Whether you’re planning to hit the streets at midnight or shop at home in your pajamas, the Black Friday & Cyber Monday weekend offers some of the sweetest deals of the year. 

As surges in online shopping increasingly combine the two into one glorious shopping event,  you’ll want to be ready ahead of time, scoping out the deals you want to grab—and saving up enough to do it all. 

Why the Black Friday weekend is still one of the best times to save

As you get started on your Black Friday shopping list, remember to include things you might need for your own home. Maybe the speakers on your TV have been acting up. Or maybe you’ve had your eye on a new blender. 

Black Friday is the perfect time to save money on those upgrades as well as knocking out your holiday gift list, which is all the more reason to start planning and saving today.

Don’t miss these deals

Most companies offer some kind of special incentive during this shopping-palooza weekend, and it isn’t always limited to money. Yes, deep discounts are the rule, but you can also find extended warranties, higher levels of customer support, better financing terms (like 0% interest), rewards points bonuses, pricing bundles, and more.

As you’re making your list, make a note of any items for which those kinds of things might matter, so you remember to compare apples to apples when it comes time to shop.

Consider all your options

This seasonal shopping event is a fantastic time to save money, especially if you don’t care about specific models or brands—or if you don’t care where you buy.

Is there a certain gaming console on your list? Sign up for Black Friday deal notifications across several different stores. Or, if you need a new HDTV and you don’t care what brand it is, compare your options across different brands and different stores.

The more open you can afford to be, the more you can take advantage of everything this shopping weekend has to offer.

Grab the best of the best

When you’re doing your Black Friday research, remember to check whether the deals you want will be available online—on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or both. In 2020, major retailers moved their deals almost universally online, and they’re likely to be online again in 2021.

In other words, no more literal door-busters. Now, you can get the same deals online, and often only online. Instead of spending money on gas and standing around in long lines, your ideal shopping list might be as easy as a few midnight clicks.

If you do head out to those brick-and-mortar shops, be ready to hit “Buy” on your phone for anything you can buy online that might sell out early, or for any deals that are only available in the online space.

How to stretch your Black Friday savings to the max

Whether you’re planning for one major purchase or your entire holiday shopping list, these simple tips will help you get the most out of the weekend for maximum savings!

Create your ideal list

When you’re creating your list, start by brainstorming everything you can think of that you’d like to explore. Then, separate those items into two categories:

  1. Things you really need to buy
  2. Things you might want to buy, depending on the deal

That will help you later when it’s time to create your budget. You’ll be able to start with the items you really need, then add in items from your “want” list until you hit the maximum you’re willing to spend.

Do some deep-dive research

The more time you’re willing to spend up front, the more time and money you’ll save over that crucial shopping weekend. 

What kind of research? Start here:

  1. Research current prices on the things you want. Don’t let retailers fool you by hiking their prices and then offering “big” discounts for Black Friday.
  2. Search for pages where your favorite retailers will be posting Black Friday deals.
  3. Sign up for Black Friday sales notifications.
  4. Search for last year’s sales to get a feel for which categories will (or likely won’t) get discounted.

Decide on your budget

As wonderful as Black Friday sales are, they’re designed to make you want to buy … and buy .. and buy. Don’t fall into that trap. Instead, decide ahead of time how much you’d like to spend overall.

One of the best things about making your list first is that you can see everything together, helping you balance what you need to do against what you want to do. When you add a budget to that list, you’ll be far less likely to get caught up in the excitement and take it too far.

Holiday shopping is a fun, exciting time. Instead of spending too much in the moment and regretting it later, a list combined with a budget will make sure you enjoy the fun of that holiday shopping spree from Black Friday through the entire holiday season.

Save money the easy way with a savings goal

Creating a holiday shopping budget doesn’t mean you have to save up every dime before Black Friday, but the less holiday shopping you have to put on credit cards, the more money you’ll save on interest.

Credit cards are so easy to use that we often don’t think about how they work—or how much more we end up paying for things when we’re hit with high interest rates over a long period of time. By saving up ahead of time, even for part of that spending, our hard-earned money can go a lot farther.

When you put together your Black Friday budget, think about how much you can save up between now and then and how much you’re willing to put on credit cards. The right balance is different for everyone. The important thing is to make those choices intentionally.

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