Dear Rich Lifer,
Some people love the hustle and bustle of the first big day of the holiday shopping season. They love to wake up early, pour a stiff cup of joe, grab their warmest jacket and head out before the crack of dawn to line up, camp out, and get the best deals and doorbusters on Black Friday.
Some people, though, are more inclined to sleep in, stay cozy, watch the big football game and enjoy the holiday weekend with their family. If that sounds like you, you might be worried that you’ll miss out on all the biggest sales, and that’s disappointing. After all, everyone wants to save money, right?
Not to worry, in the last few years, online shopping has skyrocketed… and retailers have noticed.
In fact, in 2018, online shopping alone brought in $6.8 Billion on Black Friday. Cyber Monday was no slouch either, bringing in a cool $7.8 Billion. These two days of online shopping showed an increase of 23% and 18% respectively over the prior year – and that’s not even counting any sales captured on the Saturday and Sunday in between!
With stats like these, it’s no wonder that retailers are paying attention. In an attempt to drive their Black Friday sales even higher, they’re following suit with fantastic deals online. After studying the trends of the past, I’ve compiled a list of the best ways for you to capitalize on those deals.
With these tips, you can save big from the comfort of your own home, read on!
Plan Ahead, Make A Budget, And Stick To It
Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, you need a plan if you want to stay in the black this holiday season. Write down who you’re shopping for, what they might like, how much you want to spend per person, and how much you intend to spend overall so you can stick close to your numbers. Believe or not, adhering to an Excel spreadsheet, or even a good old fashioned handwritten list can keep your expenditures in check. So figure out your numbers ahead of time, and the temptation to splurge will be much easier to avoid.
Know What You’re Looking For
If you’re still in the browsing and information gathering phase, start with the ads to see what items you can expect to see sale pricing on.
Check out sites like BFads.net or blackfriday.gottadeal.com to look at all the flyers in one place, and get on your favorite retailers’ email lists so you can get a general overview of what deals will be available come in the next few days.
Not all websites are created equal, so listen to your intuition. If you’ve never heard of a site before, but they’re advertising an insanely good deal, make sure they’re legitimate with ResellerRatings.com before you hit the “Buy Now” button.
Another thing you can look for is “https” in the web address. This means the site has SSL encryption – sites with an SSL certificate are much more secure than those without one.
Consider The Unlisted Benefits
While some sites will show a low price, they’ll make up for it with hefty shipping and handling charges. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by adding the item to cart and calculating all the costs before you commit.
Brush Up On Return Policies
Unfortunately, gifts don’t always go over the way you hope they will. Make sure you can get your money back for them after the fact if need be by researching the return policy ahead of time.
Luckily, many retailers now allow in-store returns for online purchases, so this part of the process is easier than ever before.
Use Credit Cards The Smart Way
If you’re using credit cards instead of your debit card this shopping season, why not double down on savings and use the cards with cash back? Just make sure you pay it off before interest charges hit to really take advantage of this benefit.
Want one more feature of shopping with credit cards? You can get points back, and if you shop through your card’s shopping portal (such as American Express’s Membership Rewards program), you can rake in even more bonuses. See what programs your credit card offers and map out how you can use them best.
Research With Online Tools
You don’t need to hit up site after site to find the best online deals. Instead, try the Google Shopping feature or services like Shopzilla, NexTag, and PriceGrabber to compare pricing quickly. This way, you’ll save time and money.
Collect Cash Back
When you’re shopping online, you can also get instant rebates with sites like Rakuten. During the majority of the year, Rakuten will give you rebates up to 10% at many retailers, but during special shopping periods, they give back even more. Best of all, there’s a Google Chrome browser extension for Rakuten that allows you to collect this cash back automatically every time you shop at one of the retailers in their program – no long process required!
Shop In Private Browser Windows
This is a next-level savings trick. When you’ve visited a site before, they know you’re already a fan. When you view the site in a private or incognito window, however, you’re more likely to get better coupons and first-time buyer specials.
Disabling your cookies has a similar effect, but that approach can cause inconveniences down the line, so pick the option that works better for you.
Sign Up On Social
Following your favorite retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram is a good way to get special access coupon codes and limited time only offers. If you’re not into social media, you can always join their individual email lists instead – this is a great way to get coupons and special sales, too.
Give In To Instant Gratification
If you want to avoid the stress of shopping in-store, but you love the feeling of having your items right away, you’re in luck. Many retailers offer in-store pick up, so you can order online and then pick your items up same day – often with the same amazing deals you’d normally only get by waiting days to receive your purchases. Talk about win / win!
There you have it – 10+ ways you can stay home on Black Friday and still save big. With tips like these, you can have a happier, easier holiday season, so pick your favorites and have a good time shopping!
To a richer life,