How to Get the Best Deals on Black Friday
This article shares tips from the 14h episode of Dealista, our podcast that'll help you get more for less.
Assuming you’ve already checked out the deals sites and have an idea of what you may want this Black Friday season, there’s still a bit more preparation that we recommend you make time for BEFORE you head out into the crazy crowds. Surprisingly, most of these tips are not at all high-tech, but they’ve proven effective year after year.
1. Snag that newspaper
We realize that many Black-Friday specific deal sites have had the scans of the ads leaked for days or even weeks. But let’s face it, planning your shopping around digital copies can be cumbersome (and really expensive if you need to print out copies to make notes on). Get the paper on Thanksgiving, and get the deals straight from the horse’s mouth. If you find that you’re missing a circular due to regional paper restrictions, then you can go online and print to your heart’s desire.
2. Comparison shop
With so many of the same “doorbuster” items being offered in each store, your deciding factor may ultimately be price. Many retailers, like Walmart, offer price matching on any competitor’s ad. Other stores will be offering one-of-a-kind or promotional items that can’t be matched. For easy tracking, I like to get out a stack of 3 x 5 cards and title each card by store. Be sure that you know which store is offering the lowest price on the item you want, and indicate it by writing the item down on the appropriate store card.
3. Track times
Stores may be opening as early as 4 a.m. (and a few are buzzing over their midnight madness sales). To keep everything clear, note what time each store opens on its corresponding card. Then sort by which opens the earliest, so that you can hit them in order.
4. Turn in early
Some of your best-laid plans can occur the night before, when you lay out your clothes, pack your purse/wallet/credit cards/cash, gather your ads and notecards, and tuck a breakfast bar or other healthy snack into your to-go bag. Will it be cold in your part of the country at 4 a.m.? If so, bring layers. You’ll want to stay warm when standing outside, but cooler when in the long checkout lines.
5. Be there
The best way to ensure success is to get to the store early. Plenty early. If you’re first in line, head directly to a shopping cart and grab one before they’re gone. Then proceed to the best deals in an orderly fashion. (This is where it’s helpful to bring a friend, as they can hold your cart or place in line, while you scout out additional items.) Don’t forget your receipts for refunds, returns, or gift exchanges!
Additional tips to note:
- With all the buzz surrounding Cyber Monday, it may be tempting to wait out the deals for something cheap you can buy from home. While some stores are already leaking what deals they will make available online the day of Black Friday, most experts agree that the Cyber Monday deals will pale in comparison.
- You’ll also want to be sure to think about what items may not be available during the peak shopping season (remember the Wii shortages?). If you absolutely have to get “the” gift of the season, you might be better off taking advantage of any good sales now — rather than taking the chance of missing out altogether.
- Stores like Walmart have gotten a bad rap for incidents like last year’s trampling of a store employee and have taken some reasonable steps to ensure things go more smoothly this year. If you can, visit each store’s corporate website to see how procedures may differ from year’s past. Walmart, in particular, is offering previews to their sale prices online right now, and even provide a map to see where the limited-stock products will be dispersed throughout the store on the big day.
If you enjoyed these tips you can find more in our show's archive.