The day after Thanksgiving — aka Black Friday — promises to be the busiest shopping day of the year, with the average American shelling out more than $400 to score their deals. We tapped the insight of shopping pro and personal finance expert Trae Bodge, Hip2Save founder Colin Morgan, and How to Coupon Effectively ($9.99, Amazon) author Lauren Greutan for their Black Friday strategies and pro tips on how to get even more for your money.
Compare Prices Quick
Forget spending hours scouring circulars. Instead, you can check out our sister site First for Women‘s guide to the best deals of the year or log on to a deals site, like Brad’s Deals or Slick Deals, advises Bodge. (Mobile shoppers can also download the free Flipp app). That way, you can simply search for an item you want to find the store that has it at the cheapest price. “This helps you plan your shopping strategy for the big day in one click,” Bodge explains.
Map Out Savings
With only so many hours in a day, you’ll want to plan out where you should go first. “You’ll find the best deals for clothing at JCPenney; toys at Target; and small appliances at Macy’s and Kohl’s,” reveals Morgan.
Nab a Price Match
While some retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart will be suspending their price-matching policy on November 29, many others — including JCPenney and Lowe’s — will continue to offer their usual price-matching benefits if you find the same item for less elsewhere, says money whiz Greutman. “Check a store’s price policy on their website.”
Be an Even Earlier Bird
“During the past several years, Black Friday has been turning into a longer event, with lots of stores offering savings earlier in the week,” says Morgan. To find these earlier-than-early-bird deals, visit a store’s Facebook page, sign up for their mailing list or go to Best Black Friday, which rounds up Black Friday — and pre-Black Friday — specials.
A whopping 56 percent of us plan to shop at small neighborhood stores on Black Friday. “Local retailers tend to offer more in-store, rather than online, deals,” says Greutman. While you’re there, ask about specials they’ll be running the following day, Saturday, November 30. This is “Small Business Saturday,” an annual shopping event that sees independently owned businesses offering their best holiday discounts.
Know When to Wait
Just because it’s Black Friday doesn’t mean everything is a bargain. What’s worth waiting for? “Holiday-themed gifts and winter apparel tend to be more aggressively discounted in December,” notes Bodge. “And while you’ll typically find better deals on Black Friday for electronics, things like apparel and beauty products are cheapest on Cyber Monday. With just a little planning, you can shrink your holiday shopping bill [by] half.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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