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.