A Shopper’s Guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the most important season for shoppers around the nation. Black Friday is known for its incredible in-store deals, but it can be overwhelming with its chaotic lines and early start times. You can browse deals from the comfort of your own home on Cyber Monday, but often businesses don’t release their ads until that day. To be a successful shopper on either day, you’ll need a game plan.

Here are some tips that will help you come out victorious on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday Musts

Make a wish list and research

Black Friday ads start leaking weeks before the actual day hits. Study those ads, decide what you want, and find out which store has the best deal. It’s also smart to outline second-choice alternatives, because sometimes your first choice sells out faster than you could imagine. Finally, make a list of the stores you’re going to hit in order, and stick to that plan.

Know the store inside and out

If you plan on waiting in long lines and make it into Best Buy only to end up in the appliance section when you wanted to be in the TV section, you’re probably not going to get the deal you wanted. With hundreds of people buzzing around with the goal to pick up their desired item before the next guy, you have to know exactly where you’re going.

Know the store before you go. When does it open? When should I get there, AKA how long are lines to get into the store on Black Friday? What is the layout of the store, and where is the item I want located? Every question you’ve never had to really worry about on other days, you should take some time to answer beforehand.

Download helpful apps

There are apps to help you compare deals, find deals, navigate Black Friday and more. One of our favorites is Dealnews, which pulls thousands of Black Friday ads and puts them into one place. Another one we recommend if you’ll be out and about on Black Friday is Waze, which shows you the quickest route and helps you avoid bad holiday traffic and crashes.

While checking an app during the rush of Black Friday may seem counterintuitive, it could save you a lot of money and time. Don’t miss out on a chunk of savings and download the apps that will give you the extra advantage.

Keep the kids at home

If you want to know why, do a quick Google search on “Black Friday chaos.” Spare your little ones.

Cyber Monday Musts

Make a wish list and subscribe

The wish list tip still applies before Cyber Monday, but it may be hard to research which stores have the best deals when they don’t release their ads until that day. Still, figuring out which online stores are most likely to have your items on sale can put you ahead. Subscribe to the email lists of the stores you think will have deals on your items. Those who subscribe usually get first pick because they get the first deal notifications. Subscribing to Amazon or other big retailers is usually a good idea, even if you unsubscribe the next day!

Check for extra coupons before you check out

Before you submit your order, check out Retailmenot.com to make sure you aren’t missing out on any big deals. You just type in the name of the store you’re shopping with, and a list of coupons and corresponding promotional codes pop up. It’s an easy way to get free shipping or an extra percentage off of your order, and it only takes a few seconds.

Keep checking for deals throughout the day

On Cyber Monday, there are different waves of deals that come out at different times throughout the day. If that camera isn’t on sale in the morning, don’t give up hope – just check back a bit later.
Another good way to keep tabs on new deals is by following the businesses that have what you want on social media. Sometimes they’ll release deals exclusively over Twitter or Facebook. It’s worth your time to figure out how to navigate these sites beforehand so you don’t miss out on the deal you want.

Don’t get scammed

If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Keep an eye out for deals that don’t seem realistic. If you have older, less tech-savvy relatives trying their hand at Cyber Monday this year, warn them of how easy it is to be scammed online. It may be smart to stay by their side as they search for their first time.
With the huge shift of shoppers from the stores to the web, online consumerism has become more and more popular every year. If you prefer to dodge the traffic, long lines and chaotic people fighting for the last blender, Cyber Monday was made for you.

If you like the rush Black Friday brings, make sure you follow your game plan, stay safe and play fair. No deal on a microwave is worth a fight in the aisle of Walmart. Or your dignity.

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