Published on November 14th, 2017 | by William Charles16
How To Prepare For Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Black Friday & Cyber Monday are now less than a two weeks away, so it’s time to start preparing for the holiday shopping season madness. These days it seems that most sales begin on the Friday and continue through to the Monday. Then they also have lead up sales as well. These sale events can be a good chance to get items you want at a heavy discount and they can also be an even better chance to buy a heap of junk you didn’t actually want or need.
Write Down Lists For What You Need & Want
This is something I do year round, but I think it’s even more relevant going into the shopping season. I like to have two lists:
- Things I need. This list is usually short because if it’s something I really need then chances are I don’t have time to wait for it go on sale. The list gets a little longer when I need to buy presents for people. The other thing that also goes on this list is bigger items that need to be replaced in the somewhat immediate future.
- Things I want. This list is everything I want to buy. I try to avoid impulse purchases by writing them down on this list and letting them sit for awhile. When I first started I told myself I was just waiting for the items to go on sale. This really helped me curb my impulse behavior as I felt like I was still getting the item but I just needed to wait for the right opportunity. A lot of the time I now end up just removing a lot of the items on this list completely as I realize I don’t really want them. Sometimes I’ll just keep things on the list and wait for an incredible sale before pulling the trigger.
In addition to those lists I like to do a bit of price research on each item (using things like camelcamelcamel). That way I can quickly differentiate between something being an average deal and something being a great deal. Time can often be of the essence so it’s great to be able to quickly compare and pull the trigger if needed.
Stick To Your Budget
Having access to credit cards can be extremely dangerous due to their high interest rates and fees. Make sure you have a budget and stick to it. No deal is worth paying credit card interest rates of 20%+, that’s an easy way to end up in a mountain of debt that you can’t get out of. My rule of thumb is to never spend money I don’t have (e.g if I don’t have money in the bank for the item then I don’t buy it). Obviously some essentials (e.g food) are excluded from this basic rule. My aim of this site is to help people get themselves in a better situation financial and my worst nightmare is the reserve happening.
When purchasing deals, especially in the lead up to big sale events price protection is your friend. Chase, Citi, Discover & Mastercard all offer price protection policies and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with each policy.
Even when items are on sale, you should always be aiming to save more money and the best way to do this is by stacking deals. Here are some common ways to do so:
- Payment method:
- Use a credit card that earns a category bonus. If you read this site, then chances are you have lots of cards that earn at higher rates on certain purchases. Try to use a card that earns a category bonus at whatever store you’re purchasing from. The payments workshop is incredibly useful for this if you’re looking for data points for what codes as what. Sometimes it’ll make more sense to use a card that earns at a lower rate to take advantage of something like price or purchase protection.
- Use a gift card purchased at a discount. There are a lot of different ways and places to purchase gift cards at a discount, we have a full list of options here. This discount will often be bigger than using a credit card with a category bonus just remember you’re giving up the credit card benefits and some shopping portals won’t track when using a gift card.
- Use a shopping portal. If you’re not using a shopping portal then you’re leaving money on the table. Always see what the best rates are for the particular store you’re looking at. I personally use Cash Back Monitor for this.
- Look for other discounts. Often specific sites will have sitewide discounts available during this period, make sure you check for these before completing your purchase.
We will be covering the more interesting deals on the site, we will sticky a post for the duration of the sales and keep most deals on that to avoid cluttering the site too much. That being said the bigger/better deals will be posted as a new post on the site. If you want to make sure to not miss any deals I’d recommend either following us on Twitter or signing up for instant notifications. If you hate seeing any sort of deal on the site, my suggestion would be to avoid it over this shopping period and come back when it’s over.