Maximizing savings: finance tips for Black Friday shoppers

If you’re looking for some Black Friday shopping tips, then you’ve landed on the right page, as we’ll cover everything you need...

Nicholas Kira

17 November 2023

17 min read

If you’re looking for some Black Friday shopping tips, then you’ve landed on the right page, as we’ll cover everything you need to know for the big day, to ensure you get the best Black Friday deals. But just what is Black Friday: how did it come about and what actually happens on that day? Black Friday is an annual shopping event that originated in the US and then migrated to other countries. It takes place on the last Friday of November (24th November this year), after Thanksgiving, and snowballs into peak buying season for Christmas, with many buying gifts on this day. It’s a major shopping day, due to the fact that retailers – across a 24-hour period – offer significant discounts and special deals on anything from electronics, household appliances, clothes, beauty products, toys, and much more (the list is almost endless). These deals and discounts are available in both physical shops and online, offering a huge choice to consumers.

In recent years Black Friday sales have continued beyond one day and extended into a ‘Black Friday Weekend’, followed by ‘Cyber Monday’, when loads of tech gadgets (laptops, tablets, phones, and so on) are available at knock-down prices. Apart from knowing when it is and what it is, it also makes sense to plan ahead to make the most of Black Friday savings. Researching deals in advance, creating a shopping list, and prioritizing purchases based on need and value will help you make the most of the Black Friday sales, and reduce the risk of overspending. And remember, many shops start their sales at the crack of dawn, so be prepared to get up early if you want to bag a bargain. Read on for more shopping tips for Black Friday, including the importance of setting (and sticking to) a budget, how to avoid impulse buys, using price comparison tools, watching social media for deal alerts, and how to make the most of Cyber Monday too.  

Preparing for Black Friday Sales

The importance of setting a budget

While it’s easy to get carried away with the seemingly endless array of incredible deals available on Black Friday, it’s a good idea to set a budget in advance. This will help you to make the most of this annual shopping event while spending within your means. It’s one of the best tips for Black Friday shopping, as it’s all too easy to be reeled in by the big discounts, get carried away, and overspend, potentially leading to financial strain further down the line. By establishing a budget, you can decide on a specific amount of money you’re willing to spend, preventing impulse purchases, which cause you to go beyond your financial limits. A budget should also allow you to only focus on buying items that you genuinely need and those which provide significant value. Ultimately, sticking to your set budget will allow you to enjoy the benefits of the event without the risk of post-shopping regret and financial stress. And remember, budgeting doesn’t just apply to one-off events, like Black Friday – it’s a good idea to budget carefully all year round.  

Making a shopping list: why it’s important

Creating a shopping list is another good Black Friday tip, enabling you to stay well-organized while deals are flying about you, left, right, and center. The sheer volume of deals available can be overwhelming, and without a list, it’s much easier to give in to impulsive purchases or forget to buy items you actually need. A well-thought-out shopping list keeps you focused on specific items that are of higher priority or have been on your wish lists for a while, but up until Black Friday had been unaffordable. It also helps you stay within their budget, as mentioned above. And having a physical list in your hand, or on your phone, while weaving through the often chaotic shopping environment on Black Friday, can save you time and reduce your stress levels allowing you to make the most of the fantastic deals and promotions, without missing out on items you came for.  

Proven Black Friday tips

Researching prices before Black Friday

Researching prices ahead of Black Friday is the smart way to ensure you’re getting a good deal on the day. It enables you to differentiate between genuine discounts and marketing tactics, as some retailers may inflate prices before the event only to offer seemingly substantial reductions (a bit like when your favorite coffee is suddenly “only $2.99” at the supermarket, but has been at $4.99 for weeks). By knowing the usual prices of the items you want, you can make sure you make the best Black Friday savings when the day comes. Researching the best deals on specific products, ensures you don’t miss out on genuine bargains among the various other offers during the event. A bit of research also allows you to make comparisons between different retailers selling the same products, so you can see who’s offering the most competitive discounts, potentially saving you a considerable amount of money. Ultimately, doing your research in advance of Black Friday, will help you to make well-informed purchasing decisions, maximize savings, and get the most out of this event.  

The significance of starting early

If you want to make the most of the Black Friday deals available, then it’s best to start shopping early, as many shops open before the standard time of 9 am, to generate as much business as possible. Starting early will ensure you grab the best deals and products before they run out of stock, especially for popular items, like laptops, phones, and kitchen appliances. Getting in there early also means you’re less likely to get stuck in crowded shops, offering a slightly more relaxed experience than the one you’d get if you went later in the day. You can then, in turn, avoid the rush and long lines that tend to build up as the day progresses. And starting early gives you the chance to explore multiple shops and compare deals before the masses descend, and chaos ensues!

Young african american woman shopkeeper smiling confident using credit card and data phone at clothing store

How to avoid impulse buying

With all the Black Friday savings that will be available, it’s all too easy to make impulse purchases – things you don’t really need, but are just buying because they’re relatively cheap compared to the usual prices. But it’s important to stick to the budget you’ve set and only buy what you originally set out to, so here are some tips to help you resist the temptation of impulse buying:  

Prioritize purchases: Rank your shopping list in priority order. Start with the most important items that you definitely want to get, and only consider less important purchases if your budget allows for them.

