Last year’s Black Friday weekend estimated that more than 93 million people performed their holiday shopping online, once again setting a record high according to the Adobe Analytics “2019 Holiday Shopping Trends” report. While many physical locations are still open for business, the COVID-19 pandemic has arranged online shopping to obliterate previous records. If you plan to participate during the year’s biggest holiday shopping weekend, then review these five savvy Black Friday shopping tips to help you prepare for any potential shopper chaos online or in person.

1. Get ahead of the game.

If you’re planning on shopping online, consider downloading Honey, an online application that you can attach to your browser to find you the best deals across 40,000+ websites. Honey automatically pulls the best deals from its vast network of websites without sharing your data with third-party platforms. Also, consider researching retailers’ social media sites as many offer additional incentives for visiting or “liking” their page. Note that gift cards that are not discounted (meaning the card value is equal to or more than the cost you pay for the card) are putting restrictions on your cash — where the money must be spent, for example — with no rewards to you or the recipient.

2. Maximize — and charge — that smartphone.

Be sure that you’ve downloaded a smartphone app for comparison shopping. “ShopSavvy” and “Amazon — Shopping Made Easy” are two popular app options.

  • When you’re using ShopSavvy, you scan the barcode of a product or keyword search by name, and the app helps you immediately locate that product at the best available price both online and in local stores.
  • The Amazon – Shopping Made Easy app allows you to quickly access the item by scanning a barcode, snapping a picture, or typing your search keywords. You can compare prices, check availability, and read reviews through the app, and purchases can be made directly through the app as they are routed through Amazon’s secure servers. In 2019, Amazon accounted for 54.9% of all online Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend sales (from eConsultancy.)

And remember: Some retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart even offer price matching if another store has the item for less, but be sure to read the fine print before relying on this option.

3. Think outside of the Black Friday box.

While Black Friday is traditionally assumed to be the single biggest day of savings, Cyber Monday has certainly given it a run for its money. Research shows that Cyber Monday usually delivers the best clothes deals. While it’s typically best to wait until January or February (if possible) to purchase high-end electronics as stores reduce prices before annual inventory counts, some stores like Best Buy offer 40%-50% off electronics on Black Friday weekend.

Of course, throughout the holiday season, consider online shopping that may offer free shipping — and sometimes free returns.

4. Reward yourself when possible.

Does your credit card offer cash back? Are you a loyalty program member at any stores? Many credit cards and stores offer cash back or points towards future items when you make purchases. Check whether you qualify, particularly for online shopping. Just be careful you don’t spend more than you intended only to receive an extra perk.

5. Make a plan, and work that plan.

Create a list of what you’re looking to buy and how much you’re willing to spend. It’ll help keep you on budget, as well as lower your post-holiday bills. Remember, it’s not necessarily a deal if you never intended to purchase the item in the first place.

If you’re looking for some extra help with budgeting and other financial matters, then contact CRI. We are happy to help you budget through the holidays.