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How to save the most on Black Friday

November 9th, 2017

Black Friday is fast approaching, signalled by the inundation of deals at every turn. As the biggest shopping day in the US, there’s huge savings to be made whether you’re shopping for a new fridge or the latest drone.

However, it’s easy to get carried away and end up spending more than you bargained for. Here are my top tips for saving as much as possible on the year’s biggest day for deals:

Make a list and check it twice

To truly master Black Friday, you should start planning ahead. Make a list of the essentials and another list of ‘nice to haves’; items you want, but can live without. This way, you can hunt down what store is offering the best deal on a particular item. Some stores may release their details closer to the date, but many are getting in early and advertizing details now. You may find that the best deal is online and won’t have to battle against others for a doorbuster deal. Win!

Another great benefit of having a pre-prepared list is that you have the opportunity to research the actual make and model. Just because a product is 90% off, doesn’t mean it’s a great deal if it’s going to fall apart in the first few weeks of use. Check out the product reviews and even pick out two options, in case you miss a deal on one of them.

Hold out for the sales (if you can)

Our research team here at finder.com discovered that just under half of Americans (48%) hold out on purchases in anticipation for Black Friday. There are lots of deals on essentials or household items, so try to hold out for them in case they’re marked down. This isn’t possible in some cases (if you run out of toilet paper, you’re going to need some more!) but where it is, do your best to resist.

Purchase the bigger items first

It’s the higher value items that you’ll generally find the biggest savings on. If your list is long, prioritize these items first since you’re likely to get the best savings. These big ticket items generally cover electronics, like TVs, or home appliances like an oven or air-conditioning unit.

Understand the store policies

Unfortunately, it isn’t as common for stores to extend their return days anymore. Make sure you check the store policy for those you think there is a chance you’ll want to take an item back. You can do this by phoning them or looking up their policies online. As well as the return period, you’ll also want to find out their policies on price matching and exchanges. These could all factor in in the long-run.

As a rule, make sure to keep a firm hold on the receipt, especially if it’s a gift. Some of the bigger stores keep a list of those who ‘abuse’ their return policies – you don’t want to end up on that!

Make sure the deal you’re considering is actually a good deal

Black Friday is all about amazing deals but sometimes, those deals aren’t quite as incredible as they’re made out to be. The actual discount may turn out to be quite minimal, despite the enormous sale signs surrounding it. There are apps and extensions out there that can help with this. CamelCamelCamel lets you know if an item on Amazon has been cheaper before, and Invisible Hand tells you if what you’re looking at is cheaper on another site.

Don’t be afraid to hunt down Black Friday groups on social media. Facebook has a number of popular Black Friday-specific groups dedicated solely to hunting great prices. The people around you can sometimes be the best source for the hottest deals.

Keep on top of it all

With so many amazing deals being advertised to you left, right and centre, it’s important to maintain a cool head and your game plan. It’s easy to overspend and splurge on something you don’t really need, so make sure your plan is rock-solid. And most of all, enjoy finding the best deals you can!

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Jennifer McDermott is the Consumer Advocate at personal finance comparison website finder.com. She tells you how to correctly shop on Black Friday.

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