Black Friday and Cyber Monday Tips: How to Save Big

man on the couch shopping online for Black Friday deals

Smart shoppers know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can mean big savings on your holiday gift list. But the huge selection of offers and the deluge of circulars, emails and online ads can be overwhelming. This year, plan ahead and follow a few of these helpful Black Friday and Cyber Monday tips for scoring the best deals both online and in-store.

Compare Prices with Handy Shopping Apps

One of the most useful Black Friday and Cyber Monday tips is to arm yourself with free apps offering price checkers and deal alerts:

  • The Flipp app provides circulars from more than 1,000 retailers, including big names like Macy's, Walmart, Best Buy and Staples. Search by store, item or brand, check product reviews and create shopping lists and deal alerts.
  • Compare prices with the ShopSavvy app. Using the included barcode scanner and price checker, you can find stores near you with the product in stock and at the best price. The ShopSavvy database includes favorite retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Costco. You can also access their "Best Time to Buy Guides" for cameras, computers and televisions.
  • Download the Shopular app to get online coupons, promo codes, cashback offers, savings and deals from hundreds of popular stores. Never miss a deal with instant notifications of nearby sales at retailers including Walmart, Kohl's, Starbucks and H&M.

Be an Informed Shopper with Useful Black Friday and Cyber Monday Websites

There is a wealth of information available to you as close as your laptop:

  • Scope out Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at blackfriday.com. The site also links to holiday catalogs from many retailers, including Hallmark and Home Depot. Toy shopping for the kids? Before you shop, check out the links to toy books like the Lego Holiday Toy Catalog and scan the year's Top Toy Lists from Walmart and Target.
  • Don't miss out on those early pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. TheBlackFriday.com provides updated news on all the latest sales as soon as they are posted.

Keep Your Eyes Open For Early And Extended Sale Days

Despite their names, these sale "days" are rarely limited to just one day. Many retailers start their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or even earlier. So too, the sales may continue throughout the long weekend.

Beware of Added Costs

If you're shopping online, don't let steep shipping costs ruin your big bargain. Look for sites that offer free shipping or make use of free ship-to-store offers.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Impulse Buys

Those great deals are no bargain if you're indulging in unnecessary purchases.

  • Don't even think of shopping without a list. Whether in-store or online, it's way too easy to get distracted by flashy advertising. Make a vow to stick to your list.
  • Use cash whenever possible—overspending is so much easier with a swipe of your credit card.

Pass up The Black Friday Mall Madness

Some stalwart shoppers really do enjoy the fray. But if you'd rather not face the crowds, opt to shop in your PJs and fuzzy slippers in the comfort of your own home. Bricks and mortar stores often offer the exact same Black Friday deals online.

Shop Safe Online

  • If you are shopping online, stick with known retailers. Use your common sense: if the deal on that popup ad looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Avoid shopping on a public network.
  • Search for items on retailer sites, not from search engines, to avoid deceptive links to fraudulent sites.

Score Double Savings with Discounted Gift Cards

Go to Raise.com or download the Raise app to purchase discounted gift cards on your favorite brands.