Black Friday shopping this year is the year to start.
Why Shop Online on Black Friday
1. nO CRAZY CROWDS TO DEAL WITH
Never again will you have to play a game of chicken with another Honda Odyssey in the mall parking lot. The parking is nuts, the crowds are nuts and it’s all just too people-y for me. Have you seen the videos of people rushing stores for the big-ticket items and trampling other people? No thank you.
2. SHOP IN YOUR PJS
I can roll out of bed on Black Friday and shop all the Black Friday deals while still in my PJs. Then once I’m done shopping I can eat some turkey leftovers and go back to bed for a while. That’s a win-win in my book.
3. SAVE MORE MONEY
I have found that you actually save more money shopping online for Black Friday than you do in-store since you can combine online rebate and cashback programs with the Black Friday deals. Saving more money and not having to deal with hassle seems like a no-brainer to me.
5 Tips to save money on black friday
1. Set a budget
If you don’t have a very clear, very firm budget in mind for Black Friday and Christmas shopping then you are going to go overboard. Sit down and realistically go over your finances. Despite what all the stores and marketing want you to believe, the holidays shouldn’t be a time to go into debt. Don’t take out a new line of credit or throw things on a credit card just so you can lavish gifts on everyone.
Pick an overall dollar amount for all Christmas gifts and other Black Friday shopping (like buying necessities) and then stick to that dollar amount. If your budget is $1,000 total then don’t spend $1, 268. And if your budget is only $100 total you would be surprised how far you can make $100 stretch with Black Friday sales.
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru whose Financial Peace University had a huge impact on our family and marriage, has some really great tips about creating a Christmas budget. The biggest thing that I do every year is to get everything down on paper, that way it’s easy to see how much I have already spent on each person.
2. Make a plan.
I can’t state this enough. If you go into Black Friday with no clear idea of what you’re looking for or what your budget is you’re going to overspend.
You will impulse buy because everything is such a great deal and at the end of the day you won’t walk away with any of the items you actually needed for Christmas shopping.
Make a list of every single person you need to shop for.
When you’ve got everyone listed out you are less likely to forget about someone or buy too much for one single person.
Make a list of any necessities or items you might want to shop for on Black Friday.
This is an area that people often forget. Black Friday isn’t just for big-ticket items. I often use it as an opportunity to stock up on socks, underwear or gloves for our family. Did your toaster just recently die? Add it to the list.
Take your overall budget and divide it however you see fit amongst all of the people/categories
You can think of this as a sub-budget. So if you know that you have only allotted $40 to spend on your sister you won’t impulsively spend $100 on her. Assign a dollar amount to every person and for the category of necessities/items to buy for you.
For example, say you have $500 budgeted to spend total and you know you want to get some socks and underwear for your kids plus you have 8 people to shop for. Your budget might look something like this:
- Mom- $50
- Dad- $50
- Sister- $50
- Mother in law- $50
- Father in law- $50
- Brother in law- $50
- Kid #1- $80
- Kid # 2- $80
- Family necessities- $40
List gift ideas for each person.
Come up with some ideas of gift ideas for each person. You might have just a general idea of what to be on the lookout for or you might have some really specific items that you know they want. Ex. Aunt Mildred- black sweater, slippers, some type of silver necklace
Use a planner
It’s easier to stick to a plan if you have it down in writing. Use my free Black Friday and Cyber Monday planner to help you make a plan and stick to it. There is even space to track which cashback sites you used and to track price drops.
3. Track items for price drops ahead of time
If you have a very specific item that you would like to buy someone on your list then you can track the price of that item and be alerted the moment the price drops to make sure you get the best price possible.
Honey is a cashback and rewards browser extension that can give you coupon codes to save more money at checkout. One of my favorite Honey features is Droplist. You can add an item from one of Honey’s included shopping sites (ex. Amazon, Sephora, Target, Free People and more)
Once you droplist an item then Honey will track the price and alert you if the price drops below an amount you determined. You have the option to track for 30, 60, 90 or 120 days to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Wikibuy is powered by Capital One and is a price tracker and cash back app and browser extension. It features a Watchlist where you can add an item to price check. Wikibuy will then track the price on the item, comparing it to other stores and alert you when the item drops in price.
CamelCamelCamel is probably the price tracker site with the least bells and whistles. You can only track price drops from Amazon. The one feature that I do really love is that you can integrate it with your Amazon Wishlist so as soon as you add an item to your Wishlist then CamelCamelCamel automatically tracks the price for you.
4. Scope out deals ahead of time
My favorite website to track all of the Black Friday deals and flyers as they are released is BlackFriday.com. Lots of stores release exactly what their Black Friday deals are going to be weeks in advance and many stores have even started having countdown to Black Friday sales.
You can use BlackFriday.com to search through the ads and deals flyers to find the best deals on the items you’re looking for.
5. Use cashback sites
The biggest way you can save money when shopping online for Black Friday is to use cashback websites. You are literally double-dipping since you are already purchasing an item at a discounted sale price and then on top of that you are earning cashback from that purchase.
Some of my favorite cashback websites are:
Sign up for free and earn an automatic $10 cashback when you spend your first $25.
Sign up for free to start tracking price drops and applying coupons for even more savings.
Sign up for free and earn a 300 swagbucks bonus.
I utilize cash back websites every single year when I am Christmas shopping and on average I earn at least $50 cash back if not more. It’s super simple to just apply the cashback website when you’re checking out.
I wrote a full breakdown of all the cashback sites and apps that I use and love where I go more in detail about all of the features and exactly how each one works. By using these cashback sites and apps not only for Christmas shopping but also for weekly grocery shopping I’ve been able to save earn over $400 cash back and counting. The best part is that it required very little effort on my part which makes it a no brainer.