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3 Tips for Black Friday Shopping

tips for black friday shoppingCan you believe it? Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away! Don’t get me wrong; it’s important we focus on Thanksgiving and all the things we are grateful for, but let’s face it – every media source is demanding we focus our attention to the day after, Black Friday. Granted, this day offers some of the best deals you can get all year but we’ve got to be cautious against spontaneous purchases and getting things just because they’re on sale.

3 Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Here are my 3 tips for Black Friday shopping that can help you stay on track with your finances simply by planning ahead.

1. Make a list

Without looking at any ads, make a list of things you “need” to replace in your home and things you want to replace or purchase. This is one of the best tips for black Friday shopping out there. If you aren’t organized with what you need, then you’ll just end up spending a bunch of money on useless wants instead. New furniture or a new TV is not a need… But, if you plan ahead of time and have been thinking about these purchases for a while, then perhaps it is worth adding them to your list.

As an example, my husband had a recent need. He owns only one pair of khakis and the pockets and belt loops are frayed, making them look a little unprofessional. I added the brand and size of dress pants he likes to my list. When the Black Friday sales roll I’ll already know what I want to get and will be more likely to stick to my list.

Two years ago we put a deep freezer on our list because we were expecting our first baby and I wanted extra room to stock freezer meals, breast milk, and a quarter beef share we signed up to get. Having done my research on what kind of freezer we wanted made my shopping experience much less stressful. Since I’m obsessed with lists, I also keep a running list on my phone with gift ideas for family and friends for whom I plan to buy a gift. This past summer my mom mentioned a kitchen item she wanted to replace so I added it to my gift list. This ensured that I wouldn’t be left scrambling to find a present under the pressure of Black Friday and last minute shopping.

One of the best tips for black Friday shopping: make a list!

tips for black friday shopping2. Shop from home

Some stores offer huge Black Friday discounts on products, but only carry a few of these items at each store which means you need to camp out if you really want that deal. Electronic stores tend to do this by carrying 5 or less TVs that have the special crazy sale and once they’re gone, they’re gone. However, if you aren’t looking for an exclusive item, it’s likely you can get what you want by ordering it online. It’s not uncommon to see free shipping offered on Black Friday as well. Next on the list of tips for black Friday shopping – shop from home!

Back to my example of khaki pants for my husband – rather than waking up before the crack of dawn to freeze in line at a department store, digging through a pile of pants to find his size, attempting to ignore all the other deals on things I’d love to have but don’t really need, and then waiting in the longest line ever full of cranky people waiting to check-out, I can log in to the department store’s website when the sale goes live and order the pants with free shipping. Talk about a stress saver! On top of the convenience of shopping in my PJs with a coffee in hand, I won’t be tempted by all the other sales being flashed in my face if I had gone to the actual store.

tips for black friday shopping3. Do your research

You see a TV that will be on sale for 40% of the original price on Black Friday. That sounds like a great deal, but how does it compare to other brands? The last of the 3 tips for black Friday shopping is to do your research! Be sure to price compare by checking sizes, brands, and bundled sales (sometimes a sound bar or Blue-Ray DVD player are thrown in with a TV sale). Whether you’re shopping for a TV or a sofa, you can still price compare pretty easily.

I see people fall for ordinary non-black Friday sales all the time with food in stores. For example, a brand name cereal may be on sale but even so, the full-price generic brand is still cheaper. Another thing to consider – many stores have huge discounts on “open box” items. This is how we bought our first TV. Nothing was wrong with the TV but since it had already been bought and returned there was a significant discount on the item that made it even cheaper than the sale items. This requires stopping in the store once in awhile since you can’t predict when someone will return an item but if you wait until after the holidays, chances are there will be some TVs that were bought on Black Friday and then marked down after they were returned.

Some holidays are better than others depending what item you’re looking for, so this is helpful to research. From my understanding, President’s Day in February is a great time to look for deals on electronics because stores are trying to purge their 2015 products to make room for newer 2016 products. Also, as it turns out, Thanksgiving Day turns out to be a better day to shop than Black Friday!

With a little planning ahead, you can protect your wallet and shop smart for the holidays. The holidays can do some real damage to our waist and wallet, so having a plan can keep you on track to end the new year on top.

What are some of the best Black Friday deals you’ve scored?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. My tip for black Friday shopping is…..don’t. Sleep in, spend the day eating leftovers and playing games with the kiddos and then on the local evening news, laugh at all the people out there interviewed by the news team to find out if they saved $50 on a big screen TV at Walmart AGAIN this year. My goal is to have most of my shopping done before Thanksgiving and I usually do pretty good except for my procrastinating adult son who doesn’t see the urgency in getting a wish list to me.

  2. Kathy- I agree! It’s been a few years since I went out on Black Friday. Since my due date with baby #2 is tomorrow I made an effort to get all my shopping done before November so I’m set to go this year!

  3. Great tips! I think making a list before you look at ads is critical to avoid impulse shopping. I’m not a big Black Friday shopper, but a few years ago, my wife and I bought a PC for my mother-in-law from a Black Friday deal. We knew what we wanted to get, did the research in advance, and decided it was worth it. So we got up at the crack of dawn, waited in line, and hoped we’d get one of the tickets, which we did. I can see how easy it is to get caught up in the hoopla and buy things that you don’t need and/or aren’t really good bargains.

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