The Frugal Black Friday Shopping Tips You Probably Forgot About
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I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving! If you’ve been here for awhile, you might remember that last Thanksgiving/Black Friday was when I accidentally made over $500 from affiliate marketing and decided to finally get serious about making this blog something special.
I could (and want to) wax nostalgic over the evolution of CHL this year, but now is not the time. Because now it is time to talk about how to save money on Black Friday.
My mom was never a big Black Friday shopper, so when I was growing up I didn’t really care about it. I heard so many stories about friends who would wake up at 3am to start their shopping at 4am and I just thought they were crazy.
Now, of course, Black Friday sales start as early as 6pm on Thanksgiving, so depending on what you’re shopping for, you could theoretically be finished visiting stores by midnight and slip into your tryptophan coma almost on schedule.
Or you could shop online and make your purchases while eating leftover pie and wearing your pajamas.
I’m personally a fan of the latter.
I have actually grown to love Black Friday shopping (online, of course), and so have refined my shopping into a simple system to ensure I save the most amount of money possible!
Organizing Your Black Friday Shopping Experience
Write Your Gift List
Writing your list is so simple (especially with my free printable download!). Just take a few minutes to write down everyone you want to buy a gift for, and any gift ideas you have for each person.
Create A Budget – And Stick To It
I wouldn’t be a frugal living blogger worth my salt if I didn’t remind you that the spending money you don’t have on the cornucopia of “can’t miss” Black Friday deals doesn’t actually save you money. Figure out how much money you can realistically (and comfortably!) spend in total on holiday gifts.
Once you have your total budget, I find it very helpful to divide the amount between everyone on your list. Obviously, this doesn’t have to be “total divided by number of people” equation, since you might want to spend more on your friends than on your kid’s teacher.
Figure out a rough estimate of how much you want to budget for each person, and jot it down next to their name.
Write Out Your Shopping List
This is so super simple, I almost shouldn’t have to write it. But after an infamous Black Friday shopping experience where I spent over $130 at Target on a cart full of pillows, towels, sweatshirts, and a pair of fleecy walruses-wearing-Santa-hats pajama pants (I went in for $3 pillows, guys…), I recognized the power of the list when you do your shopping.
A list keeps you focused, keeps you on budget, and keeps you from forgetting gifts. If you are braving the cold and crowds for your Black Friday shopping, this list is just as important as your warmest coat.
If you are doing your Black Friday shopping online, as I will be, this list will help protect you from the bright and shiny deals declaring “customers who bought this also like ____!”
The Part You Forgot About
Alright, so you have your list of people you’re buying for, you have your budget set, and you scoured all the ads for the best prices and created your shopping list. The mere fact that you set a budget and created your lists has already prepared you for success , but let’s take this a step further and maximize your savings.
Shopping In Stores
If you plan on doing your shopping going store-to-store this year, you need to do a bit more homework. Do you have any coupons for the stores or items you will be purchasing? Gather them together. My favorite method to organize store-specific shopping trips is from Peter’s grandma, who recycles her junk mail envelopes to hold coupons for each store and writes her shopping list on the back of the envelopes. These handy bundles fit easily into a purse or diaper bag and make checkout much faster.
Linking Your Cards for Cash Back
Did you know eBates has an in-store feature? In your eBates account, link your card(s) of choice (debit or credit). Before you shop, swipe through the in-store offers and select the offers you want to use. At checkout, use the card linked to the account and be sure to sign for it instead of entering your PIN. Making a habit of checking in-store offers before you shop anywhere is sure to increase your quarterly Big Fat Check!
Because I prefer to shop in my pajamas where my kids can run around and scream as much as they want without drawing judge-y glances from strangers, I’m all about shopping online. Plus, since some items might be “hot,” it is more likely that a specific store would run out of a product, but not as much if purchased online.
Also, getting packages in the mail will probably never not be fun.
So how can you save money online?
