7 Black Friday Hacks

Best Black Friday Tips

Making the Most of Black Friday

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day in the United States. As it has evolved throughout the years, and with the addition of Cyber Monday, the actual day has become less of a focus and many stores have deals throughout the whole month and extended weekend. While many decry the demise of Black Friday, especially since Amazon’s big Prime Day has better deals on Amazon-branded items, there are still a lot of great deals to be had.

Reducing prices on new and exciting toys and gadgets are how many Americans are able to afford gifts for each other before the Holiday Season. Many people rely on Black Friday sales to be able to get their kids and loved ones the things they want.

I remember my parents buying the newspaper before Black Friday and waking up at 5 am to be able to get us toys and other things we needed. One year my sister and I got a Razor Scooter (remember when those were a new thing!?) thanks to a 5 am Walmart trip. They probably would not have been able to afford it had it not been for that sale. They were all the rage back then and “everyone” had one! We were so thrilled and could barely wait for Hanukkah when it was gifted to us.

How do you make the best of Black Friday?

I asked some of the best Personal Finance Bloggers around for their best Black Friday and Cyber Monday hacks and deals to help you get the best bang for your buck (and time!) without getting too caught up in the temptations that surround the biggest shopping day of the year.

Because, as great as the deals are, a deal is not a deal if you can’t afford it. Stores know exactly how to bombard with you with advertising and marketing that ensure that you spend the most money at their stores. Sometimes they do such a good job that they even pass off not such great deals as great sales and door busters. BUT: They don;t have your best interest in mind and they aren’t the ones paying the credit card bills months after Black Friday is over. They aren’t the ones paying interest on purchases that already in the trash or chasing after rebate money that you were counting on to pay for those pricey electronics.

So the best advice for Black Friday shopping is: Shop Smart. Make Smart Decisions and remember: A Deal is not A Deal if You Can’t Afford It!

And without further ado, here are the tips that will get you the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

7 Black Friday Hacks

7 Best Black Friday Tips:

  1. Brian from Debt Discipline: The best tip I can offer for Black Friday, and it may be an obvious one, is to have a plan for what you are shopping for. Use the power of the internet to research any item on your list ahead of Black Friday and make sure you are getting the best deal. Just because it’s a Black Friday deal, doesn’t mean it’s the best prices, do your homework!
  1. JoeHx from JoeHx Blog: Plan what you want to get BEFORE seeing the “deals.” Make sure what you’re buying actually is a deal and isn’t simply discounted after raising the price the week before. Finally, don’t buy anything just because it’s on “sale.”
  1. Mr. SR From Semi-Retire Plan: Plan ahead! Especially when shopping Black Friday at a brick and mortar retail store, the big ticket items often quickly sell out. Check the sales at your local retailers online before the sale begins. Then plan strategically so you can be at the front of the line for the item that will offer you the biggest savings — like you would “bee line” to the most popular roller coaster at an amusement park right when the park opens.
  1. Jarek from Time in The Market: Check out websites such as slickdeals.net. There are people on there doing most of the legwork for you and posting the best deals. Even reddit has useful subreddits such as r/frugalmalefashion or r/frugalfemalefashion that will help you spot deals with almost no work.
  1. Kevin from Just Start Investing: Have a plan! There are deals everywhere on Black Friday, obviously, but just because something is on a crazy good deal doesn’t mean you should buy it. Scope out what you need ahead of time and find the best deals for it, and avoid making any impulse purchases that you’ll regret a few weeks later!
  1. MC at Keeping Up With The Bulls: Don’t use Black Friday and that something is “such a great deal” to justify spending. Instead, be very pragmatic about your purchases. What are things you buy regularly that you may be able to get a deal on during Black Friday or Cyber Monday? What gifts will you be buying for the holidays, what is the normal price of these items and is there a better price during Black Friday or Cyber Monday? There are lots of deals during the holiday shopping season, if you’re not deliberate with your purchases it’s easy to spend way more than you planned and regret spending so much!
  1. Enoch from Savvy New Canadians: Your Black Friday preparations should begin several weeks before. Start with making a list of the things you need to buy and do your research by clarifying the technical specifications for electronics, identify the models you prefer, compare prices, warranties, return policies and determine how much you plan to spend on shopping. Make a note of the time your preferred stores go live with deals online and also the in-store shopping hours on Black Friday. Be ready to jump online before the start time in order to avoid delays at the checkout and products getting sold out. I recommend buying big-ticket items first, especially when the discounts are deep. Keep an eye on your spending and don’t break your budget by purchasing what is not on your list. If you use a credit card, plan to pay off your balance quickly, so you don’t carry over debt into the new year.

