1. Check out a store before sales start so you know where everything is.
You may think you don’t have time for this, but if you find a few extra minutes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, it’s worth it. Stores begin to display markdowns on Wednesday night, and if you know where the hot items are located, you can get to them first when the sales start!
2. Sign up for memberships and rewards programs before hitting the stores.
Being part of the “club” can lead to extra savings:
- Amazon Prime members get early access to Lightning deals.
- Sears and Kmart Shop Your Way members were granted early access to online-only Black Friday sales in previous years.
- Toys “R” Us Rewards “R” Us members received early access to Black Friday deals the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
- Costco & Sam’s Club have great Black Friday deals exclusive for their members.
- CVS, Walgreens, and Kmart all give extra discounts in the form of points or rewards.
Tip: Costco has some of the best discounted gift cards. Get 20% off spa certificates, Fandango tickets, local restaurants, even things for the kids like Build-A-Bear and American Girl!
3. Prioritize purchases and avoid impulse buys by focusing on 3-5 items you want to save big on.
You’re not going to be able to go to five different stores on Black Friday and catch all of the doorbuster savings. So, pick 3-5 big items you want to save on, and focus on those.
4. Know product models and specifications.
Last Black Friday I found a Dyson that was less than $200—$40 less than the all-time low for any new vacuum of the same brand! However, it was the previous year’s model. Although It wasn’t the hottest, newest Dyson on the market, I ended up buying it anyway—the price was too good to pass up!
Tip: Use the Amazon app to scan items at any store, and pull up the current selling price as well as sister models to ensure you’re getting the product you want.
5. Shop with discounted gift cards from Raise.com and save an extra 5-25% on top of Black Friday prices.
If you plan to shop Macy’s and other big-box stores on Black Friday, go to Raise.com beforehand and purchase discounted gift cards ($100 gift card for $90, for example) and use them to pay on the big day!
6. Get in line early to nab the free stuff.
Many stores give away coupons, reusable bags—even gloves to the first hundred-or-so shoppers.
7. Know what you want when you get in line, and pay attention to tickets.
Big box stores hand out tickets to crowds before stores open for limited-quantity items. Don’t stand in line for 3 hours only to find that the item you wanted was technically ‘sold out’ before you ever got in the door.
8. The best online and in-store deals are on apparel.
JCPenney is the best place to find hot Black Friday deals on apparel. Last year we saw men’s and women’s outerwear advertised at 50-80% off at JCPenney, along with 60% off most clothing categories. Some of the hottest deals from last year were:
- St. John’s Bay sweaters — $14 (reg. $42)
- St. John’s Bay women’s and men’s coats — $29 (reg. $120)
- Graphic tees — $5 (reg. $12)
- Levi’s denim — $37 (reg. $60)
9. Skip the jewelry and buy jackets and outerwear instead.
Jackets and outerwear are an awesome buy on Black Friday. Jewelry and accessories tend to be cheaper on Cyber Monday.
Related: 35 Brilliant Black Friday Hacks
10. Most of the sales you see advertised at brick-and-mortar stores can also be found online.
Don’t wait for Cyber Monday to shop online, especially for apparel. Online sales start the Monday before Thanksgiving!
11. Stack coupons with Black Friday pricing online.
Follow deal sites like TheKrazyCouponLady.com. We find the best coupon codes and pair them with hot prices so users can save 70-80% on the best name-brand items.
12. Don’t forget about the free and cheap items on sale at the drugstores.
Avoid the hustle, but still get great stocking stuffers at drugstores like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. Each year we see free items including: gum, paper towels, toothbrushes, candy, nail polish, hair elastics, multivitamins, dog treats, earbuds, and more. Other small toys and gifts sell for as low as $1!
13. Watch for free gifts with purchase and calculate that into your final price.
In addition to great discounts, many Black Friday electronic deals often come with free games or accessories, as well as gift cards for future purchases. See this year’s Black Friday freebies list: Things You Can Get for Free on Black Friday.
14. Stock up on wedding and housewarming gifts for the upcoming year.
Don’t just think about buying for holiday gifts. Black Friday is a great time to stock up on presents for every occasion!
15. Use the Amazon app to compare prices.
Black Friday is a great time to use the Amazon mobile app to compare in-store prices with those found online. Although most stores don’t price match on Black Friday, you can pull up competitor prices to make sure you’re not overpaying for anything on your holiday list.
16. Earn rewards and cash while you wait in line.
17. Shop early because some Black Friday prices increase by the hour.
These doorbuster scarves at Old Navy were only $9.99 until 2 PM on a previous year’s Black Friday. Kenmore washers at Sears were the same. We don’t recommend waiting until Friday afternoon to shop because the best prices will be gone!