Use cash or debit card: Leave any credit cards at home and pay with cash or a debit card. This will limit the possibility of you overspending.

Set time limits: Allocate a specific amount of time for your Black Friday shopping trip, or limit the amount of time you spend in each shop. The longer you’re out shopping, the more likely you are to make impulse purchases.

Avoid “one-click” shopping: When shopping online, don’t save your payment details for quick purchases, as this will make it easy to just tap or click “buy”, without really thinking about it. Having extra steps to go through can give you time to reconsider your choices.

Take breaks: If you feel tempted to make an impulse purchase, step away from the shops/screen for a few minutes. Use this time to consider whether you really need that item.

Seek accountability: Shop with a friend or family member who can hold you accountable for your purchasing decisions and remind you of the budget you originally set.

Unsubscribe from retail emails: In the days leading up to Black Friday, unsubscribe from promotional emails to reduce the temptation of last-minute deals.

Sleep on It: If you’re unsure about a purchase, give yourself a ‘cooling-off’ period. Delay the decision and revisit it the next day. Don’t forget, Black Friday now rolls into Black Friday Weekend, so there’s time to go back and buy something if you’re unsure there and then.  

Using price comparison tools

Using price comparison tools is yet another way to make savings on Black Friday. Start by researching and identifying reliable price comparison websites and apps well in advance. Good examples of price comparison tools are Google Shopping, Price Runner, and Camel Camel Camel (yes, really!) – all worth a look. Familiarize yourself with the features of these sites/apps, and set up any desired price alerts. As Black Friday approaches, start searching for the products you wish to buy. These tools allow you to compare prices across various retailers, which will help you to identify the best deals. Pay attention to shipping costs, as they can increase the cost of each purchase. And try to read product reviews and ratings for anything you’re looking to buy, to ensure the quality of that item. Mobile apps are particularly handy for in-store price checks. Price Runner, mentioned above, has an app which you can download for free. But while it’s good to exercise caution and make these comparisons, keep in mind that Black Friday deals tend to go quickly, so act promptly when you find a great offer.  

Some more Black Friday Tips and Tricks

Insider tips for making the most of the sales

We’ve covered a few of the big tips we can offer already, such as setting and sticking to a budget, creating a shopping list, researching prices in advance, and starting your shopping spree early, but here are some other things you may not have considered:  

Sign up for retailer emails: Subscribe to email newsletters from your favorite retailers to receive exclusive deals and notifications in advance. That way, you’ll be one step ahead of other shoppers when the big day comes.

Follow social media: Retailers often promote exclusive deals and discounts on their social media accounts. Follow them to stay updated.

Set up alerts: Some retailers offer email or app alerts for their Black Friday deals. Sign up for these to be notified of promotions as soon as they come up.

Online shopping: Be prepared to shop online as well, rather than physically going to shops. Many retailers offer the same discounts on their websites, so you can avoid the in-store chaos, the crowds, and the lines.

Stay safe online: If you’re going to shop online beware of phishing scams and fraudulent websites, which are common around Black Friday and the festive season in general. Stick to well-known and reputable online retailers.

Check return policies: Make sure you understand the return policies of the stores you plan to shop from. This is especially important for high-value electrical goods.

Cashback and rewards: Look for cashback deals and reward programmes offered by credit cards or retailers to maximize your savings on the day.

Use loyalty cards: If you have loyalty cards or memberships with specific retailers, make use of them to access exclusive, member-only deals.

Consider refurbished items: Sometimes, refurbished electronics and products offer significant savings without compromising on quality — well worth considering.

Read reviews: Before making a purchase, read reviews on that item thoroughly, to ensure you’re getting a quality product.

Man and her dog is relaxing at home and shopping electronics online during Black Friday sale.

Utilizing social media and newsletters for deal alerts

We’ve touched a bit on using social media and emails/newsletters, above, to keep you informed of the best Black Friday deals out there, but now it’s time to look at that tactic in a little more depth. Here’s what you can do…  

Across social media: Follow retailers: Start by following your favorite retailers and brands on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Many retailers post exclusive deals and promotions on their social accounts.

Turn on notifications: Enable post notifications for those same retailers, so you receive immediate alerts when they make Black Friday announcements or posts about special offers.

Use hashtags: keep an eye out for hashtags related to Black Friday, such as #BlackFriday, to discover deals and promotions from a variety of sources.

Join deal groups: Look for local or national deal-sharing groups on social media platforms. These groups are often active during Black Friday, and the weekend that follows, and can provide real-time deal alerts and tips from members.

Engage with Influencers: Some social media influencers specialize in sharing deals and discounts. Follow influencers who focus on retail and keep an eye on their posts.

Bookmark stories: On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, keep an eye on Stories from retailers, as they often feature one-off, time-sensitive deals.  

Newsletters: Subscribe early: Sign up for retailers’ newsletters well in advance of Black Friday. Many of them send exclusive deal alerts to their subscribers in this way.

