8 Tips to Make Black Friday a Savings Success

8 Tip to Make Black Friday a Savings Success | www.TheHeavyPurse.comIt may be hard to believe, but we are closing in on Thanksgiving and the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. Now I must confess that you won’t find me up at 3:00 AM standing in line at my favorite store. If we don’t travel for Thanksgiving, I typically host a big Thanksgiving meal, so Friday is my day to recuperate. But I know it’s an annual tradition for many people. Since I’m a big fan of tradition, I understand why so many of you look forward to this early morning pilgrimage.

From rising before dawn and huddling in the cold with their friends and family to scouring the stores for amazing deals and celebrating your shopping success with breakfast at your favorite restaurant, many love Black Friday. For some people, Black Friday is a must because it helps them stretch their holiday budget, thanks to all the great deals they find. Others wind up blowing their budget because they can’t say “no” to every great bargain they run across. Like anything, it’s best to have a plan of action, so you can shop until you drop while saving money and sticking to your budget.

8 Tips to Surviving Black Friday

To take advantage of the great sales and door busters on Black Friday, follow these tips to build your plan and shop guilt-free.

#1: Have a Black Friday Budget

This goes beyond just a budget for Black Friday but setting an overall Holiday Budget, first and foremost. You don’t want to inadvertently give yourself the gift of debt this Christmas, which happens to so many and it often starts by overspending on Black Friday. Sadly, there is no return policy when it comes to the debt you acquired over the holidays. Before you leave home, know exactly how much money you can spend and hold yourself to that amount.

Bonus Tip: If you have struggled to stay within budget in the past, you may want to make this a cash-only Black Friday. Once your money is gone; it’s gone.

#2: Make a List of Sale Items You Plan to Purchase

Any veteran Black Friday shopper will tell you that it’s not for the faint of heart. There are hordes of shoppers looking to score great deals, so this is not the time to window shop or browse. The good news is you’ve been inundated with flyers and coupons. Review the list of people you plan to buy gifts for this year (and remember—you don’t have to buy everyone a gift or you could make homemade gifts instead) then find items that fit your budget and don’t allow yourself to spend more than you allocated for each person.

#3: Be Mentally Prepared

Marketers do an amazing job to lure you into their stores with great door busters. Never forget their goal is to get you inside and entice with you other merchandise beyond their Black Friday specials because that is how they make money. They don’t make money off their door busters. They will do everything possible to make it easy for you to load up your shopping cart.

You have to shore up your defenses so you don’t automatically grab things you don’t need because:

  1. The deal is too good;
  2. The item will be gone if you don’t grab it now;
  3. The sales clerk pushed you towards a more expensive item.

Many people get caught up in the frenzy of Black Friday and actually feel stressed if other shoppers seem to be finding better deals. Some will even start filling up their shopping cart out of panic. Stay calm and focused on your list. It’s not a competition.

#4: Differentiate Between Good Deal and Hype

Black Friday has become synonymous with great deals on electronics, and everyone wants their TV for $100 or less, even if they don’t need a TV. Remember, every store has a very limited supply of those fabulous deals.

The prices may be rock-bottom, but they are generally not name-brand electronics either. This may not matter to you, but don’t forget TVs are heavily discounted before the Super Bowl too. You probably won’t find any $100 TVs, but it is unlikely you will have to deal with shortage issues and will find good prices on higher-quality, longer-lasting TVs.

#5: Compare Prices and Brings Ads with You

These days it’s easier than ever to comparison shop to ensure you get the best price possible. Don’t forget many stores will also match prices. So review Black Friday ads carefully and know the store policies, specifically their price-matching and return policies. Instead of running around to 3 or 4 or more stores, you may be able to do all of your shopping at one store that will match the prices of their competitors. Now you’ve not only saved money, but also valuable time too. Now that’s a real win-win in my book.

#6: Sign-Up for E-Mail Alerts and Follow on Social Media

Most businesses have social media accounts and email lists you can sign-up for and receive updates on new products, exclusive deals and sales. Now is the time to sign-up, paying close attention for exclusive deals, coupons and coupon codes. Most businesses give a few bonus or exclusive perks to those who follow them, so take advantage of them.

Bonus Tip: After Black Friday or the holiday season is over unsubscribe to the email alerts and social media accounts. The offers can be too tempting for some and lead to unnecessary spending. Use the offers to your advantage now and cancel afterwards. You can always resubscribe next holiday season.

#7: Do Some Advance Shopping

You can pretty much find all the Black Friday Ads online already, so you know what the good deals are. Don’t wait until Black Friday to scope out the deals in person. If there are clothing items you were interested in for yourself and/or your family, try them on now. Don’t wait in line for the dressing room on Black Friday. Go in knowing what fit and what didn’t. Take your kids through the toy aisle and point out some of the toys you were considering. Ask them which ones they like best. Or if there is something else they preferred. No matter how inexpensive a toy is, if it’s not something your child wanted, then it is a waste of money.

