9 tips to get the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

9 tips to get the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Technology makes our life much easier, and nowhere is that more apparent than on Black Friday. In the US, shopping on Black Friday has transitioned to getting the best deals online nowadays; ditto for Cyber Monday.

Even though you don't have to squeeze with the crowd to get the best deal, the madness still begins in the mere moments when sales start.

Conquer Black Friday and Cyber Monday with these handy tips for online shopping.

Mod your browser before the big sales come on

Look out for browser add-ons such as Amazon Assistant or Honey. These help you scan for better deals on the day of the sale, or nab you the needed coupon codes.

For example, Honey automatically collated promo-codes for whatever you’re shopping for, while Amazon Assistant pulls up the best deals for similar items. Using the add-ons are always faster than manually opening a zillion tabs on your screen, and clicking “refresh” non-stop.

Just make sure you have some form of anti-virus running before you download browser extensions; you could end-up downloading malware or viruses.

Download apps to help you monitor different stores

Don’t bother with specific retailers’ apps – just go straight for the apps that are custom built for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Examples are Dealnews and Shopkick.

These apps can be set to constantly monitor different online stores. You can get updates when the prices change, automatically grab coupons, and compare prices across different sites.

Stock the shopping cart about two to three weeks before the sales

There are two reasons to do this:

First, it makes shopping a lot easier during the sale itself. You just need to click “checkout”, instead of having to manually find the item again. This can make a difference when trying to be first in line to grab hot items: toys, electronic gadgets, and video games can sell out in the first one or two hours.

Second, many sites actually monitor what’s in your shopping cart, even if you don’t checkout the items. As the sale date gets closer, they often try to close the sales by giving you discounts on cart items.

Remember to bookmark your favourite shopping sites while you’re at it, so you can navigate to them quickly.

Use a desktop or laptop instead of your phone

It’s harder to keep track of the various sites on your phone, and browser extensions may not work as well on your mobile. On top of that, some shopping sites just aren’t optimised for mobile; you could find it harder to navigate to items, or apply discount coupons on sale day.

There’s also a chance that your app or browser extension may lead you to a new site, where you need to register to get promo codes or shop. We probably don’t need to tell you how annoying it is to type a new username, password (must be eight characters, one upper-case, one number, etc.), and various long-winded details on your phone screen.

Use a credit card that’s optimised for online shopping

To save the most on your online spending, make sure you use a credit card with a high (or even no) cashback limit. At present, the CIMB Visa Signature card gives you 10 per cent cashback for online shopping in foreign currencies – a super deal if you’re buying in US dollars or euros (and there isn’t even a rewards cap).

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Just remember to pay back your credit card in full, to avoid having to pay interest later.

Apply the 40 per cent barometer

As a rule of thumb, a “bottomed out” Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal is going to be around 40 per cent below the usual retail price. If you see this, you can be assured that you’re probably getting the cheapest deal.

If the discount isn’t that big, consider waiting or browsing around more. There may be sites with an even better deal than what you’re currently seeing.

For US goods (there’s no current compilation for Singapore retailers taking part), the discount ranges for Black Friday last year were:

  • Designer Clothing: 41%
  • Personal Services: 39%
  • Teen Clothing: 36%
  • Clothing: 35%
  • Accessories: 34%
  • Computers and Electronics: 33%
  • Toys and Kids: 33%
  • Sports and Fitness: 33%
  • Shoes: 33%

Discounts ranges are broadly similar for Cyber Monday.

Filter out sites with bad return policies, in the week before the sales

Check if you’re okay with the sites’ return policies, before you buy from them.

For example, if you buy a dress and it doesn’t fit, are you okay with not being refunded the shipping costs? Or are you fine with “exchange only” policies, where you can get another item but no cash in return?

You should also check if the site’s retail policy applies everywhere in the world. There are some sites with full refund policies that apply only within the US, for example, or only within EU states.

Start your shopping early

Remember the time difference between Singapore and the US. In general, you want to be ready to shop early – around 6 to 7pm Singapore time is good, as it would be early morning in America.

It’s most important to do this for high demand items, such as electronic gadgets, video games, or designer apparel. For other items, you can usually count on the retailers having enough stock.

Stick to your budget

Remember not go crazy, especially if you’re using a credit card that can reach up to four times your monthly income. Keep track of how much you’re spending, or even consider imposing a lower credit ceiling so you don’t overspend (call your bank to request this).

Remember, you won’t really be saving money if you end up incurring credit card debt. Don’t spend more than you can pay off at one go.