Americans plan to spend $997.79 on holiday shopping, down only a little bit from 2021’s average of $1,048, but quite a chunk of change. And if Santa’s elves don’t have that chunk of change laying around? They look for Black Friday deals.
Black Friday has been one of America’s biggest shopping days since the 1950s, but it’s not just the Friday after Thanksgiving anymore. Retailers are rolling out Black Friday deals earlier and earlier.
What does this mean for your holiday shopping? It means that one of the best tips for Black Friday shopping is spreading your shopping out. Rather than dashing to stores as soon as you’ve finished your turkey, start looking as early as October to snag the best deals.
And that’s only the beginning. We’ve put together even more tips and tricks to make sure you stick to your holiday budget this season.
Table of Contents
Tips for Black Friday shopping in 2022
1. Create a budget
Just because people plan to spend a specific amount on holiday gifts doesn’t mean they’ve budgeted for it.
Every year, families go into debt Christmas shopping. This means a single day of fun can hang over your head for months or years. No thanks!
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to put together a holiday shopping budget. You can even break it down and assign a dollar amount to each person on your list.
Now for the hard part – sticking to the budget you made! Fortunately, the rest of our tips for Black Friday shopping are all about just that.
2. Put together a Black Friday plan
Don’t go into Black Friday blind. If you do, sticking to your budget will be almost impossible.
You’re probably not going to get the best deal on everything on your list at one store. When you’re visiting different stores at different times, things can get out of hand pretty fast.
That’s where your plan comes in. Outline where you’ll shop, what you’ll buy, and when. This is one of our tips for Black Friday shopping that can be a real lifesaver when it comes to timed deals. (more on that later).
3. Make a list, check it twice
Related to having a plan, never, ever go Black Friday shopping without a list! Your list should have every person you’re shopping for, what kind of gifts you plan to get them, and where you can find the best deals on those gifts.
4. Trim your shopping list
Most unusual on our list of tips for Black Friday shopping? Reevaluate your Christmas list. You might think that everyone on your list absolutely needs to be there, and if so, ask yourself what your options are.
Money is tight for almost everyone right now, so chances are good that your family and friends will be open to the idea of a gift exchange. Each person buys one or two presents and receives one or two. (This also cuts down on household clutter!)
5. Set up price drop alerts
Kids’ lists to Santa can be… specific. That’s why next on our list of tips for Black Friday shopping – price drop alerts to let you know exactly when your must-buy items go on sale. Check out CamelCamelCamel for this. They track Amazon prices and send alerts when your specific items hit a specific price threshold.
6. Follow retailers on social media
One of the best tips for Black Friday shopping is to follow your favorite retailers on social media. Typically, announcements for special deals and promotions hit social media (and email newsletters) before print or radio ads.
7. Know when early Black Friday sales begin
Some stores have started rolling out Black Friday deals in mid-October, and some introduce new deals weekly through October and November. Most of the time, these early deals set the lowest price a retailer will sell that item for. Don’t wait for Black Friday and miss it!
8. Watch the clock
Time matters when you’re Black Friday shopping. Even though Black Friday is longer than just one day, there will still be steep discounts offered only at certain times. High in the list of tips for Black Friday shopping – check your favorite stores early and often to make sure you hit the discount window!
9. Shop early
They say the early bird gets the worm, and nowhere is that more true than Black Friday. From keeping yourself in the loop to showing up the moment a deal starts, the key is being the first one there. Supply chain issues are expected to continue through holiday shopping, so beating the crowds will be key.
10. Sign up for store loyalty programs
One of our tips for Black Friday shopping that might not be obvious? When you visit a website that offers a certain percentage off for signing up, go ahead and give them your retail-friendly email address.
Most of these sites offer a welcome discount, which you can use for Black Friday shopping – especially if there’s not a deal on your specific item. You’ll also get the first look at any deals they’re planning to run through the end of the season. Score!
11. Make purchases with a rewards credit card
Do you have a credit card that offers rewards? When it comes to tips for Black Friday shopping, there’s nothing better than using a credit card with rewards. Some retailers don’t allow you to stack coupons… but they can’t stop you from getting those credit rewards!
Just don’t forget to stick to your budget, even when using your card, so you don’t end up one of the nearly 4 in 10 Americans who take on credit card debt for the holidays.
12. Check coupon apps
Looking for a specific item but not seeing a deal? Tips for Black Friday shopping don’t usually include coupons, but it’s a must for us. When you need a gift that’s just right for a price that fits the budget, use Flipp. Flipp shows deals and coupons for your favorite retailers, all in one place!
13. Use a barcode scanner app in stores
One of the most fun tips for Black Friday shopping is using a barcode scanner in stores. Pulling out your Amazon app and using the barcode scanner lets you find the same item online, sometimes for a better price.
14. Ask about price matching
Don’t be afraid to ask about price matching, especially if you’ve found a deal somewhere else and want to save yourself a trip.
You won’t always find a price match, but it never hurts to ask!
