Man Shopping Electronics Online During Black Friday Sale.
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Frugal Redditors Share Their Money-Saving Black Friday Tips

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Man Shopping Electronics Online During Black Friday Sale.
ArtistGNDphotography/istockphoto

Shop and Save

Profit-hungry retailers pitch Black Friday as if it's some rare fire sale that budget-conscious consumers can't afford to miss. But the data show otherwise. According to a recent Reuters report, clothing is the only category that is cheaper this year after factoring in discounts and changes in manufacturer's suggested prices. Savvy consumers on Reddit know this and have shared some tips on how to make the most of Black Friday and actually save money.


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Camel Camel Camel Screenshot
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Track and Compare Prices

Saving money on Black Friday seems simple. Buy sale items with the steepest discounts. But cunning, profit-motivated retailers are willing to bend the truth to increase sales. How? They inflate deals by highlighting a product's manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Since retailers regularly sell products below their MSRPs year-round, a product that is 20% lower than its MSRP might seem like a deal. But, in reality, that could be the price the retailer has been using all year. To figure out if a product is truly discounted, use a price tracker like CamelCamelCamel, which provides a product's detailed price history. Geekflare has a list of seven popular price trackers.


Related: Things That Are Worth Buying on Black Friday

Black Friday, Woman holding many shopping bags while walking in the shopping mall background.
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Only Buy What You Need

If you've been eyeing an air purifier for the past year and find a well-reviewed, discounted model, then it makes sense to take advantage of the sale. After all, you had planned to buy it anyway. On the other hand, don't just make a purchase because a sale is too good to pass up, especially if it's something you'd never normally buy. While it might seem like saving money to buy a half-off Bluetooth speaker for $75, you would have saved even more by foregoing the "deal" altogether. "It's not a deal at any price if you don't need it," a Redditor writes.


Related: Don't Miss These Under-the-Radar Black Friday Sales

Shopping Online With Phone
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Fill Your Online Shopping Cart Before Black Friday

Another Redditor suggests filling online shopping carts full of products you want before Black Friday, which has two advantages: 1) you have a list of items you actually need or want and 2) you'll be able to track prices on your own. "I'll likely remove any items that don't go on sale as I try to limit my BF purchases to sale items only," they added.


Related: Costco's Best Black Friday Deals: Sneak Peek

Irish stew in a slow cooker pot
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Invest in Practical, Money-Saving Products

If you must buy something, opt for a practical product that could save you money in the future. "I think this is an excellent time to buy practical items that will make life a little easier/invest in something that will enrich an essential part of your life," one comment reads. "I'm looking to save money from eating out long-term by buying a rice cooker." This Instant Pot, which cooks rice and also serves as a slow cooker, is one good example.


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Buy Nothing Day ( Black Friday - day after Thanksgiving) in San Francisco
Buy Nothing Day ( Black Friday - day after Thanksgiving) in San Francisco by Steve Rhodes (CC BY-NC-SA)

Celebrate 'Buy Nothing Day'

Many Redditors encouraged shoppers to skip Black Friday altogether, with some dismissing the sales as nothing more than a "scam." Others criticized the day for how it affects workers and its consumerist roots. "My tip is to not support mass consumerism where employees are made to work ridiculous hours just so you can get a sale," one top-commenter writes. Instead, some critics observe Buy Nothing Day, an international protest against consumerism held every year on Black Friday. Whatever you think about Black Friday, it's true that the easiest way to save money is just to stay home.