15 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Black Friday Deals
Black Friday, the most extravagant shopping event of the year, is almost here! Retailers slash their prices to beat the competition, while shoppers use this as an opportunity to grab a wide variety of products. Inflation and the rising cost of living over the past year have affected the spending habits of many. You might be among consumers who have been patiently holding out so you can get more bang for your buck. That’s why we want to make sure you’re well-equipped to handle the biggest bargains over the next few weeks and get the most out of Black Friday deals.
How Did “Black Friday” Get Its Name?
Before we get into the shopping tips for Black Friday, let’s take a trip down memory lane. There was a time when using the term “black” in a business sense was an indication of economic distress, not success. After the Civil War, the economy was in a slump. The government’s recovery plan involved pumping more gold into the market and limiting the circulation of paper money.
James Fisk, who was a railway businessman, and his partner Jay Gould tried to corner the market. They wanted to buy gold cheaply and in abundance to force a price increase. The government’s gold hit the market on Friday, September 24, 1869, and the market collapsed. There was widespread financial panic once people realized Fisk and James were secretly accumulating gold. This disaster earned the name Black Friday. Over 60 years later, another stock market crash on October 29, 1929, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression was called Black Tuesday.
In the 1950s, the Factory Management and Maintenance Journal used Black Friday in its publication to describe workers calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving. Factory Managers were not pleased because they knew workers were only feigning illness to get an extra day off work and extend the holiday weekend. Police also used “Black Friday” and “Black Saturday” to describe the awful traffic at the beginning of the pre-Christmas shopping season, which coincided with the annual Army-Navy football game. The huge crowds that arrived to shop and watch the game brought mischief and mayhem. In 1961, the local government tried to change the name of the shopping season to “Big Friday” and “Big Saturday,” to bring positivity, but it didn’t work.
Things took a different turn when retailers in Philadelphia started using Black Friday. While the police officers were left to deal with an increase in crime, businesses welcomed the crowds, along with a huge increase in sales. Businesses that struggled all year were finally able to turn a profit just in time for the holidays. Black Friday spread throughout the rest of the country and finally became an elaborate shopping event for both consumers and business owners. That is the meaning we are all familiar with today.
When Is Black Friday?
Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year it will fall on the 25th of November. While preparing to wade through the sea of discounts, don’t forget that the sales will be rolling out all weekend. In fact, most retailers offer deals that extend beyond Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday: Large corporations aren’t the only businesses getting in on this season of deals. Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is a great day for small retailers to get a piece of the pie. A lot of shoppers use Small Business Saturday to get unusual items. Expect to see handmade items such as soaps and home décor, or even one-of-a-kind products like our wooden watches and accessories. It’s the best day to purchase unique items that you or your loved ones will enjoy. In doing so, you are supporting small businesses that don’t have the resources to operate in a large capacity. It’s good to take a break from large corporations and spend a dollar or two close to home.
Cyber Monday: In the early 2000s, retailers realized that many consumers were way too busy over the Thanksgiving weekend. They used the Monday after Black Friday to shop online instead. Since then, the deals have been rolling over to Cyber Monday to meet consumer demand. Tech companies have become the main focus of this shopping event, with students, teachers, gamers, and many others using the opportunity to upgrade or grab devices they couldn’t afford at full price. It is a great time to buy laptops, cameras, tablets, cellphones, podcast equipment, and so much more. Cyber Monday is the biggest shopping event after Black Friday.
Green Monday: The discounts will keep on coming with Green Monday, which is the second Monday in December. Many shoppers use this opportunity to buy last-minute Christmas gifts and make use of deals spilling over from Black Friday. Retailers often extend the Black Friday deals into early December depending on inventory and demand. It’s another major day for online shopping!
Do Your Research Before Friday
The good thing about Black Friday deals is everyone knows when to expect them. This isn’t a well-kept secret or a huge surprise that descends on you like a thief in the night. Being aware means you get to take advantage of all the perks before the day even arrives.
When trying to get the most out of Black Friday deals, you should spend time doing your own research. Scroll through the product reviews, and we’re not talking about the 5-stars that praise the retailer and the product you’re looking to buy. Look at the negative comments and see if this is worth the gamble. And we don’t mean the outrageous reviews where customers are upset that the product didn’t fit while also admitting they don’t know their size. Highlight the unbiased reviews that go into longevity, how useful the product is, and the small details that a starry-eyed customer who reviewed the product when they just got it, might’ve missed.
You also want to make sure the retailer accepts your payment method. Normally this is found in the FAQ’s or under the store policy. This is one detail you need to get out of the way before you start shopping on Black Friday. You don’t want to get to checkout or the cashier and find out that the retailer doesn’t accept PayPal, Apple Pay, prepaid debit cards, or check. Never assume that every retailer operates the same way. While checking the store policy, make a note of the products you can return and the time limit for a refund or exchange. Here’s a list of questions to ask if you’re unsure where to start:
- What's the return policy for sale items?
