Even Black Friday deals can be better with some clever deal-stacking! We’d be remiss to let you go shopping without a few extra tips for saving the most money.
On top of already-enticing store discounts, save more money with gift cards, coupons and rebates on your holiday shopping.
Follow these steps to turn your Black Friday deals into savings only a true Penny Hoarder could achieve.
1. Decide What You Want to Buy
Start with knowing what’s worth buying on Black Friday. Some items are more likely to be discounted well on Black Friday, while others are just impulse-buy bait.
Save purchases of toys, clothing and travel for Cyber Monday. These tend to have insignificant Black Friday discounts, but see deeper discounts online.
Also beware of some electronics. Many “discounted” electronics are actually inferior models manufactured just for Black Friday shopping.
2. Make a List — and Stick to It
Make a list before you start shopping.
Department stores can be especially overwhelming, with massive layouts and frenzied shoppers all around you. It’s easy to forget everything you came for in the confusion — and still somehow wind up at home with piles of stuff you didn’t expect to buy!
Creating a shopping list gives you a game plan to follow so you can ignore distractions, stay on track and control your spending. Download a store map and plan your route before ever stepping foot in a store!
3. Find Deals and Compare Prices
Once you have your list, make sure you know the best place to buy everything on it. Planning ahead is key to getting the best deal.
Before choosing a store, use PriceGrabber to compare prices for the items on your list.
The site allows you to see a list of retailers that carry an item online or in-store. Prices are side-by-side, so you can quickly pick out which has the best offer.
Deals are tough to follow any time of the year — that’s why we love deal aggregators.
4. Choose the Best Way to Pay
When you’re ready to check out, choose your method of payment carefully. It could be a valuable decision.
Store Credit Cards
This can factor into which store is the best deal for the items on your list. What kind of bonuses or rewards will you get if you pay with a store’s branded credit card?
Store credit cards can come with drawbacks — high interest rates, limited use — but here are three cards Credit.com says are worth picking up before you begin holiday shopping:
You won’t collect points per purchase with this card, but you’ll get at least 12 coupons for discounts of 15-30% every year.
Choose between 5% cash back or promotional financing. Also get free shipping on online orders of $35 or more, plus exclusive discounts, special sales and members-only events.
While you’ll get no rewards and unremarkable discounts, this card can be useful if you’re working to build or fix your credit.
It’s one of the easiest store credit cards to be approved for, and comes with perks like receiving a free monthly FICO score and cash withdrawals in store with no fees or interest.
Discounted Gift Cards
Planning ahead can help you save tons of money shopping on Black Friday — get your hands on discounted gift cards.
Once you know what you want to buy and where you’ll buy it, visit Raise to purchase a gift card for that store. Sellers typically unload cards they got as gifts or ones they’re not interested in anymore.
You’ll pay less than the value of the card — an automatic discount on anything you buy with it!
Use CostShredder to find which sites offer the best deal on gift cards for the store you want to shop.
Rewards Credit Card
Do you have a cash-back credit card? If you budget well and pay off your balance each month, these can be a smart way to earn rewards for things you’re already going to buy.
Compare the rewards you’d earn by shopping with your cash-back credit card on Black Friday to savings from other payment methods. The credit card could be the better deal.
Or, maybe you’ve been trying to save points for a trip or other bonuses. Black Friday shopping could be the push you need!
If you don’t already have a card, we recommend the Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard, because it offers 2% cash rewards on all purchases. But some credit cards can be more attractive at different times of the year because of rotating bonuses.
For example, with the Chase Freedom card, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent between October 1 and December 31 in-stores or online in these categories:
Stretch Your Money Further
If you pay with a credit or debit card, do double duty with your purchase by connecting the card to an auto-savings app — our favorite is Acorns.
When you make a purchase with a card connected to the app, Acorns automatically rounds up to the next dollar and deposits the “digital change” into your Acorns account.
The app invests the money into super-simple portfolios to help your money grow. It’s a cool way to save and earn a little extra money while you shop.
You probably won’t miss that loose change anyway — why not put it to work?
5. Shop Through a Cash-Back Website
If you’re doing your Black Friday shopping online this year, take advantage of cash-back sites!
Earn back some of the money you spend at every site — you’ll either earn direct cash or points to redeem for gift cards to top retailers.
Here are our favorite cash-back sites:
As a bonus, after the shopping frenzy dies down, you can “recycle” your savings by using the gift cards you earn through these sites to purchase more items on your holiday gift list.
6. Look for Coupons
In addition to Black Friday discounts and killer rebates, you might be able to save even more by stacking coupons on top of deals.
Many coupons exclude items that are already discounted, or can’t be used with any other deals or specials. Make sure you read the fine print before shopping.
When you find a coupon that can be used regardless of other discounts, apply it at checkout to make Black Friday deals even better.
Deal aggregators often list coupons and rebates that can be stacked on top of deals. And you can find your own coupons through these sites:
7. Don’t Pay for Shipping Shopping Online
You can find killer deals online shopping on Black Friday — until you get hit with shipping costs.
Paying $5 or $10 to get an item to your door can negate everything you’ve just saved!
To avoid the extra expense, check out these 17 stores that offer free shipping — including retail giants like Target, Dell and Nordstrom.
8. Use a Rebate App
One last step!
These apps are popular for the incredible savings they offer on groceries, but you can find deals on other retail items, too. Check for cash back on your Black Friday purchases, and remember to enter the items when they arrive.
Create Your Holiday Shopping Plan
You’re all set! Now that you know the steps to take for the best Black Friday deals, get organized and get shopping!
Your Turn: Do you know of an awesome Black Friday deal? Share it in the comments!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We would have shared them with you anyway, but a true Penny Hoarder would be a fool not to take the company’s money.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Writer’s Digest and more. She’ll probably spend Cyber Monday week working on elusive essays and eating ALL the leftover green bean casserole.