6 Steps to Score Online Savings on Black Friday

Three key ingredients can make or break your Black Friday–computer, credit card and coffee. And you don’t even need to leave home! Here are 6 ways to score online savings on Black Friday 2018.

Black Friday Online Savings 2018

Black Friday gets a lot of hype: getting up in the wee hours to wait in line for the best deals.

But what if, instead of spending the day after Thanksgiving in a mad rush from store to store, you got to stay warm in your home, enjoying homemade turkey sandwiches and catching a game on TV?

No need to look for parking, spend time away from family, or risk injury fighting over a scarce must-have item. Black Friday online savings can keep more than your budget happy–your sanity can be saved as well. Here’s how to make the most of your online shopping during Black Friday.

1. Know Your Budget

First of all, know your budget. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on Black Friday. If you’ve planned far enough in advance, you might have already saved up money for holiday shopping on Black Friday. One of the best things to do is set aside money throughout the year for your shopping so that you have a tidy sum available for holiday spending.

Be realistic about your budget, no matter the situation, though. Sit down and decide what you can spend, and then stick to it.

2. Create a List Ahead of Time

If you want to increase the chance that you’ll avoid going over budget, make a list. Who’s on your list for holiday shopping? What do you think you’ll buy them? Don’t forget to consider what else you’ll need for the holiday season, or even think about items you’ve wanted to buy that might be on sale.

Your list is a way to guide you away from impulse shopping. It’s tempting to buy a little something extra when it gets your attention, and this is especially likely if you’re not sure what you want and are just shopping to see what’s out there. A list keeps you focused.

3. Scour the Internet for Black Friday Deals

Check the Black Friday deals ahead of time. Many stores let you know what’s coming on sale, including their online specials. Amazon is especially known for having limited-time deals in the days leading up to Black Friday as well as their sales on the “big day.” Match up the gift ideas on your list or the people on your list with what’s going to be on sale for Black Friday.

Google “best Black Friday deals” or something similar, and you’ll find no shortage of articles comparing various ads and deals from different stores, as well as previews from consumer websites helping you narrow the options. These lists can help you identify what’s out there quickly so you can make your list more effectively.

Do a little recon and you can match what’s on sale with your list so you can shop with purpose and avoid impulse spending that might break your budget.

4. Use Online Coupons and Rebate Websites

Before Black Friday, sign up for rebate websites. Ebates, Swagbucks, and RetailMeNot are all examples of websites that can help you get discounts and money back on your purchases. Don’t forget to use websites like Slick Deals and Coupons.com to find promo codes and online coupons designed to help you save money.

By laying the groundwork, you can prepare to stack your savings. For example, I regularly use Swagbucks online shopping to get money back. If I shop through that portal and use a coupon, I boost my savings. I can turn my earned Swagbucks into Amazon gift cards for later use. If you have Acorns and use their “Found Money” feature, you can get extra cash in your investment account, allowing you to potentially see even greater returns.

Don’t assume that what you spend is the end. There are a number of ways to get automatic savings, cash back, and various discounts and stack them, effectively reducing your overall cost for Black Friday shopping.

5. Buy with Your Rewards Credit Card

When used as part of your regular Black Friday online shopping strategy, a rewards credit card can be a great way to make the most of your purchases.

Decide which rewards program will give you the best results right now. Whether you want cash back or hope to pad your airline miles, choose the rewards credit card most likely to help you reach your goals.

Learn More

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is not typically a card geared toward retail shopping.  However for a limited time, the card is offering a $300 cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months.  That means through the holiday season, you could be on your way to making a cool $300 simply for buying the things you already planned to.  Add a couple of household bills (utilities and groceries) and you’ll sadly find that spending $3,000 is easy!

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit card offers 4% cash back at restaurants, 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.  There is a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year.

Learn More

The Chase Freedom is a popular holiday shopping card because of one very important detail.  In the 4th quarter of 2019 (October – December), cardholders will earn 5% cash back at department stores.  This benefit is good for the first $1,500 spent in the quarter so if you spend more, the cash back rate moves to 1%.  In addition to the cash back program, the Chase Freedom is also offering a $150 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.

The 5% cash back you’ll receive at department stores this quarter is part of the rotating category program Chase employs.  Each quarter, a new category earns 5% cash back and each quarter, enrollment is required.  There is no annual fee to own the Chase Freedom and the card includes a might generous 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. (Standard APR is 16.74% – 25.49% variable).

Only buy what’s on your list, and limit your purchases to your budget. That way, you can pay off your credit card after reaping the rewards. Paying off your card immediately helps you avoid interest on your purchases. When you pay interest, the value of your discounts and rewards is essentially negated, so be sure to integrate your rewards card use with your already-made holiday shopping budget.

The best part about using your rewards card for Black Friday online shopping is that you can continue to stack your savings. Shop through your separate online rebate portal using your credit card. You’ll get the rebate/cash back, plus your credit card rewards. That’s like multiplying your money-saving benefit.

6. Don’t Assume Black Friday is the Best Deal

Finally, don’t assume that Black Friday online savings are going to be the absolute best option. In fact, you might be able to score better deals on Cyber Monday, or by checking smaller retailers on Small Business Saturday.

In some cases, you could even see better deals if you do your online shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Sneak away from the after-dinner conversation to check online for some early bargains.

It’s also worth noting that sometimes you can find deals that are just as good throughout the year, or for decor, waiting until after Christmas to make your purchases. If you’re looking for items that have a more permanent nature in your home, waiting for steep post-holiday discounts might be worth it.

Planning ahead can help you keep an eye out for the best deals year-round, allowing you to save money, even if you don’t do your shopping on Black Friday.

Topics: Smart Spending

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