Black Friday 2020: How to save even more money this year
Pro tips for keeping maximum cash in your wallet.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Although Black Friday is still weeks away, Black Friday sales are happening right now. Lots of stores have jumped on the "early savings" bandwagon. Before you buy anything, however, take a beat. Is this really the best deal? Are there ways to make it even better? Below I've rounded up some of my favorite tips for Black Friday shopping. If a few of them sound familiar, it's because they carried over from Prime Day -- but, let's be honest, most of them are applicable year 'round. This guide was first published in 2018 and is regularly updated with new information.
Don't assume Black Friday deals are the best deals
It's important to remember that products go on sale all the time, and any deal that happens during Black Friday (or the weeks leading up to it) is likely to be repeated. Don't let the inherent sense of urgency overwhelm your common sense.
Indeed, for any given deal you're eyeballing, check to see if the price has been the same (or lower) in the past. A great tool for this is CamelCamelCamel, which tracks Amazon price histories. Just copy the product's URL, paste it into CamelCamelCamel's search field and check the results. (There's a desktop browser plug-in as well, which saves you all that annoying copying and pasting.)
Use Amazon's credit card to save an extra 5%
If you're an
subscriber, consider getting the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa Card. Right now that nets you a $100 Amazon gift card, which is basically free money to spend on presents or household items or whatever. Not a Prime subscriber? You get a $60 gift card -- still pretty good.
The card also earns you 5% cash back on nearly everything you buy from Amazon.com, and everything you buy at Whole Foods as well. That's on top of any sale prices happening on Black Friday or any other time of year. What's more, Amazon sometimes offers extra Prime card discounts, like 10% or even 15% back on certain items.
Before you buy anything, anywhere, at any time, you should always see what cash-back options are available. I'm a fan of using services such as Rakuten and TopCashback, which can easily score you added savings on your purchases.
At this writing, for example, Rakuten is offering 6% back on phones and phone accessories purchased from Samsung, while TopCashback is currently giving 8% back on Amazon device purchases, 7% back on Amazon home security and smart home devices and a $15 rebate when you sign up for a year of Amazon Prime (at the regular $119 price).
It's worth noting that you can double dip on cash-back, getting whatever your credit card gives you plus whatever you get from the likes of Rakuten or TopCashback.
There's another shopping helper I recommend: PriceBlink. In addition to finding coupon codes for you while you shop, it will compare prices at other stores. So if you're shopping for, say, a Fitbit Versa 2 at Amazon, PriceBlink will alert you if that same product is available for less elsewhere. The tool is available for Chrome, Edge and Firefox browsers.
PriceBlink offers another handy feature as well: price alerts. If Black November isn't producing the price you want for a particular item, you can set up an alert and they'll notify you if and when a price cut occurs. The aforementioned CamelCamelCamel can do this as well.