If standing in a huge crowd at Walmart on Black Friday gives you anxiety, you’re not alone.
Last Black Friday weekend, over 10 million more Americans shopped online than in stores.
That’s why it’s crucial to have a game plan this year so you can triumph over the average consumer and get ALL. THE. DEALS.
Check out our Black Friday Deals page so you’re poised to strike when the deals hit. And learn these 34 Black Friday tips that are essential if you’re shopping from home:
1. Get the deals sooner when you shop online.
2. Plan to start shopping about a week before Black Friday.
You can mostly thank Amazon for this one.
Last year Amazon started releasing lightning deals every 5 minutes or so starting November 16th. Black-Friday-esque deals lasted until December 22nd with super discounts occurring the five days of shopping from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — aka the “Turkey 5.”
But Amazon wasn’t the only store to release deals early. Kohl’s started their Black Friday sales the Monday before Turkey Day. And Target had “10 Days of Deals” starting November 19 – November 28th.
3. Thanksgiving Thursday is actually the best day to shop.
Online sales usually begin earlier than in-store Black Friday deals. For instance, last year Walmart’s in-store sales didn’t start until 6 pm Thanksgiving evening. Their online deals, however, went live at midnight.
Here’s when deals went live Thanksgiving week last year:
Kohl’s – 12:00 am CST Monday
Macy’s – 12:00 am PST Wednesday
Best Buy – 12:01 am EST Thanksgiving
JCPenney – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
Target – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
Kmart – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
Walmart – 12:00 am PST Thanksgiving
Staples – 12:00 am Thanksgiving
Sears – 12:00 am CST Thanksgiving
4. Be online as soon as sales start.
In-store shoppers only have to compete with locals for deals. However, when you shop online, you’re competing on a nationwide level.
So you’re gonna have to step up your game.
Setting your alarm 10 minutes before a sale begins is a solid start. And hey, if that 12 am wake-up makes you cringe, just remember you can shop the best deals right from your bed — no pants needed!
5. Bookmark product pages ahead of time.
Get first dibs on the items you have your eyes on by bookmarking or favoriting webpages. Then as soon as the sale begins, head to that page with just one click.
6. Or, use different browser tabs for each store.
Toggle between the best store deals like a boss. Set up store browser tabs beforehand and just refresh when the deals start.
7. Keep an Amazon tab on your browser solely for checking reviews.
Amazon is a jungle packed with products — it has pretty much everything. Use this fact to your advantage by looking up reviews, specs, and related deals on items you’re shopping at other sites.
8. Start an Amazon Prime free trial on November 20th.
This will give you ample time to shop all the lightning deals (deeply discounted items that Prime members get early access to) that are only available for a very limited time or until sold out, and take advantage of Prime’s free 2-day shipping before Christmas.
Sign up for a 30 day free trial now.
9. Use Price Grabber and Google Shopping to ensure you’re actually getting a good deal.
Price Grabber and Google Shopping help you compare prices across the Web on pretty much any product within seconds. So before you buy that item that looks like a great deal, ensure you’re not missing out on a better price elsewhere.
Checking prices can also help you determine how much of a discount you’re actually getting. If a Black Friday sale price isn’t that much different than the regular cost of an item, save your dollars for a better deal.
10. Check CamelCamelCamel to find out if Amazon prices are lower than average.
CamelCamelCamel monitors the price of millions of products on Amazon. Use the price history it provides to help you determine whether that Black Friday deal you’ve been eyeing is actually a good deal or if it’s best to wait for a better price later.
For example, say you see an awesome deal on a PlayStation 4 this Black Friday. Drop the Amazon link on CamelCamelCamel, and it’ll pull up the price history, revealing when Amazon sold it cheapest, highest, and its current price. Based on that info, you may want to wait…or go for it.
11. Look for free ship-to-store options to save on shipping costs.
These days you can order stuff online and pick it up for free at some stores (like Nordstrom, Toys”R”Us or Walmart) in an hour. Other retailers will even give you a coupon if you choose store pickup (like Macy’s — they’ll give you a 20% off coupon).
So if you’re in a rush to get your new stuff or want to skip shipping costs, consider ship-to-store. Here are 23 Stores That Offer Free Pickup When You Order Online.
