The holiday season is nearly upon us, which means you can expect to be besieged by advertisements for Black Friday promotions. This year, online deals and sales are expected to still be more prevalent than ever, while in-person shopping may take a backseat due to concerns about COVID-19.
While there is sometimes an undeserved amount of hype surrounding Black Friday, it can be a great opportunity to score deals, get great prices on big-ticket items, and save money on your holiday shopping.
For many people, Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The holiday can be a great avenue to save, but if utilized incorrectly it can make a serious dent in your savings account. Retailers know that shoppers are primed to spend during the holiday season, and will do whatever they can to take advantage of that. Flashy corporate marketing campaigns and discount prices can be enough to seduce even the most prudent of shoppers to splurge on items they don’t need.
To make the most of Black Friday deals and savings, you should try to avoid being overwhelmed by all of the advertising. Instead, you should see this holiday for what it is: an opportunity to save on essential items and gifts that you were already planning on buying.
Budgeting for Black Friday can help you save
The most important way to ensure that you’re taking advantage of Black Friday is to plan ahead. You should make sure to work out a specific budget and avoid overspending on unnecessary items that seem heavily discounted. No matter how good the deal is, it’s not saving you money if it’s something that you don’t need.
Some handy tips for Black Friday budgeting include:
- Make a list and check it twice. Make a list of people you need to purchase gifts for and then search for the best deals online ahead of time.
- Take advantage of deals on essential items. Use Black Friday to buy essential items at a discount, and only spring for non-essentials if your budget allows for it. Look for discounts on shelf-stable household staples like toilet paper and toothpaste that you use frequently. This can help you save money on everyday expenses throughout the year and lower the number of errands you need to run.
- Have a strategy. Be strategic about your Black Friday purchases. Find deals early by searching online and compare discounts on similar items from different branches or brands. Reserve early if you can, and be sure to run your purchase through comparison websites (more on this below) to make sure you’re finding the lowest price.
This kind of planning ahead not only helps you save money but also makes your life a little easier!
Maximize your savings by using rewards credit cards
It’s definitely not a good idea to go into debt when purchasing holiday gifts. However, when used responsibly, rewards credit cards can actually help earn you money while you do your shopping.
There are lots of options to choose from when it comes to rewards credit cards, with hundreds of different credit cards available. Money Under 30’s guide to the best credit cards can help you to narrow down your options.
Cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ can also offer attractive additional perks like sign-on bonuses, rewards for travel, no annual fee, and more.
One of the best ways to save with Chase Freedom Flex℠ this Black Friday is to pay attention to the bonus categories that gives you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined bonus category purchases (after activation). For example, the first quarter of 2022 gives you the option to activate an additional 5% cash back at grocery stores (excluding Target® and Walmart®) and eBay.
At the same time, Chase Freedom Flex℠ also offers 1% on all other purchases, so even if you buy outside of the 5% bonus categories, you’ll still get a decent amount of cash back.
Save even more with cash back apps
In addition to rewards credit cards, you can also rack up savings using a variety of cash back apps. These apps make it easy to save money on each purchase you make without even having to think about it.
Capital One Shopping is an app that you can easily add to your browser in order to maximize your savings when it comes to online shopping. The service applies coupons at checkout and lets you know when prices drop on products you’ve viewed and purchased. They also feature coupons and deals from a variety of popular companies like Blue Apron, Target, Verizon, and more.
Swagbucks is another handy money-making app that can easily help you save on your holiday shopping. With Swagbucks, you can explore coupons and deals from many popular online retailers and earn gift cards when you shop. You can also watch videos and take paid online surveys to increase your earnings. You can cash out on your survey earnings by getting gift cards or have your earnings sent to your PayPal account.
A few top Black Friday deals
It seems like pretty much every business offers a Black Friday deal of one sort or another these days, but there are a few that really stand out from the crowd.
- Best Buy. Best Buy is offering great deals on all kinds of technological gadgets, from TVs and computers to tablets, smart appliances, and more.
- Chewy. Chewy’s Black Friday sales on pet supplies and accessories are great for stocking up on goodies for your furry friend.
- Casper. Casper is offering 15% off on all mattresses, plus up to 60% discounts on sale items.
- Small businesses. Be sure to check out your favorite small businesses to see what Black Friday deals are on offer – many local businesses have been hard hit by the pandemic and could use your support.
Black Friday vs. Small Business Saturday vs. Cyber Monday – what’s the difference?
Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday take place the Saturday and Monday after Black Friday. Historically, Black Friday shopping happened primarily in person at big box stores, Small Business Saturday focused on small, independent retailers, and Cyber Monday sales were designed to be primarily online. In recent years, however, the differences between the sales have blurred, and now many businesses have a weekend-long sale that starts on Black Friday and ends on Cyber Monday.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s holiday shopping is likely to look a little different than in past years. Many retailers are expanding their e-commerce offerings and running more sales online, further collapsing the difference between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. While Black Friday will still feature many of the show-stopper sales, you’ll definitely be able to find attractive deals all weekend (and potentially all month) long.
Black Friday weekend can be a huge financial opportunity, but also a potential pitfall. In order to take full advantage of the sales, you should be sure to plan ahead and scout out potential deals in advance. Black Friday is also a great opportunity to stock up on everyday essentials that you can buy in bulk to rack up significant savings.
As with any sale, you should try to avoid buying things you don’t need just because they’re discounted, and focus instead on essentials and heavily discounted big-ticket items that you were already planning on buying. And this year, in particular, I’d recommend skipping a crowded mall and shopping from the safety and comfort of your own home.