#8: Wait for Cyber Monday

Once upon a time, going to the store and dealing with the crowds was the only way to save money on Black Friday, Thankfully those days are over. Many stores offer great deals online on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Many stores lower their threshold to receive free shipping or outright offer free shipping on Cyber Monday too. You won’t receive the packages overnight but should receive them in plenty of time. The best part of shopping online, beyond being able to do it in the comfort of your own home, is you no longer have to make a snap decision, which happens a lot when there is a crowd breathing down your neck. You can make a mindful choice, rather than a rushed one, which is always better for your holiday budget.

A Black Friday Tradition

Some dismiss Black Friday for being too consumer-driven, but you can find some great deals to help stretch your holiday budget. You just have to be smart about how you shop, so you remain in control of your money. On Wednesday, Tanya is going to share some apps that can help you save money this Black Friday.

Do you camp out with friends and family in front of your favorite store for Black Friday? Or are you more of a Cyber Monday shopper? Or neither? Share with us how you find the best deal during the holidays.


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November 17, 2014  •  34 Comments  •  Christmas

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  1. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I have never been one to succumb to the Black Friday craziness, but I think that now, you have to be really smart about it because many times stores have better deals online or the week following Black Friday. So even if you find something, you should keep tracking your items over the next few weeks to see if they drop prices so that you can go back to the store and get your item price matched. Having a budget and a list are great tips too, I think people get easily distracted by all of the store set ups that they tend to buy more than they need.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      Great point, Shannon. These days the best deals aren't necessarily on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, especially if you're not searching for a specific, high-priority gift. The store create a lot of hype to get people excited and ready to spend.
  2. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I despise Black Friday. With that being said, I need a new business laptop so I am on the lookout for deals. I will not stand in line at 3:00 a.m. but I am hopeful I can find something on Cyber Monday! My laptop is on its last legs.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      I'm sure you'll find a good deal, Holly. They always seem to have good deals on Cyber Monday, especially on electronics!
  3. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    So, I think I'm one of the only people who goes Black Friday "shopping" and doesn't really shop. I actually enjoy the hustle and bustle with my holiday coffee treat in hand. I love the holiday spirit of it all. My boyfriend says this is like going out into rush hour when you don't have to go to work - lol! But I just can't help myself; I love the start of the season.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      LOL! I love it, Natalie. I know for many Black Friday is the real start of the holiday season and they just enjoy being a part of it and there is nothing wrong with that!
  4. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    Great tips Shannon...if you like to go shopping on Black Friday. :) I've never been much of a BF shopper and do all I can to avoid it now. We're typically close to being done before Thanksgiving so we'll just use Amazon to fill in whatever we haven't bought yet. That said, great point on #4. I think many retailers count on us thinking everything is a deal when it really isn't.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      I'm a big fan of Amazon and shopping online. A lot less stressful and you can find some great deals too. Yes, retailers really do a great job creating an environment that gets people to open their wallet and hype is a big part of that.
  5. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I have never participated in Cyber Monday, but I do hear you can get really good deals. I think this year I'm just gonna do some window shopping to see what these stores have to offer online. I absolutely hate Black Friday and look forward to sleeping in.....I can smell the leftover turkey now.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      I'm with you Petrish! You can typically find some really great deals on Cyber Monday and generally most retailers offer free shipping too, so it's just more convenience all around, although you still have to mindfully spend. :)
  6. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I wouldn't want to shop on Black Friday just because of the throngs of people. I intensely dislike crowded spaces. You offered wise tips however for those who would like to.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      I'm not huge fan of crowds and waiting in line either, which is why I prefer Cyber Monday over Black Friday.
  7. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I'm in the neither category. Hurray! The day after Thanksgiving to me is one of working off my meal from the day before and probably going to see a movie. But then shopping has always kind of drained me so thankfully I have that going for me!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      I prefer relaxing after Thanksgiving too. :) I enjoy shopping but the overly crowded stores can take some of the fun out of it.
  8. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I used to go Black Friday shopping a lot, but since we've moved to the country, I prefer to stay home where it's cozy, comfy and much less crowded. :-)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      It is hard to leave the comfort of home when you know how crowded and crazy the stores will be. :)
  9. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    My goal this year is to be done shopping before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday season without thinking about consumerism. I don't like crowds, so I'm hoping to avoid all Black Friday hoopla.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      Good for you, Kim. It always feels good when you're done with your holiday shopping and can just sit back and enjoy the season!
  10. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    Black Friday is the number one PTO request I get from my employees, more than Christmas, 4th of July or any other time of the year. They love it, plan strategy with family to hit several different stores at the same time. It drives me crazy.

