Your Must-Read Black Friday Shopping Guide

Dear Rich Lifer,

With the first few days of fall past us, chances are good you’re thinking ahead to the holiday season. Whether you love the joy the season brings, or mostly just dread the looming credit card bills that come after the fact, it’s coming up fast.

Fortunately, if you like to save big when you’re shopping for thoughtful presents for everyone on your list, Black Friday is coming up, too.

I know, I know – Black Friday used to be too crazy to bear. In the past, news stories about fistfights breaking out over the last doll at Toys R Us or people getting trampled on their way to grab discounted TVs is enough to make all but the most deal-conscious shopper decide to stay home.

The good news, though, is that Black Friday doesn’t have to be a horrible, stressful experience anymore. With a few tips and tricks, you can even have a fun time shopping – and saving – this Black Friday.

Black Friday by the Numbers.

Black Friday is by far the most popular, highest-grossing retail sales day of the year. It falls on the day after Thanksgiving every year, and it’s become universally accepted as the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Since it falls on a Friday, many employers even give their staff the day off. The concept of Black Friday has even extended beyond the shores of the US. As many as 20 countries had big Black Friday sales last year.

Last year, over 174 million shoppers visited retail stores on Black Friday, and the average consumer spent $1,007. Collectively, Black Friday sales totals added up to $717.5 billion.

These numbers are only expected to increase in 2019, so it’s more important than ever to plan ahead if you want to get the best deals offered on Black Friday.

Of course there will be lots of deep discounts offered online, (don’t worry I’ll cover that tomorrow) but part of the Black Friday experience is shopping in-store. So, if you are the type that likes to get down in the trenches, I’ve compiled a list of tips for you so you can make the most of your hands on shopping experience.

Set A Budget & Make A List

This is an important tip no matter how you decide to shop this holiday season. After all, 57% of shoppers overspend when they don’t have a budget in place. Also, make a list of who you intend to give gifts to so you’ll be able to plan properly.

Look At Historical Trends

Trends on Black Fridays past are a pretty good indicator of how this year’s sales will go. In the past few years, the deepest discounts have been on televisions, laptops, PCs, gaming platforms, and Apple devices. Big box retailers know these items will be some of the most desireable, so they mark these down to attract shoppers in-store. In addition to electronics, you can also find good deals on soft goods like clothing, makeup, and housewares at department stores, like Macy’s.

Research Prices Beforehand

Some retailers get a little sneaky this time of year and slowly raise pricing so they can slash it back down to normal again on Black Friday. This gives the appearance of a deep discount, but it’s really not. Use price tracker tools (such as for Amazon pricing) to research the price history of an item before you commit.

Search For Doorbuster Deals

The best part about shopping in-store for Black Friday is doorbuster deals! Again, retailers want you to come in and fill your carts, so they offer big sales on specific items for a limited time. Sometimes, they’ll also offer pop-up sales through the day, too. These deals are usually the best price you can possibly get for an item, so if you want something specific, make sure you’re at the right place at the right time!

On Time Is Too Late, So Be Early

If you decide to shop in-store, set your alarm and prep the coffee maker – the early bird really does get the worm on Black Friday. Stores are opening even earlier than in years past – some are even opening on Thanksgiving night to catch the most shoppers. Look for the time your favorite store will open and then make a plan to show up as early as possible.

Go Shopping Earlier In The Week

In the recent past, some retailers have expanded their Black Friday sales even earlier than Thanksgiving Day. This year, you can expect to find good deals all throughout Thanksgiving week. Do your research and prepare to get started as early as Monday.

Use Discounted Gift Cards To Shop

When it comes to savings, some is good, but more is better, right? To make your purchasing dollar stretch even further, buy discounted gift cards ahead of time at sites like or at stores like Costco, and shop with those instead of your debit card.

Look For Bundles & Gifts With Purchase

When shopping, keep an eye out for bundles and gifts with purchase. Many retailers will give away full sized products like perfume, housewares, clothing, and more to sweeten an already good detail. Those freebies make great gifts, too, so you can essentially knock out two birds with one stone!

Download The Best Apps

Even when shopping in-store, you can get the digital edge with the latest shopping apps. For example, Shopular is a location-sensitive app that will tell you all the current deals when you walk into your favorite stores. It also comes with a built in rebate feature that helps you save even more. The Coupons App is a coupon aggregator – it has customizable alerts that let you know when a new coupon pops up or when a new Black Friday flyer is released. And finally, The Black Friday App gives you all the information you could possibly want – from flyers to shoppable deals right inside the app, this one can help you save big with just a few keystrokes on your phone.

Use these tips to plan your purchases, research the best deals ahead of time, and get big discounts on the gifts your family members want the most. With this list, you can have a stress free Black Friday shopping experience and lighter credit card bills come January.

Remember – it’s never too early to start planning when it comes to savings!

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

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Nilus Mattive

Nilus is the editor for the daily e-letter The Rich Life Roadmap and a Paradigm Press analyst.

Nilus began his professional career at Jono Steinberg’s Individual Investor Group, where he published his original research through a regular investment column. Later, he worked for a private equity business and spent five years editing Standard and Poor’s...

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