The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday 2018: 21 Tips + Hacks

Black Friday week is the biggest sale event of the year – it’s so big that people and retailers plan around it to get the most savings (or revenue, in the case of retailers) out of it. This is also the reason why Black Friday shopping is no easy feat – if you really want to get access to the best big ticket deals with the greatest savings. Heck, people dodge people just to get access to big ticket deals for this huge shopping event.

Let this cheapnik guide lead you right to awesome Black Friday hacks – these are the 21 tips and hacks I seriously swear by each November so I am sharing them to you to help you make it out alive with a huge $$$ smile on your face.

Black Friday Shopping Rush Queue

Ready for the Black Friday rush? Here are our top tips. | Photo by Powhusku used under CC

Ultimate Cheapnik Guide to Black Friday 2018 (Hacks + Tips)

Before the BIG day…

1. Decide on what you want to buy

Check the websites of your favorite retailers and look at all the Black Friday ads that get leaked as the day nears. Create a list ahead of time in order of importance. Prioritize which you need to get first before everything else, and work your way from there. Ask yourself which item is definitely worth lining up for.

2. Do your research

Once you reach a decision on what you’re buying, know when and where to buy it. What time will the store be open? Is it going to be available online, or will it be sold exclusively in-store? Are there limited quantities? Is it only on sale at a particular time? Which items are eligible for returns? The more you know, the better (and earlier) you can formulate a rock solid shopping strategy.

3. Read the fine print

Store will advertise a price, but on some deals there will be exceptions, validities, and conditions. Read the fine print to help you consider which deals are worth your time. Bring those ads with you as proof and also just in case you need to ask for price matching with a competitor ad at the register.

4. Exercise caution

Just because it’s heavily discounted doesn’t mean it’s worth the buy. It also pays to research the product you want to buy. Why is it sold at such a huge discount? Is it refurbished, or is there a newer model that’s just about to be released?

5. Shop for items that rarely go on sale

That usually refers to high-end accessories and gadgets, as well as single-product brands that exclusively sell online.

6. If there’s an item you like at a particular store but decided it’s not worth the queue…

…see if it’s included in pre and post-Black Friday deals, that way you can focus on the more important stuff.

7. Sign up for memberships and email lists ahead of time

Identify the retailers you’re gonna be shopping with and sign up for their memberships, or if they don’t have one, join their newsletter. This way you not only receive Black Friday updates, you also get rewards points for your purchases and early exclusive access to deals. You might also get extra savings and discount codes sent straight to your email, just for signing up.

8. Monitor prices

Although savings are huge, just because it’s Black Friday doesn’t mean you’re getting the best price. If you’re shopping on Amazon, enter the product link on CamelCamelCamel to see the price history to find out if you’re getting the best price.

9. Look for additional promos and coupon codes to get extra discounts on top of the already discounted prices

Look for those special, always updated promo codes here on our homepage.

10. Get familiar with the store’s layout

Where are the HOT ITEMS items at? Again the more you know, the better.

11.Check online the night before Thanksgiving and stay late.

Now that you know which item is on sale and for how much thanks to those Black Friday Ads you researched (you did, right), check online the midnight turn to Thanksgiving and see if you can get any of those online for the same price (or maybe less). Those you get online will be another item crossed of your list, and less headache when you go to the store.

12. Follow your favorite brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram…

…and check their pages while you wait in line for last minute coupons and offers.

13. Consider shopping online

While others are dodging each other at the stores, wouldn’t it be nice to just sit snugly in your home while you order your goods? Double check at the last minute if you can get the items you want online or not. Then decide.

I think I might just shop online.via GIPHY

During Black Friday…

14. Pack snacks and entertainment

If you decide to queue up, make sure you pack some snacks and refreshments to keep you energized, ready for the mad Black Friday dash ahead.

15. Get. In. Line. Early!

This goes without saying, and it’s also more than just getting in the store first and getting the first dibs. Early birds also tend to get first access to extra gift cards, extra freebies, extra discounts, and free food (and hot cocoa, just like what Walmart is doing this year).

16. Do you really need that shopping cart?

Shopping cart will only slow you down during the rush if you’re only planning to get one those latest gaming consoles.

17. Shop smart and be efficient

If the items you want comes from different store, have members of the family or your best friends to the queueing and buying on your behalf. Try to make sure to have at least two team members in each store to do tag teams to help reach your shopping goal.

18. Use a credit card for major (if not all) purchases to take advantage of all those extra benefits

That’s what those annual fees are for, amirite? Using your credit card for all those purchases will definitely help you rake in those rewards points and cash back points, plus those big ticket electronics you just bought might also qualify for an extended warranty. On top of that, some credit cards (like Citi with their Citi Price Rewind service) offer price protection programs allowing you to file for a refund on the difference in case the price drops at a later time.

Even if you have cash, use a credit card (just use the cash to pay off your credit card right away).

19. Stick to the list (and your budget)

Do your research and planning early, and make sure you stick to that list. Tag a friend along to help you rethink those extra cart items, or if you want, just bring the exact amount or lock in your card’s max limit. Stay focused, stay on budget.

After Black Friday…

20. If you don’t get what u want…

Don’t fret. There’s still Cyber Monday, 12 Days of Christmas, and the Christmas holidays, so expect more deals coming your way.

21. Return the unnecessary

You know you can still return those unnecessary impulse buys, right? But be careful in your planning (back to item 2 above) and make sure you are aware which items are eligible for returns.

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