Save Money with Our Best 2018 Black Friday Shopping Tips
Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.
Can you believe the holidays are almost here?
If you’re planning to hit the stores this Black Friday 2018, read on for our best shopping tips to help you save money, time, and even your sanity! 🙌🏻
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is one of the biggest shopping days of the year… and it’s just weeks away! For many, the thrill of scoring an incredible deal is enough motivation to wake up at 3 AM to go shopping. But for others, the plethora of in-store deals can be overwhelming that you’d rather spend your time shopping online.
1. Plan. Plan. PLAN.
Create a plan and stick with it! If you’ve shopped on Black Friday before, you KNOW you’ve got to have a game plan before you head out. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness and make some impulse purchases you might regret – or even forget all the items you came for in the first place. 🙄
✅ IMPORTANT NOTE:
Soon, we’ll be sharing our official 2018 Black Friday Price Sheet with thousands of price comparisons on electronics, appliances, toys, and more to make it easy for you to plan your shopping trip. Until then, be sure to bookmark this page as we will be updating it with all the necessary details as more Black Friday ads are released. Note that this document is View Only.
We’ll also have a printable version that you’ll be able to print out and take with you while shopping if you’re wanting to check prices, highlight items you’re interested, or just plan ahead. Stay tuned!
2. Start with a budget.
This is arguably the most important factor in holiday shopping. It’s important to be responsible with your spending, so create a budget NOW and hold to it. It’s too easy to find a “great deal” (or fourteen 😉 ) and before you know it, your cart is brimming with impulse buys.
Another idea before heading out? Write down the names of everyone you’re shopping for as well as the amount you plan to spend per person. Then, stick to that list while you’re out shopping, and pay with CASH ONLY to guarantee you don’t overspend.
3. View the complete list of Black Friday ads.
Black Friday ad leaks are already starting to roll in. Check out all of the Black Friday Ads HERE for the most up-to-date ad scans, and check out Hip2Save’s list of store opening times and match-ups here. Decide which items are your must-haves first and then make a prioritized list of those stores that you want to shop, including their Black Friday opening times AND locations.
To prevent store-hopping, compare specific items at each store. Some items might be priced similar or even lower, but they may not be on the front page of the ad.
4. Know the store policies.
Familiarize yourself with each store’s price matching and/or coupon policy. Keep in mind that many stores create different price-matching policies specifically for Black Friday, so check before heading out. Price matching could save you a trip or two, but you’ll still need to know if they’ll honor it.
Here are a few store policy/price match pages:
5. Shop with a friend.
If you need multiple, limited, or doorbuster items, consider enlisting a shopping partner or two. Then you can split up and snag all of the limited items faster. Plus, it’s way more fun to shop with friends! 😊
HIP TIP: Carpooling is a great idea, BUT you need to factor in cargo space. If you all walk in and buy an HDTV or a play kitchen for your kiddos, make sure you have room for everything!
6. Be prepared to wait in line.
Black Friday lines are always pretty brutal, both outside the store AND at the checkout line. Wear comfy shoes and whatever outdoor gear you’ll need if you’ll be waiting outside. Also, consider leaving the kiddos at home or bring toys or other items to keep them entertained if they tag along with you.
Hip Tip: Some stores offer freebies to the first __ customers in line. If you’re planning to get up early anyway, aim to be one of the first 100 customers in line for a possible freebie.
7. Fuel up before heading out.
That means both your car AND your body! Bring water (or coffee! ☕️) and snacks if you’ll be out for a long time. You don’t want to waste precious shopping time stopping to get gas or food.
Hip Tip: Be friendly to other customers and store associates, too. One Hip2Save reader always takes candy with her when she shops and hands it out to those working on Black Friday! 😍
8. Score lots of freebies at the drugstores.
CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid have some of the very best Black Friday sales and freebies! They also typically have unbeatable gift card deals, as well as stocking stuffers, gift wrapping supplies, and holiday decor. Warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are also great options!
Also, if a Black Friday sale item is out of stock, be sure to get a raincheck if your store allows!
9. Snag discounted gift cards before Black Friday.
Score discounted and bargain gift cards at sites like Raise.com and eBay for stores you’re planning to shop anyway. This is a super easy way to save BIG, so plan ahead and buy them before heading out.
10. Get in the loop.
Most stores have special offers and early shopping deals for loyalty reward members and email subscribers. Check your inbox the week leading up to Thanksgiving as you might find a better than Black Friday deal. Don’t forget to follow your favorite stores on Facebook and Twitter AND sign up for text alerts! They often post secret deals on social media or leave hints about items that will be on sale.
Hip Tip: If you plan to sign up for email newsletters in hopes of receiving a coupon, be sure to sign up at least TWO weeks before Black Friday so you’ll receive your coupons in time.
11. Make sure your cell phone is ready.
Your phone will be your best shopping partner on Black Friday. Make sure it has a full battery and bring a portable charger in case your battery runs low! You should also download a price comparison app or two (and make sure it has a scanner). Also, load up on rewards apps like THESE.
Hip Tip: Get frustrated when you miss out on time-sensitive hot deals and freebies? Sign up for Hip2Save’s NEW HOT text messages to save money and get alerted when a hot deal pops up!
12. Know that not ALL doorbusters are good deals.
Comparing prices before heading out will give you a great idea for price points. Also, doorbuster items often sell for below a retailer’s costs just to lure in customers, but they are often non-brand-name models, sometimes created specifically for Black Friday with lower specs than a standard manufacturer’s line. It’s important to make sure that your “bargain item” has everything you want.
Not sure where to go? In the past, these stores have offered some of the best deals for the following categories, with JCPenney, Macy’s, and Kohl’s offering the highest percentage of in-store savings:
- JCPenney – best deals for clothing & shoes
- Office Depot and OfficeMax – best deals on computers
- Best Buy – best deals on electronics
- Amazon & Target – best deals on toys
- Macy’s & Kohl’s – best deals on small appliances
- CVS, Walgreens, & Rite-Aid – best deals on stocking stuffers
Also, if the items you’re looking for are not on the shelf or display, check the front of the store where other shoppers may have left items they weren’t sure about before checking out. Or, check with your cashier or a manager to see if someone happened to change their mind at the register and left the item you were looking for there – and they haven’t had time to put it back yet.
13. Keep your receipts!
After the adrenaline rush is over, you may realize that you got caught up in the Black Friday craziness and purchased items that you don’t really want or need. If you have the receipt handy, you MAY be able to return the item(s) and get a full refund, so hang onto them.
Or, instead of dealing with the Black Friday craziness, maybe…
…don’t bother heading into the madness at all!
Frankly, most retailers have started posting the same deals online on Thanksgiving Day, INCLUDING doorbusters! I can usually get 90% of my shopping done before Black Friday even comes around, and most of the other 10% can be finished on Small Business Saturday (at local shops) or Cyber Monday!
You can’t beat shopping in your pajamas! 🛋
Pre-Black Friday Pro Tip: Get your grocery shopping done BEFORE Thanksgiving. If you think Target is a madhouse anyway, just imagine trying to buy groceries during the busy holiday season.
And DON’T wear a red shirt when shopping at Target unless you want questions from strangers asking where they can find everything on their shopping list! 😂