Shop The Rebate Sites
Never, never, never shop online without shopping through a rebate site. Websites like eBates are free to shop through, but reward you with a rebate just for shopping through their platform.
I have found the simplest way to save money with eBates is by downloading their handy little toolbar button, which will pop up whenever you visit a store with rebate opportunities. It will ask you if you would like to activate your eBates shopping to save whatever percentage is available at that store. You can always say no, but – why? If you’re going to make a purchase anyway, might as well get a rebate on it! Rebates are paid out every quarter via either PayPal, check, or e-gift card. I have been paid several times, so yes, it is definitely a real company that sends out real money.
I prefer using eBates out of all the other rebates stores out there because it’s so easy and intuitive, especially with the toolbar button. I dislike signing up for services or websites that can save me money only when I can remember they exist. Plus, you get a $10 rebate on your first order over $25 placed with eBates, so I think that’s pretty fantastic.
Another great feature about the button is that it gathers all available coupon codes for that website at check out, and will ask your permission to run them all to see what extra deals you might qualify for with your purchase. It then applies all the appropriate coupons for an extra layer of savings.
One tip about Black Friday shopping with a new eBates account: do not load your cart with your desired items days before and then come back to purchase them once the sales “drop.” For whatever reason, eBates doesn’t apply that first deal if the items are already in the cart, and you will not qualify for the $10 rebate for $25 purchase deal.
So moral of the eBates story: Sign up for an account for $10 off your first purchase of $25 or more. Install the button in the toolbar so you never have to miss out on saving money again. Go forth and shop!
Acorns “Found Money” Feature
If you have an Acorns investing account, check the Found Money offers available before you shop to see if any of your stores qualify for a percentage of your purchase to be invested in your account’s portfolio. They have partnered with so many popular companies, you are bound to find at least one! Not an Acorns member yet? Go read my review and then sign up for an account to claim $5 from me!
In order to be successful with shopping and budgeting on Black Friday, you have to plan. Be sure you follow these tips for creating lists (that make sense), setting a budget, and squeezing the most out of every penny will go a long way to give even the tightest budget some breathing room. Don’t forget your free holiday gifts printable!
What about you – what do you do on Black Friday? Let me know in the comments!
Oh, and here are my favorite deals so far for Black Friday Shopping: The 2018 Edition, in case you’re interested:
Amazon has already started their Black Friday sales. On basically everything.
The Instant Pot 6qt 7-in-1 DUO model (the one that I have and love so much) is a Kohls doorbuster deal for $69.99 this year. If this is your first order with your eBates account, you will qualify for the $10 bonus rebate (on top of any percentage rebates being offered at the time) plus $15 Kohls cash. This knocks the price down to just over $40 after rebates, which is an amazing deal!
Kohls also has a Canon DSLR camera bundle for just $399.99 (almost 50% off) and it qualifies for $120 in Kohls Cash! If you or a loved one is looking for a good camera, this deal is truly incredible. I barely see these sorts of deals, even on Craigslist.
Target has the very popular 23 And Me DNA Ancestry kits for sale for $59, with a $10 gift card after purchase. These kits are typically at least $100. I’ve heard these are quite interesting results, and people have been pleased with the quality and ease of use.
I’m definitely going to be taking advantage of the massive Target DVD sale and grabbing my own copy of The Greatest Showman for $4 and Wonder Woman for $6 (my two favorite movies of 2018 by far!).
Macy’s is loaded with items that are free after rebate as part of their doorbuster. Many kitchen appliances are on sale for just $19.99, and they come with a $12 mail-in rebate, bringing these blenders (standard or immersion), essential oil diffusers, and even air fryers down to just $7.99!
The Ninja Coffee Bar (that I own and love) will be just $99.99 at Macy’s, and the Ninja Mega Kitchen System (the blender and food processor model I own) is on sale for $129.99. Throw in the eBates rebates and that’s a nice chunk of change saved on the two most-used kitchen appliances in my home!
Did you find this helpful? Share with your frugal friends!