Here's How to Prepare for 2023's Black Friday and Cyber Monday
If you're shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this year, you'll want to have a plan. We've got you covered.
Adam OramDeals Writer
Adam Oram is a Deals Writer at CNET. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as a Senior Writer at iMore, Deals Editor at Thrifter, and as an Apple Genius. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food.
We'll walk you through several easy ways to make the most out of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday landscape -- with everything from budgeting tips to researching ads. Once you're up to speed with all things Black Friday and Cyber Monday, make sure you check out these easy ways to save on shipping and how to send holiday gifts via Amazon.
Got all that? Good. Now let's talk about some general Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping tips.
Set a budget and put money aside
Whether you're buying for yourself or grabbing gifts for friends and family, the holiday shopping season seems to come around so quickly every year. Therefore, it's wise to budget for it throughout the year so that you don't put such a heavy burden on your last few paychecks of the year.
With many Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales having already started (see above) and a general state of economic unease (especially with pandemic era economic safeguards being rolled back, like the pause on student loan payments), you need to be more judicious than ever about spending limits. It's a good idea to set a maximum you're willing to spend all told and then to track your spending during the event. It's easy to get swept away in the excitement when deals go live and not pay close enough attention to how much you're spending, but that self-accountability will be key to avoiding a huge overspend.
Decide what you want to buy and check prices now
While a lot of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is impulse-led, a more effective way to shop is to identify purchase targets and create a list ahead of time. There are a few reasons why this is a better approach. First, you can assess prices now which helps you with your budget and saving targets. Doing the research now also helps you figure out what is actually a good deal worth buying during the event or whether a "sale" price isn't too far from a product's regular going rate.
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, you can also work through the list you made to get everything you need in an organized fashion while trying your best to avoid wasting money on impulse buys.
Peruse as many Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads as you can before the event
Part of your pre-event research should involve checking out as many Black Friday ad scans as you can. Not only is this the best way to get a sneak peek at the deals that are coming during the event, but you'll also be able to budget more effectively and shop more efficiently if you know where all the best prices are.
Shop the early sales now or plan for shipping delays
As mentioned upfront, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales don't wait for the actual day before they begin -- many are already live! If you can lock in a low price now, not only does that help spread out the cost but it could help you avoid a hefty shipping delay, or avoid missing out on a deal altogether, later on. For the sake of a few dollars' difference between now and Black Friday proper, it may be worthwhile snagging things you need now. If you don't need things urgently, then it may suit you to wait a bit longer.
Here are the best early Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales:
Is that Black Friday or Cyber Monday "deal" really a deal? Instead of looking up prices on Amazon's retail competitors one by one, do it instantaneously with a price comparison extension for your web browser. There are several on the market, but CNET now has its own in-house extension: CNET Shopping (formerly known as PriceBlink). It works across a bunch of retailers and can show you the best current deal, price history for select items, coupons for retailers that can help you add to your savings and more.
The best part of it all? The extension is completely free. Give it a try right now on Google Chrome.