12 Black Friday Shopping Tips to Maximize Your Savings

Home Furnishings>Seasonal

November 08, 2023

According to Adobe Analytics, online shoppers spent $9.12 billion on Black Friday in 2022.1 This shopping bonanza marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, but beyond the sales, many people wonder where the term "Black Friday" originated.

The origin of the term dates back to the 1950s. Police officers in Philadelphia used the term “Black Friday" to describe the shopping chaos when people from the suburbs came to the city to start their holiday shopping.2 Over the years, retailers adopted the phrase and offered sales to encourage people to spend more.

These days, just about every retailer takes part in Black Friday. But with so many discounts available, consumers must plan to get the best deals.

1. Make a shopping list

Instead of buying things blindly on Black Friday simply because they're on sale, jot down a list of things you need. For instance, consider what you need to buy or replace in the next 12 months. Also, think about any gifts you need to purchase for the holidays.

Writing a list forces you to focus on what you actually need and may help curb impulse spending. Remember, it's not a deal if you didn't need the purchase in the first place.

2. Research deals and discounts offered by different retailers

Once you have a list, you can start researching the deals different retailers offer. Each will typically release their Black Friday deals flyer a week or two in advance, so you'll have enough time to review your options. If you need something for your home, such as new furniture or appliances, check out the Synchrony HOMETM retail partners. Remember that your Synchrony HOMETM Credit Card can be used at thousands of retail partners nationwide.* You can also try some apps and extensions that automatically help you look for discount codes, including Honey, Pricescout and Slickdeals.

3. Compare prices to find the best value

With so many retailers and products available, you'll want to compare prices to see which merchant offers the most significant discounts. While making your initial list, write down the regular retail price. By doing this, you'll know whether the Black Friday price is a deal. Price.com, ShopSavvy and QR Reader are just a few websites and apps that can help you quickly compare prices.

4. Check store opening and closing times

Most retailers will have different opening and closing times on Black Friday than their regular retail hours. In most cases, they'll open early and close late, giving you extra time to shop. Knowing the opening hours is essential if you plan on shopping in-store. That's because retailers may have limited stock on the items with the lowest price tag.

Some retailers may only have their deals only during specific time slots—meaning that if you get there too early or late, you could miss out on the opportunity. With that in mind, make sure to double-check the timeframe for the deal before you shop.

5. Determine the best shopping method: In-store or online

Deciding between shopping in-store and online can impact what items you buy. Some retailers offer exclusive deals on Black Friday for in-store purchases. However, that may require you to line up hours before the store opens. Going online may be better since you can access more stock and stores. That said, you may compete with more people looking for the same online deals.

6. Set a budget and stick to it

As you're shopping, you'll likely find great prices on items you didn't initially plan to buy. Taking advantage of these sales can be worth it if you stick to your budget. However, if you're buying things just because they're on sale, you may blow your budget.

7. Read product reviews

If you want to purchase a laptop, TV, headphones or even appliances, reading product reviews is a good idea. That said, pay attention to the site where you're reading reviews. If the site uses affiliate links, they may be biased towards products that earn them a commission. The best sources to trust are ones where there are unbiased reviews, such as Consumer Reports.

8. Check the refund policy

Before you start the shopping spree, find out the return policies. Some retailers may offer limited refunds and exchanges. In addition, some retailers may not issue refunds until later when the crowds return to normal. When purchasing items in-store, the refund policy tends to be a bit more generous since you can return it later in person. However, if you're purchasing online, there might be specific rules in place. Some merchants may require you to return things via mail (at your cost), or they may only issue you a store credit when you make the return at a store.

9. Only use reputable sites

It's not just retailers looking to capitalize on consumer spending; fraudsters will likely be out too. If you come across a price on an item that seems too good to be true, it probably is. It's a good habit to have doubts about a retailer you haven't heard of that offers prices lower than everyone else. Research the retailer in question, or stick to sites you know to avoid any potential fraud.

10. Use a credit card strategically

Credit cards can offer a bunch of benefits when used responsibly. Case in point: paying for purchases with a cash back credit card can add a little money back into your pocket.

You can also tap into promotional financing to make your purchases. For instance, Synchrony offers credit cards with promotional financing to help make paying for large purchases manageable. Likewise, Synchrony Pay Later gives you the power to make purchases today and pay them off over time in predictable equal payments. Regardless, remember to weigh your options, thinking about what's best for your budget and how you plan to pay for the purchases.

If you are interested in an installment loan, such as a buy now, pay later solution, Synchrony Pay Later gives you the power to make purchases today and pay them off over time in predictable equal payments.**

11. Start early

If you're looking for an in-store deal, you'll likely have to line up hours in advance to secure the items you want. Alternatively, research what time retailers start their Black Friday deals online. Some will begin their sale at midnight or even the day before.

12. Divide and conquer

Many families want to do their Black Friday shopping together, but splitting up increases your chances of securing a deal. When shopping online, both partners could shop at different sites. This will allow families to focus on the best deals available without leaving home.

The bottom line

Black Friday is an opportunity to save big, but without planning and setting a budget, you may end up being lost in the crowds. If you plan on taking advantage of any available deals, have a shopping list ready, settle on a game plan and consider paying with a cash back credit card to help maximize your savings.

SHOP DEALS: Shop smarter with Synchrony

READ MORE: Cyber Monday. A Guide to the Biggest Online Shopping Day of the Year

*Subject to credit approval.

**Subject to credit approval. Synchrony Pay Later loans are provided by Synchrony Bank.

1Mike Snider, November 26, 2022, $9.12 billion spent in a day: New Black Friday online spending record set in 2022, report says, USA TODAY, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/shopping/2022/11/26/black-friday-2022-online-sales-record/10780279002/, accessed September 20, 2023

2Zoe Malin, September 10, 2021, The history of Black Friday shopping — and what 2022 may bring, NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/evolution-black-friday-ncna1278024, accessed September 20, 2023

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