Black Friday can be confusing, yet it’s a great time of year to buy so many things.

But guess what? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel trying to sort the hot deals from the total duds. Our team of deal hunters works tirelessly so all you need to do is tap on your smartphone to find out what to buy and what to skip.

Download the KCL app and bookmark KCL’s Black Friday Deals page to stay in the know, and (fingers crossed!) in your pajamas, avoiding all the Black Friday chaos. And use these tips to shop Black Friday like a pro.

 

1. When an item is 70% off, buy multiples for your gift closet.

Most stores offer close to 60% off across the board in the form of a plain-old Black Friday sale.

Keep your calculator close by and run the numbers whenever you see a sale that strikes you as pretty good.

If you’re saving 70% or more, consider buying a few and stashing them for wedding and baby shower gifts or birthday presents throughout the year.

 

2. Shop Costco’s holiday toys right now.

Costco jump-starts October with holiday toy deals to get us all in the Christmas mood. Shop sooner rather than later, because you know Costco — once it’s gone, it’s often gone for good.

Here’s a peek at Costco’s top holiday toy deals. Pay special attention to LEGO, L.O.L. Surprise!, Squishmallows, and Nintendo Switch bundles.

 

3. Ship to an Amazon Locker if you’re out of town for Thanksgiving.

If you know you’ll be out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, you can still shop online during Black Friday. Just ship your items to a nearby Amazon Locker.

Your packages will be secure for up to three days — just select “Ship to Amazon Locker” at checkout.

It’s a free service for Prime Members. Learn all about Amazon Locker.

 

4. Can’t find your size? Buy apparel in any size and return it a week later.

When it comes to shopping for a deal on jeans or even coats in person on Black Friday, I don’t bother looking for the correct size for longer than about 3.5 seconds. I just grab the exact item in the wrong size and return to the store in a week to exchange it for the right size.

Just use caution with any clearance items — make sure it’s not a final sale!

 

5. Buy discounted gift cards ahead of time.

You know you’ll probably be shopping at Kohl’s, Walmart, and Target at the very least. So, buy up discounted gift cards from Raise right now before everyone else has the same idea.

The gift cards will be worth more than you paid for them!

 

 

6. Get Black Friday prices at Target even before Black Friday.

Most stores suspend any regular price-match guarantee during the week of Black Friday, but this year Target encourages it!

As of Oct. 10, any item you purchase from Target qualifies for a price adjustment if the Target price drops before or on Dec. 24. What’s that mean? In 2021, you can get Black Friday prices at Target before Black Friday even starts. Just show a Target cashier the better price on an exact item.

 

7. Go ahead and stack coupons at Bath & Body Works on Black Friday.

Bath & Body Works is another Black Friday rebel — normally stores don’t accept coupons on Black Friday, but Bath & Body Works does! Bath & Body Works coupons don’t have any blackout dates, so if you’ve got a valid coupon, you can use it on Black Friday.

Learn everything about Bath & Body Works Black Friday.

 

8. Don’t shop Target without a REDcard.

REDcard connects to your checking account, so it’s not a credit card. Sign up ahead of Black Friday so you’re sure you have your card on hand when REDcard exclusive deals roll out.

You’ll save 5% on every single purchase, plus get free shipping all year long.

 

9. Use Kohl’s Cash to buy items that weren’t on sale during Black Friday at Kohl’s.

Make your own sale using Kohl’s Cash!

I do this when an item I have on my Christmas shopping list wasn’t as deeply discounted at Kohl’s as I’d hoped.

Year after year, Kohl’s offers $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend during Black Friday week, plus Kohl’s Rewards.

Buy the items on your list that offer a discount you can live with during Black Friday to earn that Kohl’s Cash. And then plan to buy the rest starting the Sunday after Black Friday when you can begin spending your Kohl’s Cash.

Learn more ways to shop smarter during Kohl’s Black Friday.

 

10. Do not go in store at Target, Kohl’s, or Old Navy.

These three retailers make it so you can stay in your jammies all day while doing your Black Friday shopping. Kohl’s, Target, and Old Navy offer all doorbusters online.

 

 

11. Only go in store for doorbusters you can’t get online.

And I’d add “and ONLY if it’s the best option for getting that item at that price.” Do your homework!

Because, in the past I’ve seen stores like Target offer an in-store-only doorbuster. It was a TV that you could get a comparable version of at Kohl’s — without going in the store!

