How to Make the Most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday is upon us. The monument of consumerism that reminds us of what we don't have and want, just a day after we get together to give thanks for what we have. It's a great time to be alive. It is also a time to prepare. I want to provide some advice on how to make the most of your dollar on Black Friday.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the ads and all the offers being thrown in your face leading up to Black Friday. Being only a few days away, I want you to slow down for now. The most successful people plan in advance, and in a day that emphasizes savings, here are some tips how to maximize your money.
Figure out how you're paying
You might think this is obvious, but there are nuances at play. With it being so easy to get overwhelmed with data, slow down, and think this through. Here are some bullet points to go through:
Look for gift cards. You may have some leftover Visa gift cards, Best Buy gift cards, store credit, whatever. Slow down and look. The only thing better than getting Nier Automata this week for $25 at Best Buy, will be using my $15 worth of credit to get it for $10.
Get your loyalty cards ready. Don't be that guy at the register. Don't scramble, but don't forget. I don't care how much I save, I want my damn points, and so should you.
Check your credit card statement closure dates. They vary, and it may benefit you to use one card over another if you can delay paying for it until much later. One of mine is on the 17th, so that will be the card I use. Also check to see if you are close to the limit. Remember, always try to avoid maxing out any card.
Did you recently get a new credit card? Check conditions for bonuses. Lots of cards have a "spend x amount to get x bonus". What better time to do it then when you are saving the most? Also check what categories give you the most points on card purchases, and use the appropriate card. MAXIMIZE BABY!
Get your shopping portals ready
As stated here, shopping portals give you extra money for going through them first before you buy. Stack that on top of credit card points, loyalty program points, and savings...oooh. Nothing gets you more excited.
Prepare your online portals. Whether it's Southwest Rapid Rewards, Swagbucks, eBates, someone will pay you to go through them first. There is no reason not to get that little extra. There will sometimes be extra on certain stores, so check your shopping portal of choice to make sure you maximize your rewards.
In-store portals. Yes, there are apps. You can use Ibotta for instance, to get 1% at Best Buy. You can use Shopkick at several retailers to get kicks for purchases made there. These are the only ones I know of. They don't work at every single store, but being ready doesn't hurt. Every penny counts.
Shopkick. They will give you kicks for simply walking into certain stores. If you are going to be making a lot of stops, get that paper. Stack it for later!
Go through the ads
Common sense right? You won't know what to buy if you don't see the ads. There are nuances to this as well however.
Find your #1 item. This will be crucial in planning out your days. Ideally, your #1 and most other desired items are in one store. If they are not, however, you may have to make some compromises.
Not all doorbusters are created equal. Some are a better deal than others. Your most desired item might not be that "hot" of a deal. Once you find your item, research it's value. For instance, the $179 Sharp 4K TV at Best Buy is one of the best deals all weekend. It will be heavily sought, so plan on fighting for that. The $199 Playstation 4 1TB however, not so hot, and can be gotten easily.
Figure out how much of a deal it is. Stores are hoping that you purchase other items along with the loss leaders. Look up your other items of interest online. Lots of times, the savings aren't that great. They will always show the amount off MSRP, but some items are on sale all the time. Bing the item in question, it will be easy to find.
For games, go to this thread here. It is a master list of all deals, even including a link to a spreadsheet with all games on sale, and all store prices.
Above all else, be safe, and remember to always follow Wheaton's Law: Don't be a dick. The nicer you are to all employees you interact with, the more likely they are to "find it in the back", get one a customer left behind, etc. Plus...you don't want to get home with a bloody nose. I wish you the best of luck, and lots of savings.