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Making the Most of Your Black Friday Shopping


With prices, interest, and inflation still riding high this year, it’s more important than ever to shop smart for the holidays. Black Friday is no time for window shopping and impulse buys. Instead, you need to prepare for where, when, and how to shop on Black Friday to stay on budget while filling up your gift sack. 

Although experts aren’t sure whether Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) spending will rise or fall this year compared to the previous years, one thing is certain—American consumers will nevertheless spend billions of dollars over the biggest holiday sale week of the year. 

So, how can you make the most of these sales? Take a look below at tips for creating your very own “Black Friday: What To Do” plan.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Whether you plan to brave the crowds or shop from home in your favorite slippers, knowing how to shop during Black Friday and Cyber Monday can save you time, stress, and money!

Tip #1: Set a Budget

Before you start your holiday shopping, sit down and decide on a total budget for gifts, as well as costs for entertaining, travel, and decorations. Ultimately, you want to account for the whole shebang so that you aren’t shocked by your bank statements come January.

You can also keep your spending in check during the holiday season by: 

  • Shopping during BFCM and the week or two after, and avoiding last-minute rush gifts
  • Using RaiseRight gift cards to allocate and budget your per-store spending on gifts 
  • Including homemade, regifted, and thrifted ideas on your gift list
  • Focusing on time spent together in addition to gift-giving
Tip #2: Create a Gift List

Just as a grocery list keeps you on track when perusing the aisles of your local supermarket, a gift list can make sure you don’t get distracted or overwhelmed when holiday shopping for friends and family. 

To create an optimal gift list that helps you stay on task (and on budget), consider:

  • Reminding yourself of previous gifts – Before you think of this year’s gift ideas, take time to write down the gifts you gave on previous years. This can help ensure you don’t give someone the same gift two years in a row, and it may help spark new ideas for this year. You might also consider noting what each person on your list likes (for instance, their favorite colors or flavor preferences), as well as their various clothing sizes.

  • Cost tracking – Set a spending limit per person or event and stick to it. You can even keep a tally so that you know where you are with total spending and whether you need to edit your gift ideas to fit the actual costs you see in stores.

  • Taking note of various deals – As you look through BFCM ads and offers, write down each deal so that you can ensure you’re getting the best price possible.
RaiseRight pro-tip: To guarantee that you continue raising funds for your organization while indulging in the shopping frenzy, browse some of our holiday resources:
Tip #3: Plan Ahead and Start Early

These days, many Black Friday sales begin right as you’re plating turkey and cranberries. In other words, some retailers offer savings starting on Thanksgiving Thursday (or even earlier) rather than Black Friday. 

While this means you can get ahead on your shopping, are the early offers worth cutting into family (or nap) time? Do you have to choose between one or the other? 

If you’re a diehard Black Friday shopper ready to camp out in front of locked doors all night, consider making it a family event! Or, see if your favorite retailer is offering BFCM deals online on Thanksgiving day, and host a post-dinner “shop sesh” with the fam. 

By planning your strategy ahead of time, you can start your shopping early and make the most of Black Friday deals while still getting in time with your loved ones.

Tip #4: Arm Yourself Against Marketing

Let’s face it—none of us escape smart marketing ploys. The best you can do is to prepare yourself with some knowledge and tips to make sure you see through the sales pitch to judge a purchase objectively. 

Start with these facts:

  • 49% of Black Friday buying decisions are influenced by free shipping offers
  • Buyers respond to online ads more than twice as often on laptops vs. smartphones
  • 62% think Black Friday is a scam, but 82% plan to shop this Cyber Week anyway

So, the next time you see that free shipping offer, feel pressured to get all your shopping done during BFCM, or go down an online rabbit hole, come back to your shopping plan and budget, and think objectively about whether it’s worth the cost, stress, or time.

Tip #5: Know When to Wait on Deals

In 2022, the average BFCM discount level peaked at 25% off the listed price on Cyber Monday. In fact, average overall BFCM discounts by category were: 

  • 34% off toys
  • 20% off computers
  • 18% off apparel

In spite of toys hitting the top of the list, they’re actually a category that tends to be discounted even further come mid-December. So, when should you shop to get the best deals? Is BFCM worth it, or should you wait to check off your gift list?

For 2023, NerdWallet recommends buying: 

  • Big-ticket electronics and small kitchen appliances during BFCM
  • TVs during BFCM unless you can wait for the only better time: right after the Superbowl
  • Winter clothing during BFCM in 2023
  • Sporting goods during the first week of December
  • Toys and holiday decor in mid-December

For tools and home improvement items, it’s best to check price histories, or buy or give a RaiseRight gift card and recommend they wait for June sales!

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