5 Budget-friendly tactics for surviving Black Friday


Ditch the tent, lose the lineups, and leave your pepper spray at home. Surviving Black Friday is no longer about survival of the fittest and strongest, or being the first in line. Scoring a few Black Friday deals while staying in the black (yeah, on budget) is more about brains than brawn — and sleeping past dawn is allowed too.

So before hitting the mall to face the hoopla with the horde, take these shopping tactics for a spin to see how saving a few bucks on the busiest shopping day of the year can be both frugal and fun.

1. Flipp through the Black Friday sales.

Making your holiday list and sleuthing the Black Friday sales is easy with the Flipp flyer app on your smartphone or tablet. Available for free on iOS and Android devices, Flipp takes the paperwork out of the flyer game by making dozens of flyers browsable by store, brand, category, and product.


Finding the best Black Friday deals on electronics, housewares, clothing, toys, and groceries is simple with Flipp. The app’s clipping feature saves your items to create a shopping list instantly.

Use Flipp on Black Friday to:

  1. Search: Find store sales, browse the best deals on brands, and locate discounts on products across dozens of flyers in seconds.
  2. Discover: Flip through flyers and find gift-giving inspiration for even the toughest person on your list.
  3. Compare: See which retailers boast the best deals and savings.
  4. List: Clip sale items to your shopping list and stay on budget.
  5. Price Match: Show a better deal to a competing retailer — some may beat it.

I’ve saved anywhere from $5 to $500 in a week by using Flipp to shop grocery sales and by pricing-matching electronics.

As Black Friday nears, check your list and be on the lookout for preview sales and early flyer deals in Flipp. The earlier you can start your research, the better you can target specific stores on the big day.

2. Prioritize your needs.

Discounts on gadgets, games, and other holiday gear are only deals if you honestly need these items. Too often people lose their heads (and wallets) when they commit to standing in line and splurging on unnecessary things just to make the Black Friday trip worthwhile.

To save a little cash and a lot of frustration, always stick to a list of needed items and essential stores to visit. If that item is underwhelming in person, don’t buy it! There’s always another sale to shop in the future.


Check out my Should you buy it? flowchart to keep your shopping honest, and download my Gift Giving Worksheet to be sure your budget includes everyone on your list.

3. Check-in with your budget.

With a prioritized wish list in hand, it’s time to do the math to see if there’s any wiggle room left in your budget. Tally up the tax on possible purchases, calculate shipping costs for online orders, and add up any duty or import charges if you’re shopping across the border.


Free tools to help:

If the total tally is too much, get back into the black by cutting something from your list.

4. Avoid the crowds, shop online.

Crowd-phobic deal seekers and those living outside of urban centres can take advantage of sales by shopping online at home — many online retailers offer promotional codes and free shipping on Black Friday. Inventory may be limited, so be sure to create and update your online account before November 20th to not miss a deal.

5. Read the retailer’s return policy.

What used to be a single day of deals on Black Friday has turned in a month of sales in November, and many retailers won’t accept returns during their busiest sales days of the year. To avoid a shopping disappointment, always ask about return policy limitations, restrictions, and deadlines. To confuse matters, some retailers have different return policies for online and in-store purchases, so be clear on the rules before buying an item.

Staying home on Black Friday to pitch a blanket tent with my daughter.

Staying home on Black Friday to pitch a blanket tent with my daughter.

Now that my frugal shopping list is complete and my holiday budget is balanced, I plan to sleep in this Black Friday, do a little bit of online shopping, and pitch a tent with my 2-year-old daughter in the quietest place possible — my living room.

Sponsored Event: Join me and @getflipp for a #Flipp4BlackFriday Twitter Party on Thursday November 20th from 9-10pm. I’ll keep ya on budget this holiday season with my free tools and money-saving tips.




  1. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom November 19, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I think I’m going to need to get Flipp now!

    Also, my daughter is two and a half and there is so much blanket fort action right now!

  2. Connie November 20, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Got my Flipp! Now let’s see about that replacement computer I have been thinking about. Gifts for self count don’t they? Tis the season to be generous to all your loved ones to include self. And don’t forget there are only four things to do with money: spend, save, invest and give it away. And sometimes giving it away is the very best think you can do.

  3. Susan November 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    You forgot the best tip of all – talk to your family and friends about the craziness and waste associated with Christmas gift-giving and agree not to do it. Some of my family members used to insist that we carry on for the sake of tradition. They gave me crap I didn’t want or need which I immediately took to the nearest Goodwill Donation Center, and I gave them crap I’m sure they didn’t want or need in return. Eventually it came down to exchanging gift cards – my $50 gift card to them in exchange for their $50 gift card to me. How goofy is that? Now they have finally agreed to drop it. I understand giving gifts to children (within reason), but adults can make a much healthier choice for themselves and their environment by not getting carried away with such insanity.

  4. Emily-Pemily November 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for the tip on Flipp! The expense/gift charts also really help rein in the madness.

    I never understood the lure of Black Friday, I’d rather hide under a tent with a two-year-old on the verge of a nap time meltdown than go to a crowded mall (seriously, just drop her off and remember to pick me up some chocolate while you’re out). We finally convinced my family to give up all but Christmas Stockings, the theme is “consumables” – I want to spend time with my family, not be out at the malls buying stuff they don’t need/don’t want.

  5. Shauna Guilfoyle November 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Flipp is my latest addiction, I save about a third of my grocery bill every week. Handy with two teenage boys!
    Glad to see you back!

  6. Michelle November 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Also, if you’re shopping online for your gifts, using Ebates to get a a little bit of money back! It’s not much, but it’s not much work either and everything helps.

  7. Danielle November 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Annoying! Saw on twitter how you saved money off your Macbook Air by using this app. Just bought one two weeks ago and the sale ended YESTERDAY wahhhhhh.

  8. Karen November 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I just tried to order some simmons micro denier luxury pillows from sears still showing available on their site; and was told they were available at $39.99. They were listed $8 and some cents, 80% off(queen size). The ones showing sold out were standard size.(last May)I questioned the sales rep about it and she left me on hold to address the matter with her supervisor. After a ten minute wait I was then told the pillows were sold out(even though their website did not show this) and was offered different pillows at twice the price. I smell a bait and switch scheme. Beware.

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