See what I mean? So if you desperately need to take a shot at a limited-quantity doorbuster, by all means, take your life into your hands with Black Friday crowds. Otherwise, stay home and shop online!

 

12. Never, ever pay for shipping on Black Friday. NEVER.

First, there are a lot of stores that always offer free shipping. If that doesn’t get the job done for you, use free store pickup at these stores anytime you’d otherwise need to pay for shipping on Black Friday.

 

13. Shop Walmart Deals for Days in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

Be prepared to shop Walmart online or in store for great deals the weeks leading up to Black Friday, especially for deals like these:

Top Walmart Black Friday Event 1 Deals:

  • TCL 55″ 4K Smart TV With Roku $228 (reg. $443.31)
  • Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook 4 $87 (reg. $299)
  • onn. 2.0 Bluetooth 32″ Soundbar $29

Top Walmart Black Friday Event 2 Deals:

  • HP Intel Core i3 Laptop $279 (reg. $399)
  • Barbie Dream Camper $60 (reg. $99.99)
  • Apple AirPods With Charging Case $89 (reg. $129)

See the best Walmart Black Friday deals for 2021.

 

14. Eat lunch at restaurants where you can get a free bonus gift card.

Face it — if you’re out shopping all day, you’ll get hungry, and since you’re tired, you’ll be more likely to pay big money for an easy lunch. (Or is that just me?!)

I’m not saying to skip eating out! I’m just saying choose a restaurant where you can get a free gift card deal when you buy a gift card. Use the first gift card to pay for your lunch, and save the bonus gift card for another meal during the holidays.

 

 

15. Make your Black Friday shopping list based on last year’s trends.

When you know what to look for at stores with great Black Friday deals, you’re not wasting time researching or comparing prices.

We’ve done all the research for you so you can shop these stores smarter on Black Friday:

 

16. Don’t underestimate the power of mail-in rebates.

Especially when it comes to small kitchen appliances deals like slow cookers, griddles, and mixers at stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s, and JCPenney. You can often get them for just a couple dollars each.

Rebate amounts vary depending on how expensive the item is, but expect to see rebates ranging from $5 to $150 back.

 

17. Splurge on an Air Fryer or Instant Pot — or both!

Black Friday is the best time to buy these popular kitchen items.

And sure, you’ve lived this long without one, but don’t you think you deserve one, especially when you can get it for up to 60% off?

Watch for Instant Pot deals on Amazon or at Kohl’s during Black Friday.

Get up to 80% savings on an Air Fryer at JCPenney during this time. Watch for a mail-in rebate deal!

 

RELATED: Ways to Get an Air Fryer for Ridiculously Cheap

 

18. Always check CamelCamelCamel before making an Amazon purchase.

Amazon makes it so you can overspend with just one click. Word to the wise — don’t assume everything Amazon sells is the lowest price on that item.

There are sites like CamelCamelCamel that track Amazon price histories. Before you buy something, double-check these sites to see if the price you’re looking at is a good deal.

And then channel all the self-control and walk away if it’s overpriced!

 

19. Don’t assume hardware stores and drugstores are non-players.

Home Depot, Lowe’s, CVS, and Walgreens often have lesser-known but totally worth it deals available on Black Friday.

Last year, we saw 7.5′ pre-lit Christmas trees at Home Depot for a mere $79 (regularly $199) and $700 off select refrigerators.

Lowe’s had poinsettias for $0.88 each (regularly $4.98), and drugstores like CVS and Walgreens are a hotbed of deals on stocking stuffers like hair accessories, candy, and Hot Wheels cars.

 

20. Join free store loyalty programs as soon as possible.

There are some store loyalty programs out there that are totally worth your time.

If you sign up now, you can start accruing points that will translate into free money to spend during Black Friday.

Here’s the list:

 

21. Buy (and stock up on!) makeup at Ulta.

Department stores will try to tempt you with gift sets where you spend an amount like $60 to get an amount like $175 worth of bonus cosmetics.

But Ulta will be quietly tapping on your shoulder to offer you insane deals like a 96-piece makeup set for $12.48. Listen to Ulta.

In addition to insane prices on holiday gift sets, Ulta offers deals on prestige brands like bareMinerals, Urban Decay, Smashbox, and more — you won’t find better Black Friday makeup deals, I promise.

 

UP NEXT: The Best Black Friday Deals

 

21 Black Friday Shopping Strategies Only the Pros Use