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.

Here’s a peek at Costco’s top holiday toy deals. Pay special attention to LEGO, American Girl, Fingerlings and My Little Pony.

 

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 with Two-Day shipping guaranteed, same as Prime shipping. 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. Don’t get a brand new iPhone — get an older version at Walmart instead.

There just won’t be any deals on the brand new iPhone. Since Apple releases new models in the fall, great discounts are basically unheard of during Black Friday.

But — if you can settle for an older model, keep your eye on Walmart. Last year, we saw a $300 Walmart gift card with an iPhone 6 purchase (and activation).

 

RELATED: 8 Little-Known Ways to Save on Apple Products

 

6. 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 Gift Card Granny or Raise right now before everyone else has the same idea.

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

 

 

7. Ask for a price match at DICK’s Sporting Goods — even on Black Friday!

Most stores suspend any regular price-match guarantee during the week of Black Friday.

But not DICK’S Sporting Goods! If you know DICK’s carries an exact item another retailer is discounting for Black Friday, take the competitor’s ad to DICK’s and ask for a price match.

 

8. 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!

In fact, you can stack a dollar-off and a percent-off coupon and use them together only on this one day of the year.

 

9. Don’t shop Target without a REDcard.

REDcard connects to your checking account, so it’s not a credit card. Sign up at least a month before 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.

 

10. 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.

Buy the items on your list that offer a discount you can live with during Black Friday to earn 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.

 

11. Use Paribus to get money back if there’s a price drop on your items.

While you’re making your Black Friday shopping list and comparing deals, Paribus will be monitoring your online purchases as you make them. When something you’ve bought goes on sale, they’ll request a price adjustment on your behalf.

See? You and Paribus are a hard-hitting, smart-shopping team of ninjas. Here are the stores Paribus monitors for free.

 

12. 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. Additionally, Target offers free shipping with no minimum purchase all of November, through Dec. 23.

 

 

13. 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, for example, Target offered an in-store only doorbuster last year. 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!

 

14. . . . Except for JCPenney — go in store for the coupons!

I mean, can anyone really resist the temptation of free money?

Every year, JCPenney offers three types of coupons at the door for the first shoppers of the morning:

  • $10 off $10
  • $100 off $100
  • $500 off $500

 

15. 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.

If you’re shopping Macy’s, they have free store pickup, but you can also get free shipping anytime you add a single beauty item. So, add a $2 lip balm to your order and get free shipping — win.

 

16. Plan to shop the week before Black Friday at Kohl’s and Walmart.

Both Kohl’s and Walmart offer great deals the week leading up to Black Friday.

Top Kohl’s Pre-Black Friday deals:

  • Small appliances: $9.99 (reg. up to $39.99)
  • Kids’ Sonicare toothbrush: $29.99 (reg. $69.99)

Top Walmart Pre-Black Friday deals:

  • 55-inch Vizio 4K TV: $398.00 (reg. $505.19)
  • KitchenAid 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer: $199.00 (reg. $249.99)
  • FurReal Roarin’ Tyler: $93.99 (reg. $129.97)

 

17. If you’re shopping online, check RetailMeNot or Ibotta for cash-back offers.

There are quite a few stores that you could shop online during Black Friday, which also have Ibotta or RetailMeNot offers available. Save up to 12% by clicking through the Ibotta app or RetailMeNot to start your shopping.

Here are stores where you can expect to see cash-back offers when you shop via RetailmeNot or Ibotta online:

  • Amazon
  • Kohl’s
  • Sears
  • Best Buy
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Macy’s
  • JCPenney

 

18. 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 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.

 

 

19. 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:

 

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

Especially when it comes to small appliances 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.

TIP: If you’re in the market for large appliances, Black Friday is a great time to buy from JCPenney or Sears. Last year we saw up to $150 mail-in-rebates on washing machines at JCPenney.

 

21. 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: 8 Ways to Get an Air Fryer for Ridiculously Cheap

 

22. Always check The Tracktor 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 The Tracktor and 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!

 

23. 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 Lowe’s for a mere $69 (regularly $179) and $300 off select refrigerators.

Home Depot had chunky Melissa & Doug puzzles for only $4.98 each (regularly $9.99), and drugstores like CVS and Walgreens are a hotbed of deals on stocking stuffers like hair accessories, candy and Hot Wheels cars.

 

24. 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:

 

25. 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.

 

 

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