And here’s a loophole you might not know– retailers will price match their own sale prices. That means that if you found a deal that you couldn’t snag, you can ask if they’ll price match. (Target’s price match policy is especially good this year!)
15. Take proof of deals with you
This isn’t necessarily one of our tips for Black Friday shopping, but be kind to retail workers. For Black Friday, specifically, take proof of deals with you. This way, if there’s any confusion, you can show them where you got the info – without using more of their (and your) time and energy.
16. Never pay full price
When it comes to tips for Black Friday shopping, never pay full price might seem obvious. But it bears repeating – there are lots of ways to get deals and discounts, so there’s no reason to pay full price on anything you buy!
17. Stock up on discounted gift cards
Black Friday is a great time to stock up on cards you can give as gifts – for the holiday season and year-round.
You can buy discounted gift cards on websites like Raise or from retailers themselves, and sometimes you can save by buying in bulk, too. Sam’s Club is running a deal on five $10 Krispy Kreme gift cards for just $37.50.
18. Shop with discounted gift cards
Those discounted gift cards aren’t just good for giving. They’re great for shopping with, too. Again, you might have some issues stacking coupons, but you won’t have any troubles paying with a gift card!
19. Get gift receipts
This is one of the tips for Black Friday shopping that might seem like a hassle now, but you’ll thank yourself for later. If you (or the person you gifted to) need to return or exchange something, the receipt makes everything run much smoother.
20. Shop with a friend
Divide and conquer… or stick together. Shopping with a friend and divvying up stores can make the process easier. Shopping together can make the experience more fun and provide some accountability in sticking to your budget.
21. Use an online inventory tracker
Between early sales and supply chain shortages, some items will go out of stock fast. Use an online inventory tracker (like zooLert) to keep track of things going in and out of stock.
22. Don’t forget about Cyber Monday
And speaking of online activity, don’t forget about Cyber Monday! There are just two days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and Cyber Monday deals also run earlier than the day itself.
23. Update shipping and payment information ahead of time
No one wants to miss out on a deal by seconds because they’re frantically typing in their card info. Our frustration-saving tips for Black Friday shopping? Make sure your payment info and shipping info is correct before you shop.
24. Only shop safe sites
One of our most important tips for Black Friday shopping? Keep your info safe by only shopping safe sites. You can identify a safe online store by the “lock” symbol next to the web address and the HTTPS. The S lets you know it’s secure – a regular HTTP site may not be.
25. Disable cookies
Ok, we’re the first to admit that this one doesn’t have hard proof. Companies will swear up and down that cookies don’t change what they charge. However, more and more consumers are noticing that this is the case. To be extra sure, shop in a private browser and disable cookies.
26. Use browser plug-ins
While you can (and should) use rebate and coupon extensions like Rakuten all year, Black Friday is the best time for it. You’ll have extra opportunities to earn rewards, and browser plug-ins will automatically know if you can stack deals.
These usually require cookies, however, so try shopping around incognito and then switching to a different browser to get rewards when you buy!
27. Download a price comparison extension
Computer tips for Black Friday shopping are low-effort ways to save. Take extensions like RetailMeNot, for example. Before you put anything in your online shopping cart, run it through RetailMeNot for an instant price check to make sure you can’t find it cheaper somewhere else.
28. Bookmark product pages
Things sell out fast on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One way to stay ahead of the crowd is bookmarking the specific page of the product you’re planning to buy. This way, you’re just a click away when the deal goes live.
29. Sign up for your free trial of Amazon Prime
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, now is the time to sign up for a 30-day free trial. You’ll be able to get free shipping on all the Black Friday items you order!
30. Fill your online cart early
Worried you’ll overspend? One of the chronic overspender’s tips for Black Friday shopping is to fill your online shopping carts beforehand and walk away from the computer. On Black Friday, the cart should automatically update to reflect the discounted prices – you just have to click “Buy.”
31. Don’t pay for shipping
There is no reason to pay for shipping with so many retailers offering free shipping or free ship-to-store! One exception is small businesses, but even then, your checklist of tips for Black Friday shopping should include making sure the deal you’re getting at least covers the cost of shipping.
32. Don’t fall for scam deals
Ever feel like the “deal” you’re getting on Black Friday isn’t that good? Some retailers will artificially raise prices for a month or two before they run a deal, so the discount seems steeper than it is.
33. Buy handmade
When shopping for gifts on Black Friday, don’t forget to check Etsy. You’re sure to find unique gifts (and from the comfort of home). Best of all, many of the vendors offer Black Friday discounts!
34. Say No to Impulse Purchases
We’ve saved the best of our tips for Black Friday shopping for last. Don’t fall victim to impulse shopping! If it wasn’t on your list before you got to the store, pass on it for now.
Here at Penny Calling Penny, our holiday shopping articles are only a part of our growing library. We’re dedicated to helping you learn to manage your money, no matter where you’re at on your financial journey. Subscribe to our newsletter, so you never miss a Penny, and we’ll see you next time!