Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide- Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Ahh, Black Friday. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year and rightfully so, considering all of the amazing deals and discounts. If you’re smart about it you can end up scoring items for significantly less than the regular retail price and find awesome deals for everyone on your Christmas list.

But raise your hand if you’ve ever overspent or ended up buying things you didn’t really want or need? (Raises hand sheepishly) Yeah, me too. We’ve all been there. In the sea of discount madness it can be all too easy to go overboard and end up buying everything in sight.

That’s why today I’m sharing my best tips on how to score deals for everyone on your holiday shopping list without impulse shopping and breaking the bank. I’m also sharing some of my favorite Black Friday deals of 2017 and what items I don’t recommend you buy during Black Friday and the holiday season.

Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide- Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide- Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

*this post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks for helping keep Kindly Unspoken up and running!

Create A Budget

The first and most important rule of thumb for Black Friday and holiday shopping is of course creating a budget. Make it a point to sit down one evening and figure out what you can afford to spend this holiday season without going in the hole.

This can be accomplished by listing out all your monthly expenditures, monthly income, and notating the difference + adding in additional savings that is intended for shopping use. Be sure and include any extra holiday expenses such as travel costs to visit family, christmas donations, etc.

Once you’ve determined the number, write it down on a piece of paper or place it in an excel workbook to come back to every time you make a purchase. This will help you know exactly what you’ve spent and what you have left to spend out of your shopping budget.

Make a List of Gift Recipients/Gift Ideas

If you read my How to Save Money on Groceries post, you already know I’m a huge advocate of making a list and sticking to it, so of course thesame rule applies for Black Friday.

I recommend making a list of everyone you plan to buy for and add any items you know they want or need out beside their name. Feel free to ask for family member’s input for wish list items, but be sure and make it clear that these are just for ideas and not everything on the list will be purchased.

We personally always ask our boys what items they’d really love to have each year, and then we end up selecting a few of their choices to give to them. As a parent, it can be easy to feel pressure to buy every toy your child asks for, but you and I both know they don’t need hundreds of toys each year and it’s important to teach them early on lessons on budgeting and gratitude.

Creating a list will help hold you accountable for staying on track when shopping and will help you avoid buying items that aren’t on your list.

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Research Items on Sale

Did you know some people go to the Black Friday sales without ever looking at the ads ahead of time? Yeah I just shuddered too. As a budget-friendly shopper one of my favorite things to do every year is to check out all of the Black Friday advertisements that stores release.

My favorite way to keep up with all the advertisements is to sign up for deal alerts. Typically in early November, will start sending out advertisements released to their e-mail subscribers and it’s a great way to stay on top of upcoming deals. You can check out all the current Black Friday ads over here.

I recommend picking out your top favorite stores and comparing items at their biggest competitor to see which store has the best deal. (i.e. Walmart vs. Target) Although the difference sometimes might only be $5, other times you can score an item for significantly less, making your research completely worth it.

If you find specific items on your holiday list, then be sure and write those down so you’ll be ready to go once the deals are live. Also, make sure you double check the sale dates for specific deals, as many stores do doorbusters for special times. For instance, if you’re a Target RedCard Holder, you get early access to the Black Friday Deals starting on Wednesday 11/22 plus you save an additional 5% off your purchase every day! Head here for all the details!

Shop Online

Want to know one of the biggest reasons I love Black Friday, beyond the fact you can find amazing deals? Because you can shop at home in the comfort of your PJ’s and STILL score the same amazing prices as all the people scrummaging through the stores.

While it used to be that stores wouldn’t share their biggest discounts with shoppers online, times have changed and there’s absolutely no reason to shop in store for something unless you just want to. With free shipping, coupon codes, and cashback sites like Ebates, it almost makes MORE sense to shop online. Get started with Ebates here, and score $10 back towards your first cash back check.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Plus who doesn’t like shopping in their PJ’s while eating Thanksgiving leftovers? πŸ˜‰

Shop In-Store Alone or With A Budget-Mindful Person Only

If you must shop in-store I recommend going alone or taking that one friend or family member that you can count on in helping you shop wisely.

Ya’ll, I love my husband. But shopping with my husband for groceries, Christmas gifts, or pretty much anything is like shopping with a kid in a candy store. He gets all excited about the new gadgets and toys and always wants to buy those infomercial items that nobody needs (you know the ones!)