- Is there a return deadline for all products?
- Will a prepaid label be provided?
- Are there any penalties for returns like restocking fees?
- Is warranty available for items like electronics and jewelry?
- Do I have to return the products unopened or in original packaging?
- Will I need a receipt to do an exchange/return?
- Can I return the item in-store if I bought it online?
- Will the refund go back to my original payment method or will I get store credit?
A Few Wood Men understands that your schedule might be a bit cluttered during the holiday season. We have a separate return policy to accommodate you during this timeframe. Can every retailer say the same? The only way to be sure is to ask.
Make A Detailed Shopping List
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when shopping Black Friday deals is buying what you see. Whether you’re planning to buy a brand new TV, laptops for the kids, or upgrade your wardrobe, you need to make a shopping list. The Black Friday deals can be overwhelming if you step into the store or visit the retailer’s website without a plan. Picking random items will lead to frustration later on when you realize the money could have gone to something more useful.
Even if you deviate from the plan by ordering an additional pair of shoes, at least the unnecessary spending is kept to a minimum. Don’t be afraid to do an audit of your wardrobe, home appliances, and electronics so you can have a better idea of what you need. Organize your list in order of importance too, just in case you have to prioritize some items over others. Even with proper planning, you might find that the discount on some items doesn't bring the price down to match your spending limit.
Ask Yourself “Who? What? Where?”
Everyone has difficulty cutting that shopping list short when Black Friday deals are going on. If you’re struggling to make these tough decisions, here’s a trick to make the process easier: ask yourself “Who? What Where?” When you’re done, add “When?” and “Why?” Imagine you already purchased everything on your Black Friday wish list. Who are these items going to benefit? What purpose will they serve? Where will they be used or worn? When do you really need these items? Why do you need these items?
Too many impulsive buying with zero thought to how they add value will ruin the Black Friday shopping experience. When the shine turns to rust, regret will come. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on wardrobe items that look like they belong on the set of a photoshoot for a magazine. That pricy kitchen gadget you saw on TikTok won’t look so useful when you realize no one in your household is cutting up that much garlic or onion.
Create Your Budget & Stick To It
Yes, the deals are tempting! That’s the whole idea of Black Friday discounts. The main goal of retailers is to sell you something. Be careful not to overspend though, especially if you’re using a credit card. It is very important to set a budget and stick to it when shopping for all these amazing Black Friday deals. A higher balance might be harder to pay off which can lead to higher interest rates or fees on your end.
Would you throw a $100 bill through the window while driving along the freeway? Spending money you didn’t plan to spend is not considered saving. A Black Friday bargain is not really a good bargain if it costs you in the long run. Only shop if the discounted item is on your list and you have the budget for it. If you’re going to a store, try to avoid the sales persons. Their goal is to upsell. Only buy what falls in your budget and don’t make the mistake of wasting money on items you don’t need simply because a well-trained sales rep talked you into it.
Decide Where You Want To Shop
One of our favorite tips to get the most out of all these tempting Black Friday deals is to have a shopping map. Whether you’re going inside a store or you’re shopping online, you need to know where and when you’re going to shop. The season’s hottest items will be going like hot bread. Winter clothing, flat-screen TVs, and other electronics fall into this category.
You may have to be in line when the doors open to get certain items before they’re sold out. Some stores have specific hours for sales, so plan your day according to the sales you want to catch. If you’re shopping online, prepare to log in before peak shopping hours in case the increased traffic causes the retailer’s website to crash. A seamless checkout process makes a positive experience.
Don't expect to find everything in one place. Different retailers will have varying deals and discounts. It’s up to you to check and see which store will offer the right value. You don’t need to stick to the big retailers if smaller chains have what you need for the same price or even less. The website or app will let you know whether the items you need are available. A Few Wood Men’s website has an option where you can be notified via email if a wooden watch or bracelet set you want to order is out of stock. Once you sign up, we will send an email to let you know when we restock.
This goes without saying, but make sure the stores you want to visit are still open. In fact, make sure they’re at the same location. Check the website, Google Business Page or social media accounts and verify the address. Matter of fact, call or email to get that information straight from the horse’s mouth. Some stores may have closed or moved locations since your last visit and you don’t want to waste precious time driving around. Speaking of driving, decide on where you’re going to park before you show up. Time is of the essence and you don’t want to spend time circling, trying to find an empty spot. If a parking app is available, don’t be afraid to use it.
