Black Friday 2018 VR Deals
Even uber-frugal consumers have heard of Black Friday, the United States’ quintessential shopping holiday. The end-of-year holiday shopping season’s official kickoff day also happens to be one of the best days of the year to snag deals on coveted current-year electronics, appliances, and apparel. Our regularly updated Black Friday shopping guide outlines can’t-miss deals from some of the country’s top retailers – check it out for a taste of what to expect.
Before e-commerce, Black Friday meant braving heavy traffic, crowds, and short tempers. Hardcore shoppers queued in line for hours, often before dawn, to take advantage of “door-buster” sales and claim popular items before supplies ran out.
1. Use a Rewards Credit Card
This is sound advice at any time of year. Doubly so when it’s time to make big discretionary purchases.
While flat-rate cash back credit cards such as Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard (unlimited 1.5% cash back) and Citi Double Cash Card (unlimited 2% cash back) are superior in most cases to category-bound cash back cards such as Chase Freedom and Discover it, the latter group has an ace up its sleeve: the potential for outsize payouts on the right types of purchases at the right time.
Chase Freedom and Discover it both earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in net purchases in one or two rotating categories at a time – up to $75 in bonus cash back per quarter. When department stores, home improvement stores, or apparel stores appear in the fourth quarter mix, the stage is set for an irresistible savings opportunity.
This isn’t guaranteed, of course, but I keep a Chase Freedom card in my wallet just in case. Neither Freedom nor Discover it have annual fees, so there’s little downside to doing so.
2. Take Advantage of Sign-up Bonuses and 0% APR Promotional Periods
If you’re in the market for a new credit card, look for one with a nice sign-up bonus or 0% APR introductory promotion (or both).
One of my favorite no-annual-fee credit cards is Chase Freedom Unlimited. Its sign-up bonus is worth up to $175 when you spend $500 within three months of sign-up and add an authorized user. Its 0% APR introductory promotion lasts 15 months and applies to purchases and balance transfers. The one-two punch of $175 in free money and no interest on carried balances for more than a year is pretty hard to resist.
Some cards are even better on the 0% APR front. Citi Simplicity‘s 0% APR period lasts 21 months from account opening, for instance. That’s a long time to make up for holiday overspending – though it’s always a good idea to pay your credit card balance in full, regardless of the circumstances.
Pro Tip: If you do have to carry a credit card balance from month to month, check out our roundup of the best low APR interest credit cards on the market.
3. Use Discounted Gift Cards
This is one of the least-appreciated ways to significantly reduce your holiday shopping expenditures.
You can find discounted gift cards online, at popular (and legitimate) clearinghouses like Raise and CardCash. Both offer discounts of anywhere from 2% to 35% to face value – lower for popular merchants like Best Buy and Target, higher for niche merchants with less name recognition.
Before you buy discounted gift cards, make sure you’re getting the right type. Some sites offer physical gift cards and online-only coupon codes. If you’re shopping in person, you’ll need the former, unless the retailer is willing to accept a digital version.
Pro Tip: Suffering from a surfeit of gift cards you’ll probably never use? Check out our post on what to do with unwanted gift cards and learn how to recoup part of your investment.
4. Shop for Gift Cards
Do you have hard-to-please recipients? Buying gift cards in one go is a lot easier than wandering the aisles, zombie-like, in search of that one item your parent or spouse just can’t live without. If you’re already shopping for discounted gift cards to use on Black Friday, pick up a few extra for picky loved ones.
5. Divide and Conquer
Black Friday shopping is faster, more manageable, and more fun with a friend or relative – ideally, someone shopping for the same recipient pool, like a spouse or sibling. Before you arrive at the store, divvy up shopping duties: you to cosmetics and electronics, your partner to apparel and sporting goods, and so on. You’ll save time, avoid duplication of effort, and probably pick up a story or two in the process.