12. Prevent stolen packages by signing up for UPS My Choice and Amazon shipment updates via text.
Get updated right on your phone every time your Amazon package leaves the warehouse and as soon as it’s delivered here.
Or, sign up for UPS My Choice, a free service that lets you control how you want packages delivered. With My Choice, not only will you be alerted when something is about to be delivered via UPS, but you’ll also be able to customize “leave at” instructions for the delivery person. You’ll be given the option to have your package delivered to a pick-up location versus a home address as well.
13. Leave Black Friday deal items in your online cart a week before sales start for faster checkout.
Study your stores’ leaked ads, and add items that will go on sale to your online shopping cart. While you’re at it, make sure your shipping address is up to date, and if you feel comfortable, add your payment information.
Then, abandon your cart, and when deals go live, head back to the retailer and you should see updated sale prices. From there, all you have to do is complete your transaction.
14. Check the Krazy Coupon Lady at least every hour.
KCL will search the Internet for the best deals for you all day on Black Friday. All you have to do is check back often and we’ll show you exactly where to go and which coupon codes to use — in-store and online.
Download KCL’s free app (available on Apple and Android), check KCL’s Facebook, or visit KCL’s Black Friday page frequently throughout Thanksgiving week and Cyber Monday, and we’ll hook you up with stellar deals.
15. Shop Kohl’s and DICK’S Sporting Goods online for doorbusters.
The same in-store doorbusters were also offered online at these two stores last year. Best part? You could access them earlier online than you would at the brick-and-mortar store.
Last year, Kohl’s doorbuster deals became available for online purchase on Monday the week of Thanksgiving. DICK’S made their doorbusters available all day on Thanksgiving — keeping their stores closed until 6 PM on the holiday.
16. Don’t forget about daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.
Groupon and Living Social sell a variety of items averaging around 65% off on Black Friday — but you have to snag these deals as soon as they become available, because they sell out fast. (Last year sales went live at 12:00 am Friday on Groupon.)
Here are just some of the items we saw last year on Groupon: 50% off Ray-Ban sunglasses, 69% off robotic vacuums, 79% off men’s jackets, 83% off electric toothbrushes, up to 90% off jewelry, and 67% off camera drones.
Some of the deals on LivingSocial were: monogramed necklaces for $26 (reg. $99), DNA discovery kits for $30 (reg. $90), and personalized pashmina scarves for $20 (reg. $40).
17. Go in-store for drugstore deals and pet-store savings.
Petco and PetSmart usually have killer Black Friday deals on live fish and pets — like 50% off — that you can’t get online (for obvious reasons).
But you’ll want to head to your local store for the doorbuster freebies anyway. In the past, Petco gave away free DreamWorks Trolls headwear for your cat or dog (freakin’ adorable!).
Every year we see moneymaker and freebie deals at Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS drugstores when you use coupons on top of sales. We’re talkin’ about moneymaker toothpaste, dirt-cheap laundry detergent, baby wipes, haircare products, snacks, and more. You won’t be able to use the free manufacturer coupons sometimes required for these deals if you shop online.
18. Create a separate Facebook account just for following retailers.
If you don’t want your regular newsfeed cluttered with consumer updates, consider creating a separate Facebook account, and follow all your favorite retailers, airlines, brands, and deal sites (HINT: like The Krazy Coupon Lady) for sale updates and exclusive promo codes. Stores like Best Buy and Kohl’s are known to do giveaways on Facebook. Then, keep your new Facebook feed open as you shop.
19. Sign up for loyalty programs in advance.
If you’re not already a member of these 17 free loyalty programs, sign up for them immediately. You’ll get exclusive savings and early-bird alerts just for signing up.
One of my faves is Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards. Get a $5 reward for every $100 you spend — except on Black Friday.
Last year Rewards members received $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent Monday – Saturday the week of Thanksgiving. You seriously cannot beat that.
20. Get free shipping at Macy’s by adding any beauty product to your order.
Macy’s requires customers to spend at least $99 on their order to get free shipping. You can get around this by adding any beauty product — even a $4 eyeliner will qualify your order for free shipping!