    However on the other end my sister owns a store at the mall and it is make or break for her. It is the only day and week she actually works at the store to make sure to maximize sales because a bad week means they will break even and a great week and great December can double sales for the year. It's interesting to watch them load up the top inventory of the year just for this time so I've seen it from the consumer point of view and the store.

    My personal point of view of Black Friday is to stay in bed....and then of course go to work since all my employees are gone shopping so someone has to hold down the fort.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      Black Friday is a popular day off for my employees too, although not all of them partake in Black Friday. They just want a long holiday weekend. Black Friday is a big deal to store owners and they count on it to keep them in business. It is definitely interesting to see it from their perspective too.
  11. Monday, November 17th, 2014
    I think the whole "late night" Black Friday gig is coming to an end. Best Buy is opening on Thanksgiving at 5pm and closing at 1am (before re-opening again on Friday morning). I think this is better than the late night craziness, because you could technically get a few things and come home and still have Thanksgiving dinner ON Thanksgiving. But I showed my Mom last Thanksgiving that Kohls had the same deals online as in store on Black Friday and she was in complete shock. She was so happy that she didn't have to go wait in the cold!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      I noticed that you can find many of the same deals online on Black Friday too. Maybe a few of the door busters are store only, but you have to be first in line to get some of those anyway. It is much nicer to shop from the comfort of your home.
  12. Monday, November 17th, 2014

    I love these ideas. You are so correct that the first thing we need to do is ensure we have a budget because if not we find ourselves creating debt that may take us the following year to pay off. Black Friday is one of those events that we have to prepare for mentally because it can be challenging if you are not use to crowds and I am glad you mentioned that here.

    A seasoned shopper will also know hype from a good deal and if not it is important to educate yourself and be organized before you arrive. As you mentioned you could also wait until Cyber Monday which is what a lot of my friends do because they love the online experience much better.

    Thanks for preparing us for this upcoming attraction. Your points are awesome and well taken!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      Thanks, Nate! I prefer Cyber Monday too. It's just easier and nicer to shop without feeling so pressured. The pressure probably helps stores sell more, but it's not so great for the consumer.
  13. Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
    Hi Shannon,

    I've only done one Black Friday event and I will never do it again, LOL! Not only was it too cold and raining but the crowds! I've never seen such rude people.

    I love that you started with setting a budget...of course you would :). That's the most important thing. We avoid using the credit cards and pay cash. I only take what I'm going to spend and $20 for gas or lunch. I take out the calculator and carefully shop for gifts to make sure I stay under budget. It's a process but for three years in a row I have come under budget with our holiday budget.

    Advance shopping is another great tip. There was a report on our local news that there are better sales going on now than there will be on Black Friday. I'm taking advantage of that one myself.

    As usual you give great advice! Thanks for sharing :). Hope you're having a great week! Are you ready for Thanksgiving?
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
      You know me too well, Corina! Budget has to come first - that way you can shop guilt-free. :) That's fantastic that you've come under budgets for three years in a row! Way to go, my friend. It does take some work but it feels so good! Doing a little pre-shopping can make Black Friday shopping go smoother, especially if you're looking at clothes. Who wants to stand in line for the waiting room? I am ready for Thanksgiving and hope you are too. :)
  14. Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
    I used to go shopping on Black Friday in US, but now that I am in Sydney. I will miss this, but I heard that there are still more opportunities or sales after this event especially in December. Still with a list of gifts I haven't prepared for Christmas to buy....
    • Shannon Ryan
      Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
      There are definitely lots of sales after Black Friday and many will have even better discounts. The stores do a great job hyping Black Friday into a must but there are definitely deals to be found afterwards!
  15. Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
    I think I saw in the news that people were already lining up for Black Friday now, which seems insane to me! I don't really understand the allure, but I do think it's a great idea to set a budget as to not get carried away!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
      That's insanity! I don't know or how they could do that but to each its own, I guess. Yes, a budget is a must, otherwise it's very easy to get caught up in the moment and have buyer's remorse later.
  16. Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
    Great post with lots of good tips! I won't be out there either, but if I was planning on Black Friday shopping I'd def follow the things you've outlined here Shannon.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
      Thanks, Kayla!
  17. Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
    I think the mental preparation you mentioned is important. Even something as simple as preparing yourself if you aren't able to get that one item you want. It's not worth the emotional strain to get too caught up in Black Friday shopping. My wife and I usually wait until several hours after the doors open, then we go get the smaller deals that are still there. It's safe that way! lol
    • Shannon Ryan
      Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
      Exactly, Kalen! So many people get caught up in the moment or are so determined to get that one item that their emotions get the better of them. When things don't work out quite as they planned, they shop to quench their disappointment or what not. Sounds like you and your wife have a good plan to get the deals without going overboard. :)
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