Don’t forget to KEEP ALL RECIEPTS from your shopping expeditions so that you can return items if you do have buyer’s regret. While I wouldn’t recommend counting on rebates (they often have difficult/complicated rules that are designed to have a high rejection rate), if you are planning on applying for one- keep all the paperwork and receipts in a specific place so there is less of a chance of you misplacing it.

 

As you gear up for some super shopping here are some other great articles to help you keep the spending in check and the deals flowing!

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble- Black Friday

A Deal is Only a Deal if you Can Afford It

Shopping for Gifts

 

Shopping for Clothing on a Dime

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How I Shop for Clothing On a Very Tight Budget

I try not to pay full price. I can’t say never but I really spend a lot of time looking for the best possible deals.

Working with an Extremely Limited Budget

I have an extremely limited budget to buy the things I need. I set aside 10% of my paycheck every month for clothing, shoes, toys, household items etc and that amount is all I am able to spend. You may be thinking that I have quite a large budget but then again you have no clue how small my paycheck is:) With 2 kids who are constantly needing new things and stuff that keeps breaking (why?!?) its a constant challenge to get the things we need with the money we have.

Take shoes. I always heard and read about mother complaining about “keeping kids in shoes” but I had NO IDEA how many shoes my kids would ACTUALLY go through! Shoes get ruined and kids outgrow them faster than you can blink. And that’s not including any boots or slippers or dress shoes!

I wish I had Hand-me-downs

I also don’t have any friends or relatives with kids who are a year older than mine so hand-me-downs are few and far between!

Sometimes I feel like all I do is shop. But I don’t actually spend any money- I just keep on looking and looking for things that I need at a price point I can afford.

“Stocking-up” on Clothes and Shoes

Since I do have an “envelope” for these items, I always have “some” money to spend on sales and stocking-up. For example, I was recently at Target and they had boy’s sneakers for ridiculously cheap. Since I already have the cash set aside I was able to buy each kid a pair in the next size up. This saves me money and the stress of not being able to find anything affordable when they will need new shoes.

But I don’t just stock-up or buy things for the next season- I have a system that I follow.

My System

Continue reading “Shopping for Clothing on a Dime”

No More Meal Planning!

Using Building Blocks Instead of Meal Planning

A Twist on Meal Planning

So I seem to use the word “twist” a lot:) probably because there are so many great ideas and concepts out there that ALMOST work for me and my family but not quite. And it’s the not quite part that makes it hard to implement or basically pointless to do.

I have talked before about going grocery shopping BEFORE planning for the week because it easier to stay in budget when you are shopping for sales, not shopping for specific items. Then you can plan your meals around what you bought. The problem is that I never get around to the actual planning of the meals part. Or the remembering to prepare it part. Even when I do plan it by the time I finish work I am usually exhausted and my kids are home and need FULL ATTENTION so its not really the time to start cooking dinner with all my healthy ingredients that I purchased. I could plan and defrost the night before but that rarely happens because, you know, life.

Meal Planning

Enter BUILDING BLOCKS

Its basically meal prep for the week. But not. I don’t make a week’s worth of dinners for my family or lunches for me in advance. What I do is I take a few hours and create the building blocks of a few meals. I don’t need to decided in advance what dishes I will be making- I just prepare ingredients. Than I can decide every day what I am in the mood of and what works for me time-wise.

Continue reading “No More Meal Planning!”