Here are 43 Must-Read Macy’s Store Hacks you should read before Black Friday.
21. Shop sites that always have free shipping — and free returns.
Speaking of free shipping, shop retailers that will send you your purchase for free no matter how little you spend. These 42 stores offer free shipping with no minimum ALL. THE. TIME.
And unlike shopping in-store, you can’t try on clothes or shoes — so it’s important to check return policies. A lot of stores may charge you a restocking fee or postage for returned items. Avoid those retailers.
These stores always offer free shipping and free returns:
- Kate Spade
- Neiman Marcus
- Sunglass Hut
- UGG Australia
22. Purchase most-wanted items individually if a site offers free shipping.
On free-shipping sites, complete orders for the items you want first, and then continue browsing for items you’re just thinking about. Do this and you won’t have to worry about your product selling out while you’re perusing other deals.
23. Stack on even more savings with discounted e-gift cards.
You’ve gotta buy them ahead of time, though — that way all you have to worry about is finding deals and completing online orders.
Sites like Raise and Gift Card Granny buy legit, unwanted gift cards from consumers and businesses and sell them back to shoppers at a discounted rate. For instance, you can buy a Gap e-gift card worth its face value of $100 for just $90 and use it in-store or online.
Here are the average savings you can get at popular retailers when you use a discounted gift card to make your purchase:
- Bath & Body Works: 8% off
- Best Buy: 5% off
- DICK’S Sporting Goods: 8.5% off
- GAP: 6% off (may use at any GAP store, Banana Republic, Athleta, or Old Navy)
- JCPenney: 8.5% off
- Kmart: 7% off (may use at Kmart or Sears)
- Kohl’s: 7.8% off
- Macy’s: 8% off
- Michaels: 16% off
- Sears: 6% off (may use at Kmart or Sears)
- Target: 9% off
- Toys R Us: 6.5% off (may use at Babies R Us)
- Walmart: 2% off
24. Create your own deal with flat percentage-off or dollar-off coupon codes.
Retailers like Kohl’s, Gap, Old Navy, Carter’s, Express, and Rue21 like to discount everything in their stores on Black Friday. To save even more during these sales, search for coupon codes that offer flat percentage-off (like “an extra 20% off with ___ code”) or dollar-off (e.g., “$10 off your order with ___”) offers, and stack sale savings with coupons!
Often retailers will include discount codes on paper in-store coupons that you can use on the Web, so keep your eyeballs peeled even when you’re offline.
25. Get an extra 5% off with your Target REDcard.
No, it’s not a credit card (unless you want it to be). REDcard is offered as a debit or a credit card and can be used to make purchases in-store or on Target.com.
If you like free shipping, extended return windows, early access to deals, and an extra 5% off purchases, then seriously consider getting a REDcard — you get these perks all year long — not just on Black Friday.
AND it’s free. Apply for one now so you can use the discount this holiday shopping season!
26. Download the Walmart app, and access Black Friday deals early.
Walmart does not play around when it comes to Black Friday deals. In the past they made shopping their store easier by adding select Black Friday deals that could be purchased early (like November 10th early!) through the Walmart app.
These early-access deals included:
- Hitachi 65-inch 4K Ultra HDTV for $599 ($400 savings)
- 1 Carat T.W. Diamond Sterling Silver Pendant and Earrings for $139 ($361 savings)
- Acer 15.6-inch Core i5 Laptop for $299 ($150 savings)
- Cricut Explore One Special Edition Bluetooth Bundle for $169 (special buy)
27. Get food freebies and deals delivered to you with Prime Now and Postmates.
TVs, toys, and apparel aren’t the only things on Black Friday super sale. There are plenty of dining deals too, which will come in handy when you’re not feelin’ the leftover bird in your fridge.
Last year Domino’s offered 50% off all online pizza orders, Panda Express discounted your online order by $3, and Chipotle gave you BOGO entrees. (There are way more deals, so stay tuned to KCL’s Restaurant Deals for more come Black Friday.)
Don’t worry if you’re not up for leaving the house; use Postmates to have food picked up and delivered to you 24/7 starting at around $4. Amazon Prime Now will deliver your food in 2 hours or less for free if you have Prime and meet the minimum order requirement. Or, get food delivered without meeting the minimum free-delivery requirement for about $5.