If you or someone in your family is similar, it’s best to avoid shopping with them on Black Friday altogether. There’s way too much temptation on all corners of stores and you’ll only end up frustrated and broke, which isn’t good for anyone. Plus when you’re alone it’s so much easier to look at your list, get what you need, and get home quicker to enjoy the rest of your day with family. USA, LLC

Determine Good Deals Vs. Gimmicks

One of the reasons it’s important to do your research when it comes to black friday deals is because this is retail’s BIGGEST day of the year. Meaning they’re in it to make sales and money. That’s why as a shopper, you have to be extra smart and stealthy in knowing what’s a good deal vs. what’s a gimmick.

Years ago, I can remember buying one of those little throw blankets at a Black Friday Sale and feeling so proud of myself for “scoring” it for only $15. Days later, I was appalled to find out the regular price of that blanket was $15.99. Now of course $15.99 isn’t a horrible price for a blanket, but the point is, a lot of times retailers will put out a display of something and make you believe it’s some amazing value, when really it’s only slightly discounted or even worse- not discounted at all.

Also, don’t fall trap for items stores have near the checkout aisles or if you’re shopping online, the recommend items in your shopping cart. Again, it might seem like an awesome deal for only $5 but if it’s not on your list, then don’t get it. Just don’t. You’ll thank me later, when you still have money to spare. πŸ™‚

Have Accountability

This one’s a tough one but after shopping, make sure to check all your receipts, add up your expenditures and compare to your budget and don’t be afraid to return something if you don’t feel good about the purchase. There’s been times I’ve bought something because it was only $20 and then realized I already have 3 more of those at home. There’s no shame in taking back something to the store the next week and getting your money back to put towards something else more important.

Best Black Friday Deals 2017

Okay, so now that we’ve covered all the bases on how to save money here’s some of my absolute favorite Black Friday deals this year! Unless noted otherwise, these deals are all valid starting on Friday 11/24! Happy Shopping!

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate Activity Tracker at Kohls– Only $99.99 Plus $30 Kohls Cash (Regularly $149.99

  • Available in-store and online at Kohls from 5 PM on Thursday, 11/23- Friday, 11/24 at 1 PM.


Roku 4K Streaming Stick at Walmart– Only $48 (Regularly $69) or Roku Express+ HD Streaming Media Player at Walmart– Only $22 (regularly $39)

  • Also, includes the following: (1 FREE Month of DirecTV NOW ($70 Value), 1 FREE Month of Showtime ($10.99 Value), $5 Vudu Credit, and HDMI Cable Included)

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Google Home at Walmart– Only $79 (regularly $129)

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Instant Pot 5 Qt Pressure Cooker at Walmart– Only $49 (regularly $69.99)

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Google Home Mini at Target– Only $29 Plus $10 Target Gift Card with purchase (Regularly $49.99)

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

iPhone8 or iPhone8 Plus at Target– $250 Target Gift Card with qualified activation

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Amazon Echo at Target– Only $79.99 (regularly $99.99)

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

50% off Select Family Board Games at Target– Perfect deal for stocking up for family game night! πŸ™‚

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote at Target– Only $24.99 (regularly $39.99)

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Women’s Sweaters at Target– Only $10 & $15 (regularly $17.99- $24.99)- Such a great deal for stocking up on sweaters!

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Select Boots for Her at Macy’s– Only $19.99 (regularly $59.50-$69.50)- These Style & Co Madixe Riding Boots are so cute and such a versatile color! – Deals are LIVE now! 

Black Friday & Holiday Shopping Guide-Tips to Avoid Overspending + How to Find the Best Deals

Rampage Women Boots at Belk– Only $19.99 (regularly $59- $79)- I own so many pairs of boots from Rampage and they are my absolute favorite! I always hit up this deal at Belk every year to get the cutest boots! – Deals are LIVE now! 

Urban Decay Nocturnal Eyeshadow Palette at Ulta– Only $14.99 (regularly $29.99) – You can’t beat the price of this palette and would make a great gift for any makeup lover!

Hope you enjoyed today’s Black Friday Shopping Guide and learning about ways to find the best deals and avoid overspending. How about you- are you a fan of Black Friday Shopping? Be sure and share this post with a friend who’d love these tips and deals! πŸ™‚

My family is in from VA and the boys are off school this week, so I’m off to enjoy the week with them! I’ll catch you back on the blog next week and I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving with your family!

Thanks for stopping by- Cara


  1. These are such great gift ideas! I love your tips on how to not overspend. I set an overall budget and a per person budget. I came up with a list in my phone who all I need to buy for and will get a few extras for just in case.

  2. You’re so right about some items not actually being discounted. I hate when that happens! I plan to do most shopping online this Black Friday.

    1. Me too! It’s definitely a bummer when you find out it wasn’t really a good deal at all. I shopped online and it was so nice to not have to leave the house lol

  3. Such a great post with amazing tips! I can’t wait for the sales! I love how you said go shopping by yourself or with another budget friendly person only, SO HELPFUL! I have a friend who I occasionally shop with and she is such an enabler, ha!


