These Black Friday shopping tips will help you find better deals and save more on holiday shopping — with less legwork.
With the chaos and hype that surrounds Black Friday, shoppers who plan to visit stores should make sure the deals they get are worth the long lines. Before you set out to wade through crowded store aisles, you need a game plan. These shopping tips will help you save more on holiday shopping — with less legwork.
Compare prices in ads
Many major retailers promote Black Friday ads in advance.
Brent Shelton, an online shopping expert for FatWallet, said users of the site “also vet out the bad deals, offer suggestions and post price mistakes.” When you’re on a deals site, be sure to check out user comments on Black Friday ads, articles or other information to see what other smart shoppers think.
Check for promo codes
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“One of the biggest mistakes a shopper can make is assuming that the ad price is the lowest price,” said Rebecca Lehman, manager of content marketing for Brad’s Deals. “My favorite example for this is Kohl’s Black Friday sale, where just about everything in the ad is also eligible for further discounts with promo codes.”
Many Black Friday and holiday ads will include coupons, and retailers will also offer plenty of coupon codes valid when shopping online. “Do not buy anything online without first looking for a coupon,” said Louis Ramirez, senior features writer for DealNews.
To make sure you’re not missing any from your favorite retailer, subscribe to its email list and get them delivered to your inbox. Sites like CouponSherpa, RetailMeNot and Coupons.comwill help you save more.
Watch for gift cards
In-store gift cards are a popular Black Friday deal that some major retailers offered last year to sweeten offers for customers. Shoppers will probably see some of these gift cards up for grabs again this year.
But pay close attention to the fine print on these gift cards. Unlike the ones you buy, these cards have expiration dates and will probably have to be redeemed before the end of the year. After their redeem date passes, they’ll be worthless.
Use your smartphone
Follow your favorite stores on social-media apps. Retailers often reveal exclusive deals to their followers. “We have seen interesting things happening in the last few years, like Sephora sending sneak peeks (of) their Black Friday deals to followers on Snapchat last year,” Lehman said.
Some stores also offer special rewards to smartphone users who download their apps.
Sign up for loyalty programs
Many retailers give their loyalty members early access to the offers and additional opportunities to save.
Members of the Toys ‘R’ Us rewards program, for example, earn $5 for every $125 spent at the brand’s stores. These rewards can stack with other deals for even bigger savings.
Earn cash back
Black Friday shoppers can earn cash back on their holiday purchases by taking advantage of other offers. Cashback sites like BeFrugal, Ebates and FatWallet can offer customers cash back on qualifying purchases. The app Ibotta does the same for mobile shoppers.
BeFrugal offers up to 8.5 percent back at Amazon and JCPenney, while Ebates offers 3 percent back at Sears and Macy’s.
Cardholders of a cashback credit card will also get back some of the money they spend on Black Friday purchases. By simply being strategic about how you pay, you’ll qualify for even bigger savings.
Cardholders should check for other perks, like a credit-card price matching policy, said Lehman. “Read up on your credit card’s price matching policy, and then consider buying your picks early,” she said. It might take a little work, “and model numbers have to match exactly, but for (many) items it can be a great way to beat the rush.”
Set price alerts
“Prices on items fluctuate not only from store to store, but also from day to day on any given website,” said Regina Conway, a consumer expert at Slickdeals. “If you’re shopping for a particular item, your best bet is to set a deal alert on Slickdeals.net — that way you’ll be notified when the best price becomes available.”
FatWallet offers a similar tool: “I set up topic alerts,” Shelton said. “Every time a deal or discussion happens that matches my keyword, I get an alert that offers me a chance to buy the superhot items that can often sell out quickly.” This makes hunting down Black Friday deals easier.