6 ways to save money on your Black Friday shopping list

As retailers roll out deals earlier and break sales records year after year, Black Friday can seem more like an entire season than a single shopping day. And many Americans are already gearing up for Black Friday into Cyber Monday and beyond.

On average, Americans are planning to spend close to $900 across this holiday season on gifts, decorations, and more this year. Bigger sales and more enticing offers don’t have to lead you to an empty bank account before the end of November, though.

Whether you’re heading to your local shopping mall to score in-store doorbusters or fine-tuning your online wishlist, having a financial plan ready can help you avoid overspending this year — especially if you’re using a credit card.

6 smart tips for Black Friday shopping

Here are just a few things to keep in mind so you can avoid debt and save money this Black Friday and beyond.

1. Know your budget

You should have at least some number to guide your spending before heading out this Black Friday. Maybe it’s the total you’ve already set aside in savings throughout the year for holiday shopping or simply a portion of your normal budget.

You could approach the weekend with an overall budget in mind — such as a total of $500 allocated to spending. Or, you may want to break it up into more specific subcategories. If your main goal is to cross off the majority of your gift list, maybe you’ll allocate $400 of that to gifts while reserving $100 for any great deals you come across for yourself.

Take a look back at last year’s spending to help you budget better this year, too. Review your old statements and receipts. Were you satisfied with the amount you spent, or are there items you wouldn’t repurchase?

2. Have a plan

Online and in-store retailers alike may bombard you with the latest deals and greatest merchandise, but making a game plan before you shop can help you avoid falling prey.

Nearly every big box retailer and plenty of smaller merchants release their best Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals in the weeks leading up to the big shopping days. Use these to find the best deals on the items you need and make your shopping list early. And don’t forget to look for roundups online cataloging the year’s best discounts.

3. Shop with 0% APR

If you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to pay down your balance in full by the time your monthly payment is due, a card with a 0% APR introductory offer for new purchases could be worth considering.

Just remember: You will still need to pay your purchases off in full by the time the intro period ends — otherwise you’ll start to accrue interest at the ongoing APR, just like any other credit card.

Here are a few top 0% APR offers available today:

0% APR cards can be risky if you tend to overspend during the holiday season. If a new credit card is only going to encourage you to spend more than you otherwise would, it may not be worth it. But if you have your spending and budget planned out, and know you can pay off the balance over the next several months, a new 0% APR card could offer a way to avoid debt this season.

4. Rethink nonessentials if you already have credit card debt

Everyone — but especially cardholders with already-mounting debt balances — would probably benefit from fewer emails flooding their inboxes about deals and discounts around the holidays.

If you already have credit card balances that are taking on high interest rates, think about whether Black Friday shopping is a good idea this year. Reward yourself instead by putting an extra payment toward your balances.

Consider using a cash-only method for holiday shopping. Withdraw only the amount of cash you’re able to spend on gifts and other purchases, and leave your credit cards at home. And if you haven’t already developed a debt payoff plan, start getting ahead of the larger issue now. Learn more about strategies for paying down debt and consider whether a balance transfer or personal loan could kickstart your progress.

5. Take advantage of credit card rewards

Credit card rewards can offer a big boost to your holiday shopping savings — as long as you spend only what you know you can afford to pay when your bill is due.

If you’re in the market for a new credit card and have an increased budget over Black Friday weekend, you may want to take advantage and work toward a high-value sign-up bonus. Here are just a few examples of rewards credit cards (each with no annual fee) you can benefit from over the big shopping week ahead — and also pair well with everyday spending.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex is a cash-back card with rotating bonus categories each quarter of the year. The current Chase Freedom bonus categories could offer a lot of value this holiday season.

Through the end of 2023, you’ll earn 5% back at wholesale clubs (think Costco or Sam’s Club), select charities, and on PayPal purchases (up to $1,500 in combined spending this quarter). That’s in addition to the ongoing 3% back on dining at restaurants and drugstore purchases, and 1% on everything else.

Wholesale clubs aren’t just great for stocking up on pantry staples; you can find great deals on electronics, small kitchen appliances, outdoor tools, and other gadgets that might be included among more costly gifts on your shopping list this year. Plus, you can use PayPal for 5% back on purchases online or in-store with a variety of merchants, and the select charities category may help add value to any donations you have planned for Giving Tuesday.

If you max out the combined $1,500 cap for these 5% categories, you’ll get $75 back on your spending this quarter.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a great choice if you plan to do the majority of your holiday shopping online. It offers 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%). If you meet that cap over the entire year, you’ll net $180 in cash back from your spending.

Additionally, you can earn 3% back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations (also up to $6,000 each, then 1%), and 1% back on everything else.

Citi Double Cash Card

There isn’t a specific rewards category that makes the Citi Double Cash Card great for saving this Black Friday. Instead, the card’s incredibly versatile flat rewards structure makes it a solid choice for any spending that doesn’t fit into common bonus categories.

With this card, you can earn up to 2% back on every purchase you make. You’ll earn 1% when you spend, and another 1% when you buy. Not only can that result in great cash-back rewards, but it’s also a helpful system for avoiding debt — especially over the holiday season when many people may be prone to overspending.

6. Seek out extra deals and discounts

Don’t stop your search for sale prices with retailer discounts. There are plenty of other opportunities to find deals before you shop.

If you’re shopping online, consider downloading browser extensions that can scour the Internet for coupons and cash-back offers you may qualify for. And in-store, Black Friday retailers may price match discounts elsewhere, helping you save the difference at checkout.

If there’s something you have your eye on, start watching prices now or set up a price alert notification. Knowing what regular prices are in the weeks leading up to a big sale can help you decide whether the discounted price later on is actually worth it.

Your credit card issuer may even be a great resource for extra discounts. When you log into your mobile app or online account, look for limited-time “deals” on specific purchases. These may target your location (such as restaurant deals) or cash discounts at nationwide chains. You’ll earn a certain percentage of cash back or bonus points after completing a minimum purchase. Just make sure you opt into the deal and read the terms before you buy.

Editorial Disclosure: The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The details on financial products, including card rates and fees, are accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information. This site doesn’t include all currently available offers.

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