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Shopping Tips for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Make sure to stick to a holiday budget when shopping online

The end of the year definitely isn’t easy on household budgets. Gifts, food, and travel can compel people to spend beyond their means, causing credit card debt to get out of hand. Avoid the stress of overspending by crafting a personalized holiday spending plan and incorporating it into your budget.

Once you have your spending plan set, you can take advantage of deals retailers are already offering ahead of Thanksgiving weekend. But be wary, sometimes the onslaught of appetizing deals can backfire and entice you to spend more than you otherwise would. If you end up with more debt than you can manage by the holiday’s end, give us a call at (866) 475-5233 to set up a free, confidential debt analysis with a certified credit counselor.

1. Don’t pick the first deal that comes your way

The biggest mistake shoppers make with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals is assuming that those two days are going to deliver the most phenomenal deals. Retailers often use clever tricks to convince you that you’re getting the deal of a lifetime when you’re not.

  • It’s not uncommon for retailers to mark up prices in the weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so that when they mark them down as “sales” you really end up paying the original price before the pre-Black Friday markup. Do your research and look at prices beforehand so you don’t get duped!

2. Start comparing prices early

With Step 1 in mind, we recommend going online and beginning your comparison shopping for the items on your holiday shopping list early:

  1. Start by making a list of everything from decorations to table settings. You want to narrow it down to the closest dime. The better your idea of how much you need to spend the higher your chances of avoiding overspending.
  2. Go online and search for each product you need to buy. Then compare prices from the various retailers who are offering said product.
  3. Write down the best prices, where you can buy the goods, and which retailer is offering the lowest price because you may be able to get price-matching in-store. Note when deals are better online versus the in-store deals.
  4. Use search engines results as a quick at-a-glance way to compare prices from different retailers.
  5. Once Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals start popping up, compare their prices to the prices you’ve found to see where the best deals really are.
  6. Keep an eye out for the extreme deals and take advantage of them. This will also help reduce the number of transactions you need to make on Black Friday and Cyber Monday which can help you avoid debt.
  7. Finally, limit Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping to products and stores that actually offer the best deals.

3. Follow these tips to save big on Black Friday

Once you know exactly which items on your list you need to buy on Black Friday and where, it’s time to plan your Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping strategy.

  1. Get copies of all of the deals you’ll be using on Black Friday and print them out or save them to your smartphone. You can even keep multiple tabs open on your smartphone’s browser for reference.
  2. Note the stores and when those retailers open their doors for Black Friday shopping.
  3. Plan ahead. Map out the route that lets you start with buying the item most likely to sell out first so you don’t miss out on your must-haves. Make sure your shopping route does not require you to drive back and forth all over the place to find the best deals.
  4. Pay attention to the stores that are offering exclusives to their paying members. For example, Walmart is offering its paying Walmart+ members early access to online Black Friday events four hours earlier than the scheduled start times throughout November.
  5. Keep your receipts in case retailers offer after-holiday price matching. This is where the retailer will refund the difference of an item purchased before the holidays if the price drops lower after the holidays are over.

4. Take these steps to maximize Cyber Monday savings

Ahead of Cyber Monday, sign up for email alerts and follow your favorite retailers on social networks. That way you can stay ahead of the curve and will often get exclusive offers not yet available to the public.

  1. Make sure online offers aren’t beaten by in-store offers. Even on email promotions, some retailers offer bigger deals for in-store purchases rather than ordering online.
  2. Write down or save coupon codes. Certain offers may not be displayed on the coupon code list on the website.
  3. Use digital coupon apps like Honey to find deals. These sites also have desktop browser extensions which will automatically search for coupon codes on any site where you shop.
  4. You can also use rebate apps on your smartphone or as browser extensions that allow you to earn cash back. Browser extensions like Rakuten and iBotta will search for rebates as you shop, and you can activate them before you checkout. Rebates stack with coupons, meaning you can double your savings on many purchases.
  5. If you have multiple offers from a single store, make sure they can stack. Some stores only let you apply one coupon code per order or per product. Otherwise, make sure to use offers that maximize your savings.
  6. If you are purchasing major appliances like refrigerators, washers, or dryers, you may be better off buying it in-store (ideally with free delivery) since the weight of the product may make shipping expensive. Make sure the price discount isn’t completely offset by shipping charges.

5. Minimize credit card debt and interest charges

Just like shipping costs on a heavy item can offset a great deal when you’re shopping online, interest charges can do the same thing to those deals if you put purchases on a credit card.

Let’s say you spend $300 between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all of the transactions are put on one credit card with an average 15% APR. If it takes you 6 months to pay off that balance by making $60 payments every month, then you add $14.26 in interest charges. If you only made minimum payments, it would take 24 months to pay off and add $59.36 in interest charges. Those added finance charges could easily eat up the savings from the sale.

  • On Black Friday, your best option is to pay in cash – it avoids adding debt to your credit card balances and helps protect your debit accounts from potential data breaches.
  • For Cyber Monday, an online payment service like PayPal is the best option – you don’t have to enter sensitive account information and there aren’t interest charges since you can only spend the money you have saved in the account.

If you are finding it difficult paying off holiday credit card debt, contact Consolidated Credit to speak with certified credit counselor to find the best way to get out of debt.