Shop Online To Avoid The Crowd
Huge sales typically draw massive crowds. Everyone loves a good Black Friday deal. It can be overwhelming to go to a physical location to shop during this time. While it’s unrealistic to expect everything to be available online, you can still avoid the huge crowds by ordering from the website. Even if your package won’t be delivered for a week or so, it’s a small price to pay for avoiding the Hunger Games of sales.
The crowds can be aggressive! Every year we see articles about shoppers getting trampled while trying to get certain items before they run out. Shoppers argue over parking space, there are physical altercations and even reports of weapons being used when conflicts arise. It’s no surprise that some people skip the in-person discount extravaganza and settle for online retailers. Even the most experienced shoppers can get overwhelmed by the chaos. You want to stay alive to enjoy your haul when Black Friday is long gone. So plan for the crowds, and avoid them if possible.
Cash or Card?
When it comes to Black Friday shopping - or even general shopping - credit cards are more convenient and secure compared to carrying cash. Depending on the type of card you own, you can really maximize on these Black Friday savings. If you qualify for a rewards credit card, you can accumulate points and redeem them for cash back, travel, gift cards, and other perks. If you pay with credit cards frequently but don't have a rewards credit card, you're missing out. These are some of the ways you can maximize your Black Friday savings. Just pay your bill on time and in full to keep the experience desirable. After all, those credit card fees are very real!
“Buy now, pay later” options like Afterpay and Sezzle are also available when you shop with some retailers, and A Few Wood Men is riding the wave. These payment methods are convenient as you get to indulge in all these Black Friday deals without having to pay for the items upfront.
Bear in mind that not all retailers will give you the option to pay with a card, especially if they are small local businesses. Some might not even accept prepaid debit cards for certain purchases, or at all. Cash is still the preferred method of payment for many people. There is still mistrust of the banking system, and some prefer a more “real” experience when it comes to shopping.
Ask About Additional Discounts
Never be ashamed to ask about additional discounts. While some prices might as well be set in stone, you might get lucky. The only way to know is to ask. A Few Wood Men offers all new customers 10% off during checkout with discount code WELCOME10. This is in addition to the Black Friday deals we’ll be offering on our website. You can even bundle up and save on some products.
For physical retailers, ask about clearance or refurbished items. For example, if an item like a laptop has cosmetic damage, the store may be willing to reduce the price just to get it off the shelf. A laptop with a scratch can be beautified with decals, so go for it. When it comes to refurbished products, tread carefully though. Amazon has an entire department dedicated to warehouse deals and refurbished electronics. In this case, the sellers tend to be reputable and there are certain guarantees. You can also return unwanted products with ease.
Use Shopping Apps & Coupon Sites
There are so many opportunities to save money when it comes to Black Friday deals. Does your favorite retailer have a shopping app? Download it right away. Some shopping apps send alerts when an item you have on your wishlist goes on sale. In some cases these sales are timed so you have to move quickly. Coupon sites are great for finding discount codes to use on all your favorite retail sites. Some sites even have a price comparison feature to show you where to get the best deals. There are even apps that will map out the best route for you to get to the store. If the retailer doesn’t have a shopping app, you can always subscribe to their newsletter for the latest offers and follow their social media accounts to keep up. A Few Wood Men is always offering discounts and deals throughout the year.
Using cash back apps is also an excellent way to save money. Companies like Rakuten (formerly Ebates) are quite popular among budget-savvy shoppers. Over time, savings can accumulate, and you can then deposit the cash back earned into your bank account. Research the best cashback apps to learn how you can save money.
Early Birds Get The Best Deals
Contrary to popular belief, the deals are not restricted to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and so on. You don’t have to wait till those specific days to start shopping. A lot of retailers are aware that shoppers will be looking out for the best deals well before Black Friday so they start offering early-bird discounts. Who knows? You might even get all your Black Friday shopping done before Thanksgiving!
Getting an early start on your Black Friday shopping means you have a better chance of grabbing popular items that will likely go out of stock. Businesses may plan for massive crowds but sometimes they get the numbers wrong and lack sufficient inventory to meet higher-than-expected demand. At least if the products sell out quickly, you would have already secured yours days or even weeks before.
Choose Your Shopping Partner Wisely
Having the wrong shopping partner is like going hiking with someone who is constantly holding you back. Whether they are trying to live vicariously through you, or they lack the discipline to limit their spending, you are the one who will have to face certain consequences. The right buddy will give an honest opinion about whatever you’re buying. If your friend or partner is the type to encourage you to get every cute top that flatters your physique or push you to get a laptop with specs you don’t need, leave them at home.