28. Book flights for next year’s family vacation.
Last year we saw $19 one-way flights advertised on Frontier, frequent flyer specials on Delta, $59 one-way fares on Alaska, and $59 fares on Southwest airlines.
Check these airlines’ social media pages for pop-up sales Thanksgiving week through Cyber Monday, and make reservations quickly before they sell out!
29. Get double cash back on purchases when you shop through Ebates.
Just in case you’re not familiar, Ebates is a site that earns a commission from retailers every time they send customers their way. When you use Ebates’ retailer links to shop, they’ll share a portion of their commission with you. It’s an incredibly easy way to add an extra layer of savings!
On Black Friday last year, Ebates doubled customer cash-back (or commission) amounts at over 500 stores including:
- Amazon – 10% cash back
- Nordstrom – 6% cash back
- Macy’s – 10% cash back
- Dell – 12% cash back
- Nike – 10% cash back
- Kohl’s – 10% cash back
- Walmart – 10% cash back
- JCPenney – 10% cash back
30. Use Paribus to get automatic price adjustments.
Most retailers allow for a one-time price adjustment, usually within 7-14 days of purchase. If the price drops after you buy, you’re entitled to request that the difference be credited back to you.
But really, who has time to do that during the busy holiday shopping rush?!
With Paribus, you don’t have to do anything. It will track prices and request price adjustments on your behalf for free. How? It scans your inbox for receipts and sends an email for you. Refunds are usually returned in the form of original payment, via gift card, or store credit. 100% of the price difference is paid directly to you.
I’m a fan; see my review here.
31. Find nearly all of 2017’s hottest toys at Walmart.com.
Ten out of the 11 top holiday toys predicted to sell out before Christmas can be found at Walmart. The only toy on the list that you won’t find there is the $499 Toys”R”Us exclusive Star Wars Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder.
You should most definitely try to buy these toys before Black Friday, though — they’ll likely be sold out by then.
- Walmart-Exclusive Hachimals Surprise “Zuffin”
- Mini Super NES Classic Edition Nintendo
- Xbox One X
- Luvabella (Luvabeau) Doll
- Pikmi Pops Surprise
- Shopkins Cutie Cars
- Spark Kitchen Sink
- FurReal Roaring Tyler
- Laser X Two Player Set
- Star Wars Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder
32. Get even more discounted apparel and electronics on Cyber Monday.
When it comes to small kitchen appliances, cameras, tools, and TVs, Thanksgiving and Black Friday have some pretty unbeatable deals. However, last year we saw apparel savings that beat Black Friday prices:
Gap offered customers 50% off everything — plus an additional 10% off with a promo code. Carter’s advertised $5 fleece jackets and $9 fleece PJs with free shipping on everything. Kohl’s sold girls’ boots for just $11.99 (originally $55) when you used a 20% off coupon code on top of their sale price.
And then there were the electronic deals: Amazon discounted Acer products to all-time low prices including $130 Chromebooks, Walmart sold Dell touchscreen laptops for $1,000 (regularly priced at $1,300), and Microsoft sold their Surface 4 tablet for $430 less than its regular price on Cyber Monday.
33. Expect Black Friday prices in December at Target.
Target catered to last-minute shoppers last year when they released daily deals December 18-25 on hot-ticket items that rivaled or beat some Black Friday deals. So don’t fret if come mid-December you still have Christmas shopping to do.
The deals included:
- $70 off Apple Watch Series 1 with prices starting at $199
- $500 off Samsung 60″ 4K UHD Smart TV (reg. $699.99)
- 50% off kids sleepwear
- 30% off women’s sweaters
- 50% off artificial trees
34. Look for more Web deals on December 15th: Free Shipping Day.
Cyber Monday isn’t the last big day before Christmas to score great online deals.
That would be December, 15th — a.k.a. Free Shipping Day. That’s when hundreds of online retailers (especially apparel and shoe retailers) will offer deep discounts and coupon codes in hopes to capture all the last-minute shoppers who need packages delivered by Christmas.
At Krazy Coupon Lady, we’ll be sure to keep you informed of all the best deals between now and New Year’s, so stay tuned!