Skip to main content

Safe Shopping Strategies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Jeanette Pavini reviews the best ways to save big -- and stay safe -- as the holiday shopping season begins.

As with anything else in 2020, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will create a new normal for shoppers. In fact, this year Black Friday will be a lot like Cyber Monday. Many consumers will opt for shopping from the safety and comfort of their own home. Many Black Friday deals have already hit for both online retail sites as well as brick and mortar stores.

Regardless of where you shop, keep in mind that many of the doorbuster deals are limited in availability, so shop early. Cas Paton, an e-commerce consultant and founder of the online marketplace OnBuy, suggests striking while the iron is hot, “When you’ve found what you want, snapping it up straight away is a good idea. While it can be tempting to come back to it later, the amount of people shopping online this year is higher than ever before.”

Says Paton, “Adults in the U.S. are predicted to spend a whopping $148.5 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.” That’s a $285 million increase over last year 2019.

When shopping online, many of the same rules apply with the exception of shipping. This year with the increase in shipping demand, anticipate longer delivery times than prior years.

If you are buying electronics, check with your credit card company before purchasing an extended warranty. Many credit card companies offer an additional year of warranty protection if you use their card to make the purchase. This can turn a 2-year warranty into 3 years at no additional cost.

Price adjustments are important this time of the year because retail prices drop almost daily the closer we get to Christmas. Hold onto your receipts.

Most larger stores and many online retailers offer a 10- to 14-day price adjustment policy. This means if you make a purchase and the item goes down in price during the price adjustment period, you get the difference between what you paid and the new price back. I have saved a significant amount of money over my lifetime by doing this one thing.

Do your research in advance to find the best deals. If you don’t see the item you want on sale, ask. You can use the chat option to connect with customer service or ask a salesperson in store. You never know what promotion you might be missing.

Check for coupon or promo codes before clicking on purchase. I did this the other day. I found a coupon code, applied it at checkout, and saved an additional 10% off of the deal I was already getting.

If you aren’t worried about something selling out, you can walk away from your cart. Leaving items in a cart before making your purchase can sometimes prompt an email from the retailer with a special discount if you come back and complete your purchase.

For consumers who do want to venture out to the stores, it is important to follow all of the safety guidelines from the CDC and in your area, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face and practice social distancing.

Shopping during a pandemic will also bring other rules. Most stores will be limiting how many people are allowed in at the same time. This will add to your time waiting outside of a store before you are let in. Consider limiting how many stores you go into by finding retailers that carry much of what you need. Regardless of how or where you shop, remember there are still several weeks before the holidays and there will still be plenty of deals to be found.