And nothing thrills bargain hunters quite like the words Black Friday. It’s awash in the promise of incredible deals for those willing to wait in line (and only occasionally willing to shove other shoppers).
But over the years, it’s become more and more difficult for ordinary individuals like my husband to find the promised deals without a major sacrifice of time. Many Black Friday bargain hunters have to give up some of their Thanksgiving time with their family (not to mention their beauty sleep) in order to get in line early enough. Add to that the bad behavior we see every year on Black Friday, and it can be enough to send ordinary bargain hunters back to bed.
Want to know the reason behind the shopping season? Read why it’s called Black Friday.
However, with new technology, it is possible to take advantage of the great deals on Black Friday without feeling like you’ve sold your soul. Here are some of the ways you can make the most of this non-holiday without having to go to crazy extremes:
Black Friday Websites
No longer do we have scan the circulars in the newspaper to find the best deals. Websites like BlackFriday.com (formerly .info) and Black Friday Ads (BFads) offer an aggregate of all the “leaked” advertisements available. Use these sites to decide how much you are willing to spend and where to find your chosen items. BFads also offers a great list of special store hours, making it easier to plan your specific shopping expeditions.
But don’t close the web browser yet. Printable coupon sites like RetailMeNot and Mommy Saves Big offer more opportunities for savings. For both in-store and online shopping, printable coupons and coupon codes from these sites can help lower already tempting Black Friday prices.
Black Friday Apps
If you have a smart phone or a tablet, you can use various (free!) apps to help you plan out your shopping plan of attack. TGI Black Friday is pretty universally lauded as the best Black Friday app available, as it can sort deals by both product and store, and it allows you to create a personalized shopping list. This is pretty essential as one of the best ways to keep Black Friday getting the best of you (and your budget) is by making and sticking to a concise list of shopping items.
Another well-reviewed app is Black Friday by FatWallet. This app not only offers you the advertised deals as soon as they are leaked, but it also lets you in on additional rewards like cash back and rebates.
RedLaser is a great app for Black Friday and year round. Use your phone to scan the barcode of your supposed deal, and RedLaser will search both online and local retailers to tell you just how much the item is worth. In addition, the app indexes store coupons, holds your loyalty card information, and suggests related products at better prices. This is particularly helpful for Black Friday, as it’s likely many of the best deals are door busters that sell out quickly. Knowing what related products are available gives you ideas for what to do if your preferred deal is sold out.
Before you hit the stores be sure to review these 5 Black Friday shopping tips.
If you are not already following your favorite stores’ Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, then sign up! Stores are using social media this year to keep their fans updated on deals and store hours, and in many cases, are offering special deal information on their social networks before advertising elsewhere. Target in particular is using Facebook to its best advantage: fans of their Facebook page have been able to play games to unlock special Black Friday deals since November 11.
The Bottom Line on Black Friday Tech
Part of the reason why Black Friday becomes crazy is because people are glassy-eyed with fatigue and determined to find a deal at all costs. A more civilized way to bargain hunt is to use all of the technology available and make all of your decisions ahead of time. That means you won’t be tempted by low prices on items not on your list—and that you’ll have an idea of what your alternatives are if you miss out on any one particular deal.
With the judicious use of Black Friday tech tools, my husband might even be able to coax out of the house this year. I promise I won’t shove anyone.
Image by JD Hancock