A Money Saving Expert Shares Her Black Friday Shopping Tips

If there’s one thing many of us are ready to do after Thanksgiving – besides starting a new diet – it’s shopping for discounts. With that in mind we asked money-saving expert, Andrea Woroch, to highlight her top Black Friday shopping tips, so we can all hopefully come out of this holiday season without dipping into the red!

Make a shopping game plan.

“One thing about Black Friday that can cause you to overspend, is not having a shopping game plan. If you approach Black Friday without plan, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and buy things you really don’t need or miss out on better savings elsewhere. Spend time ahead of Black Friday reviewing store circulars to see which retailers will have the lowest prices on the items you want to buy (make a gift list, too!) and note down when their sales will start.That means, don’t assume all the best sales will happen on the Friday after Thanksgiving! In fact, all the major retailers including Walmart, Best Buy and Target will be rolling out early-bird Black Friday deals starting the first week of November. Deals will change every week or could change daily, so it’s important to look at the fine print and set alerts in your calendar so you don’t miss them when they drop!”

Beware of derivatives.

“A low price on a poorly made item or lousy product isn’t really a good deal, it’s a waste of money. When you shop on Black Friday, it’s important to know that some doorbuster items sold at rockbottom prices may be what’s known as a derivative. What this means is, the product is made to look like a regular model or style solid throughout the year but it could be made of cheaper material or missing key features and accessories in order to keep the cost to manufacture low and thus offer a super cheap price. If there is a certain gadget you want to buy, look up the model number to see if it was sold all year long or new for the holidays. Then do a little more research and look at the features and other specs to make sure it’s what you are really wanting to buy. For clothing and home goods, look and feel the product to ensure it’s made of quality material that will last.”

Look for extra cash back.

“On top of look for sales, we are going to see some cash back sites offering even higher reward earning potential during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Before you buy anything online, click through a cash back site like CouponCabin.com to make sure you’re getting something back for the purchases you’re going to be making anyway. Meanwhile, you can also earn cash back when shopping in person by using an app like Dosh. Just link your credit card to Dosh and you will earn extra cash back every time you swipe that card at a partner store.”

black friday

Image: Getty

Know what to buy and what to skip.

“Not everything sold over Black Friday is going to be the best deal you can get this holiday season. Some doorbusters are priced low to attract you into the store with the hopes of getting you to spend more on items that aren’t discounted or offer just a small percent savings. Unless it’s something that is low in inventory and a specific item on your list, wait to buy anything that isn’t marked down. You will find plenty of deals in December after these holiday sales!”

Rethink rebate savings. 

“Some Black Friday deals require you to mail in a rebate. Since many people forget to take those extra steps or lose a necessary part of the rebate fulfillment like the receipt or barcode, it may be better to chose the store that offers money off discount rather than a mail in rebate to save.”

Snag free gift cards or store cash.

“Some retailers like to offer free gift cards with purchase for their Black Friday deal which can help offset other holiday gift purchases so look out for these types of sales from retailers like Target and Best Buy particularly on electronic gifts. Meanwhile, stores like Kohls and GAP family of brands often provides store-cash promos to use on a future purchase. Plan this strategically to ensure you get that free money to use towards those last minute gifts. Keep in mind though, Kohl’s Cash and GAP cash have specific dates for when these vouchers can be used. Jot it down in your calendar so you don’t forget to use those dollars before they expire!”