  4. I do most of my black friday shopping online to avoid the chaos and impulse buys I would make at the stores. I definitely think making a list of gift ideas for friends/family ahead of time helps a lot!

  5. You’re so right on some things just being gimmicky deals and not REAL deals…but that Urban palette is an AWESOME DEAL OMG

  6. Making a list is HUGE is for. THat way, I stay on track hopefully and don’t buy those things that I truly don’t need!

  7. It really is so important to go in sort of knowing what you want to get! I get a majority of my shopping done on Black Friday and also treat myself to a few things if I find a great deal, haha!!

  8. Great tips! Shopping online has become my favorite because I love avoiding lines and I can compare different retailers.

    1. Mine too! I was able to shop on Thursday evening before bed and not even really have to do “Black Friday” shopping, which was nice.

  9. This is superb! Those some really great tips for anyone who’s looking at doing a lot of shopping this Black Friday (which is all of us right?!). ?
    I also posted my first holiday gift guide today – Travel Gift Ideas for Every Type of Traveler on Your List. Do check it out!


  10. Good to know about the Instapot – the cheapest I had seen was $59.99 – so I’m totally checking out Walmart now! Thanks for that!

  11. These are such great tips! I love Black Friday Shopping; I’m thankful for all of your great tips. Sticking to a budget and being careful of gimmicks are so important!

    1. Thank-you! And absolutely! So many stores raise the prices just to make more money so you have to be careful!

  12. Omg, this is all so awesome! Thank you for all these tips! This year my boys want video games – not really sure what do with that. Lol. I’m eyeing the sale on the google home, I may have to get that. Happy shopping!

  13. I’m already finding myself making a list for my family/friends and also deals I’m going to get for myself too ugh! I need to chill lol. Those boots above for $20 is a steal!

  14. Haha, picking the right shopping partner is such a good point! I’m totally like your husband, so I definitely need someone budget conscious to come with me, or I know things will get out of control! xx

    1. Thats awesome! I’m more of a stay at home shop online person but I can see it being fun if you don’t mind crowds!

  15. All very good tips! It’s definitely a good idea to go in with a plan, whether that’s shopping in stores or online. And thanks for sharing some fun deals!


  16. ugh black friday makes me cringe! so many people overspend and honestly the deals are never really good! There was a rossen report last year where brands actually mark the prices higher and then make it look like a “sale” and its really just the regular price #SMH

    1. That’s what irks me about the whole thing. People think they’re getting a great deal when in reality it’s been jacked up for the holidays. So wrong.

  17. I could really use a new FitBit. Mine broke a year ago and I really miss having it. That is definitely a tempting deal!

  18. FYI, that top pic of the mall is the Toronto Eaton Center πŸ™‚ I was just there yesterday and they have all of their awesome Christmas decor up.

    I’m looking at 3 things to buy for Black Friday (all Christmas gifts) but so far, no sales have been posted yet so I’m keeping an eye out…although I am tempted to buy an Instant Pot!

  19. Usually I have a Black Friday shopping list a mile long, but this year I just have a few select things I am looking for. Definitely going to hit up Target for their sweaters, games and their Cat and Jack baby clothes are going to be $3. Chris is hitting up a few sales too and we will browse Cyber Monday stuff. Love all your tips!!

  20. Yesss to all of this! I absolutely refuse to go out anywhere on Thanksgiving, and wait until actual Black Friday but even then I do my research and try to do most of it online in my PJ’s <3
    Green Fashionista

  21. These are great tips! I agree that budgeting and making a list are key to not going crazy on all the sales. I hope that you have a great thanksgiving!

    1. Thank-you! I have to make lists and budget otherwise I’ll buy a whole lot of items I don’t really need lol.

    1. Thanks! Be sure and use it before shopping online to get your cash back earnings! You can install the plugin for easy use!

  22. I’m not the biggest fan of the Black Friday but I love the fact that you gave such a great tips on how to avoid overspending and to plan ahead. Nice post!

  23. Thanks for these tips, Cara. My husband is a great fan of Black Friday deals so I’m pretty sure he’ll find some bits and pieces for everyone. I’m not sure if her can get what I want this year, my dream is to refurbish my studio and get a new desk and a chair so.. we’ll see πŸ˜‰

  24. O my. I still cant get through the thing, that its already Xmas time soon. Have not thought of anything. But…. already have 5 things from your list to buy.

  25. Whoop whoop, letvthe shopping begin! Cash and CC in hand! I’m ready girl and these are great tips! Have a great start to your Thanksgiving week beautiful!

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