If you’re shopping online, there is nothing wrong with going it alone. The same goes for kids. Their wide glossy eyes might tug at your heartstrings and you will feel compelled to get whatever is at the end of their tiny fingertips. You can’t get the most out of Black Friday deals if your shopping buddy is facilitating terrible choices. It’s completely different if you have a responsible friend who knows your budget, what you need to prioritize, and they are disciplined enough to say “Put it back!” when necessary, then you should be alright.
Shop When You’re At Your Best
Shopping Black Friday deals can become stressful! This is why it’s important to shop when you’re at your best. Those crowds can add to shopping fatigue and you can either end up missing out on Black Friday deals or overshopping. If your budget is limited, overshopping can add to your frustration when you realize you didn’t get to buy the most important things you need. Don’t underestimate the effect that your physical environment can have on you. You’d be surprised how much damage congested retail stores with poor ventilation.
An alert shopper is an effective shopper. If you are hungry, tired or going through a wave of anger, put off the shopping till you’re feeling better. One of the best Black Friday shopping tips is to make sure you are alert and in a positive mood. If crowds and people, in general, make you anxious, shop for a shorter period and take regular breaks. Avoid meandering. Once you have everything you need, grab your bags and head home.
The same concept can be applied to online shopping. Stay alert and make sure you have all the right items in your shopping cart. You don’t want to get stuck reaching out to customer service to cancel an order or items from an order because you included them by mistake. For one, support lines are going to be very busy. The next thing is if the order ships with unwanted products, guess who has to find time to return them for a refund.
The Devil Is In The Details
One surefire way of ruining your Black Friday shopping spree is overlooking the tiny details or not having the necessary information on hand. You already have your shopping list sorted, but if you’re buying clothes for the kids or your partner, do you know what to get? Make sure you have current measurements for their shoe size, pant size, waist, and chest - you get the idea. I’d even say walk with a measuring tape to be extra safe. Brands can be inconsistent with sizing so you want to make sure you have the numbers that will help you choose clothing that will fit.
This Black Friday shopping tip applies to other items you plan on purchasing too. Will the new Samsung Smart TV fit on your entertainment stand or will you need to move things around and use a wall mount? That 19-inch roast pan will be great for Turkey and Christmas ham, but can it fit in your oven? Sure, that discounted laptop has a nice sleep look but do the system requirements meet the software at work? Those 90-inch grommet blackout curtains seem a bit short for the living room but when you get home you might find them sweeping the floor, and then some. Well, you get the idea.
If It’s Too Good To Be True…
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! This saying is old, but highly accurate. We should all be applying it to everything we do on a daily basis. Beware of the retailers who are trying to offload outdated tech like 3-year-old laptops for chump change. You might think you’re saving a lot until you realize the latest software doesn't run efficiently, or at all. Those heavily discounted shoes might leave you feeling embarrassed when the heels fall off while crossing the street.
One red flag that is hard to miss, even if you’re color-blind, is online stores with suspiciously low prices. Keep an eye out for those Facebook pages that claim to have products that you know are way too expensive to be going for that price. For example, human hair wigs of a certain length for cheap, or genuine leather bags and other accessories for way less than what they’re worth. No business will knowingly operate at a loss so you have to be smart. You will end up with mediocre or knock-off products, or the “online store” will disappear without a trace. In these cases you can always go through your bank to recover lost funds, but who wants to wait weeks for reimbursement? Filing chargebacks can be tedious, and this is only effective if you have the option to do so in the first place.
Make The Best Out of Black Friday Deals
If you’re an avid shopper, then you should know how important it is to make hay while logistics are flowing freely. Longer delivery times, increased demand and unexpected changes in the weather can ruin special moments. You could have trouble getting all the items on your list, especially if you shop later. Screaming at customer support about a package that won’t arrive for an event due to a snowstorm or heavy rain, won’t make the tracking update any faster. You’ll only end up with unnecessary stress. This is why it’s so important to make the best out of Black Friday deals.
Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You will be blasting in the stores, on the radio, and the timeless memes on social media will resurface. This is the annual sign that you need to start preparing for Christmas. Use Black Friday deals to check off most, if not all the items on your Christmas shopping list. If a loved one’s birthday is coming up in January, you can purchase the gift from now and stash it in a cozy place at the back of your wardrobe. Shoppers have gone as far as using Black Friday deals to prepare for Valentine’s Day.
We hope you use these Black Friday shopping tips to benefit from the biggest retail event of the year! Whether you’re shopping for holiday gifts or you’re giving your home a little makeover, scoring the best Black Friday deals is possible with the right approach. Don’t wait till the deals start rolling out before you start preparing. Do your research, make a detailed shopping plan, try to stick to your budget, and prepare to get the most out of the slew of Black Friday discounts.
Article contributed by Shedika McNeil exclusively for A Few Wood Men.