Create a separate email folder: Organize your inbox by creating a separate folder for Black Friday newsletters. This way, you can quickly access and review deals, without having to scroll through all of your other, unrelated emails.

Check your spam folder: Occasionally, legitimate newsletters may end up in your spam folder. Check it regularly to ensure you don’t miss important alerts.

Unsubscribe after Black Friday: After the event, consider unsubscribing from newsletters you no longer need, to declutter your inbox. Every newsletter – by law – should have the option to unsubscribe, if you scroll to the bottom of it.

Visit retailer websites: Some retailers post exclusive deals on their websites first. Check their websites as well as your inbox, to increase your chances of making Black Friday savings. If you employ these strategies in the run-up to, and during, Black Friday and still don’t quite get what you’re looking for, don’t worry, because Cyber Monday takes place on the other side of the weekend…

Cyber Monday: extending your savings

Cyber Monday is your chance for a second bite of the cherry when it comes to making significant savings, particularly when it comes to electrical goods and tech gadgets. It’s an online shopping event that takes place on the Monday following the Black Friday weekend. On that Monday, various retailers offer big discounts and special promotions on a wide range of products, through online sales. It’s the digital version of the more traditional Black Friday, when people actually visit the shops, allowing you to find great deals and discounts from the comfort of your own home.  

Transitioning from Black Friday to Cyber Monday

Now that we’ve covered shopping tips for Black Friday, it’s time to turn our attention to Cyber Monday. The transition from Black Friday to Cyber Monday marks a seamless shift from in-store bargain hunting to online shopping from home or your workplace (although it’s probably advisable to do this during your lunch break). As Black Friday weekend comes to an end, Cyber Monday maintains the excitement of the incredible deals that are still available, but with a focus on e-commerce. You can expect a vast array of online sales, special promotions, and exclusive discounts on a whole range of products – mainly electrical goods and gadgets, but also covering homeware and fashion. This transition from Black Friday to Cyber Monday represents a change in the way consumers engage with retailers, emphasizing the convenience and accessibility of online shopping while providing a second chance to bag yourself some fantastic deals and kickstart the holiday shopping season – getting all your gifts sorted in one go.  

Special deals and promotions on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday offers a wide range of special deals and promotions, across different retailers and individual brands. Here are just some of the deals and discounts you can expect to find:  

Electronics: Cyber Monday often features significant discounts on electronics, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles. Retailers will most likely offer exclusive online-only deals on these products.

Tech gadgets: Look out for deals on tech gadgets such as smartwatches, headphones, cameras, smart speakers, and other electronic accessories.

Fashion: Beyond electronics, many clothing retailers participate in Cyber Monday, offering discounts on clothing, shoes, and accessories. You can find special promotions on winter fashion items, holiday outfits, and more.

Home and kitchen appliances: Cyber Monday is a great time to find deals on home and kitchen appliances like vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, and air fryers.

Beauty products: You’ll find a number of retailers offering online discounts on beauty and personal care products, including makeup, skincare, fragrances, and grooming items.

Toys and games: Cyber Monday is an excellent opportunity to buy toys and games for children and adults alike, so look out for discounts on popular toys and board games.

Travel deals: Some travel agencies and airlines offer exclusive online promotions on Cyber Monday, making it a good time to book flights, hotels, and holiday packages.

Gift cards: Retailers may offer gift card deals, such as getting an extra gift card when you purchase one, which can be a great way to save on future purchases.

Free shipping: Many online retailers provide free or discounted shipping options for Cyber Monday, which can save you a fair few pounds. As with Black Friday, to make the most of Cyber Monday, research in advance, set a budget, prioritize certain items over others, and keep an eye on your favorite retailers’ websites and newsletters for their latest offers.  

How to get the most out of Black Friday: in conclusion

If you’re looking to bag a bargain or two (over even several) in the Black Friday sales, it makes sense to look out for advice and tips for Black Friday shopping, including those we’ve mentioned in this post. The best thing you can do is to plan ahead, rather than simply diving in, head first, on the day itself, so; do your research on prices in advance, set a budget you can stick to, create a shopping list, and prioritize only the items on there, and use price comparison tools so you can tell if you’re definitely getting a good deal, rather than just being snared by marketing gimmicks.

Doing all of the above should help you to avoid impulse purchases, where you buy things you really don’t need, or which take you beyond your set budget, and only lead to regret later on. If you intend to visit shops in person, be sure to start early in the morning to get the best deals and avoid the mad rush later in the day, when the shops become particularly crowded. And whether you’re actually visiting shops or shopping online, use the power of the digital world – follow social media accounts of retailers/brands for the latest deals, sign up for their newsletters, and set up alerts to notify you when special offers or promotions come up. Lastly, if you miss out on something you really wanted on Black Friday, don’t fret. Cyber Monday follows on from that event and there are plenty of bargains to be had on this day too.

And maybe something to bear in mind for future Black Fridays: if you work shifts through the Indeed Flex app, you could gain access to Flexer Benefits, giving you savings on all sorts of big brands. So, come next year, you could get discounts on your discounts! Download the app today!