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Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Holiday, Savings Advice | 0 comments

How to Get BIG Black Friday Savings…Without Leaving your House!

If you have been brave enough to head to the stores on a Black Friday, then you know how crazy it can get.  People pushing and shoving, lines literally wrapped around the entire store that could take hours to get through, low stock on the hottest items…why do we continue to torture ourselves?

While I do love the people-watching aspect of in-store Black Friday shopping, and every so often I will head out at 5 am the day after Thanksgiving just for that purpose, the overwhelming majority of my holiday shopping is done right from my laptop while sitting in my comfy recliner.

And I still save as much, or more, than I would by going to the stores.

If you would prefer to skip those long in-store Black Friday lines this year, then here are some strategies that you can use to maximize your time and minimize your shopping bill.

Black-Friday-Savings

Make A List

It doesn’t help you save if you don’t have a plan for exactly what you want to spend.  The deals are plentiful during November and December and you can quickly go broke buying lots of items that are 50% off or more.

You can make a simple list in a spreadsheet listing out each person you need a gift (or gifts) for in one column and how much you want to spend on them in another column.  Then, when you find something for each person, add two more columns: one for listing what you got them and the other to record exactly what you spent.

You can add up the two price columns to see what your overall budget is and then how close you came to meeting that budget.

If you don’t keep a list of some kind then it will be very difficult to stay within your holiday gift budget.

For those who would prefer a printed budget instead of a spreadsheet, you can print out this one from Simple Mom.

Once you have your budget, the easiest way that I have found to stick to that budget when shopping online is to see if your bank has a prepaid credit card option that you can use.  That way, if you only use your prepaid card, there’s no chance of you accidentally going over what you were planning on spending.

Check Reviews

One thing that I have seen over the past several years of closely following all of the holiday sales is that companies will not only put out deals on the popular items, but they will also put HUGE markdowns on items with horrible reviews to clear out their inventory.

Before you buy anything on sale that you haven’t already researched, be sure to check the reviews on Amazon or Best Buy before you make the purchase.  There might be a reason that the price is so low.

Know When The Sales Start Online

It seems like the online sales start earlier and earlier each year.  Last year there were companies starting their Black Friday online sales on the Tuesday before Black Friday.

Most frugal blogs like my own Surviving The Stores, will let you know when all of the online sales start so that you can beat the crowds and still get the best prices.

Check For Coupon Codes

In addition to the Black Friday markdowns that are available online, many retailers offer coupon codes for a percentage off or free shipping.  Last year Kohl’s offered an extra 20% off plus free shipping on top of their Black Friday prices.

You can search for the most current coupon codes on websites like Savings.com and Valpak.com to find out if an online retailer has any coupon codes that you can use to make those Black Friday discounts even larger.

With the savings online being as good or better than at the stores (not to mention how much easier it is to check for reviews online), there is really no need to wake up at 5 am and fight the lines at the stores to save big on holiday shopping. I’ll take my cup of coffee and comfy recliner over that any day, especially on Black Friday.

Guest blogger Rachel Holland is a Savings.com DealPro and founder of SurvivingTheStores.com. Rachel scours the internet daily to bring her readers the best deals, coupons, freebies and money-saving tips.

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