We all know that Black Friday is no time to casually stroll through the nearest Best Buy, Target or your nearest mall, but even the most seasoned shoppers can feel a little they entered a war zone complete with line cutters, pepper sprayers, and elbow-throwers. And in recent years, Black Friday is now preceded by, well, Thanksgiving shoppers looking to get their paws on “doorbuster” deals just minutes after fueling up on turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy.
If you’re anything like us, you’re not willing to risk broken bones and black eyes for this year’s must-have gadget, so instead of venturing out into the unknown, grab the leftovers out of the fridge and get comfy in front of your computer — some of the best deals are hiding in plain site (ha!).
1. Go big or don’t bother: 75% off a brand new LED TV is worth way more than 75% off a wallet. Don’t waste your time on the small stuff that’ll go on sale later anyway.
2. Make a list: Sometimes the online deals are too great to pass up, but you’re not saving any money if you end up buying things you don’t need. Have a tangible list nearby so you’re not constantly swapping screens — and stick to it.
3. Ditch the family: Most of retailers debut their sales on Thanksgiving now, so while everyone else is basting the turkey, grab your laptop and spend quality time with all the best online deals. There’ll be leftovers, right?
4. Rid yourself of distractions: There will be lots pop-ups trying to catch your attention, so research specialty sites that report on all the Black Friday deals first, like blackfriday.com and bfads.net, and make your game plan from there. This way, you won’t be tempted to click through on something that offers a free iPhone5. Sign up for the SHEfinds newsletter–we’ll send out a summary of sales at midnight that day.
5. Beat everyone to it: If you haven’t already downloaded, Google Chrome (the fastest browser by a long shot), get on it! When shopping sales, hit “view all,” scroll all the way down and start shopping at the bottom up. You’ll be more likely to get the stuff people haven’t seen yet–it’s like shopping from the back of the store!
6. Coupons are cool again: Shamelessly use as many coupons as you can find–that’s the best part of no checkout line. For promotional codes, head to RetailMeNot.com or Google the name of the shopping site with the words “coupon code” or “promo code.” You can start doing this on Thanksgiving, as some of them post early.
7. Speed Up Check Out: Pretty much every site lets you store your your credit card info and shipping address(es) securely to speed up checkout. If your browser doesn’t offer the option to save this info, use tools like roboform.
8. Triple check your game plan: Your quick pre-purchase checklist: will it ship before Christmas? Is it returnable? Is the shipping cost reasonable? (Sometimes it’s as much as you ‘saved’ during the sale–might be worth it to head to the store instead.)
9. While you’re at it, make some money, too: You’re spending enough this year, so may as well make some money, too. Bank of America’s Add It Up or Ebates.com allow you to earn up to 20% cash back on online purchases on top of retailer discounts. #win
10. Our super sneaky tip: Fill your cart the night before with items you’re pining for, and when you wake up at the crack of dawn, get the discount! We did this a couple years in a row and saved ourselves a ton of time and heartbreak. Another great idea is add your wishlist on Shopstyle, choose “sale alert” and get emails when the prices drop.
Check out ALL of our favorite sales and deals (there are TONS!) plus the best coats, leather jackets, gloves and hats for the season, too.