Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest shopping days of the year, are just around the corner.

These are typically the days, immediately following Thanksgiving, that consumers do the majority of their holiday shopping. But this year, because of the pandemic, shoppers are expected to shop more online, and over a more extended period of time.

In 2019, online Black Friday sales totaled $7.4 billion. On Cyber Monday, shoppers spent $9.4 billion online, a 20% increase from $7.9 billion in 2018. In-store sales on Black Friday, meanwhile, fell 6.2% in 2019. Over the course of the holiday shopping season in 2019, consumers spent $730.2 billion on retail goods.

But thanks to Covid-19 many brick and mortar retailers have closed, and retailers of all stripes—both online and traditional—have amped up their online Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

More than half—51%—of shoppers said that they feel anxious about shopping in-person this holiday season, according to a survey from consulting firm Deloitte. The survey also found that 73% of consumers will do contactless shopping, such as delivery or pick-up.

In 2020, consumers are expected to spend an average of $1,387 per household on holiday purchases, a 7% decrease from 2019, as 11.1 million Americans remain unemployed. The most important thing to keep in mind during Black Friday shopping this year is your health and safety, so remember to wear personal protective equipment, including a mask, if you do plan on shopping in stores. 

Here are Stash’s tips for taking advantage of deals without overspending on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond.

1-Build a budget and stick to it

Before you start adding items to your cart this year, you need a budget. And If you haven’t set one up, consider using one like the 50-30-20 budget. First, figure out your monthly income and then break that into three different categories: necessary, fixed expenses (50%) variable expenses (30%), and savings and investments (20%). Your holiday shopping will come from your savings, and your discretionary income. You can use this budget template to stay on track.

You might have also been saving specifically for your holiday spending, so take any funds you’ve set aside into consideration as well. Once you have a set amount of money in mind, you can avoid spending money you don’t have on gifts for other people, or for yourself. You might want to create a partition1 in your Stash account that’s dedicated specifically to money that you’ll use for holiday gifts. 

2-Don’t get distracted by unnecessary purchases

While it’s nice to pick up something for yourself while you’re doing your shopping this holiday season, don’t get overwhelmed by items that aren’t in your budget. Don’t go to a store or browse online unless you know exactly what you’re looking for and what it’ll cost. 

Consider writing out a list of all the things you want to buy, and then see if you can find discounts by shopping around.

3-Do your research and compare prices

If you have a specific item in mind that you want to buy during the holiday sales, figure out how to get the best price for it. Maybe you’re planning to buy a slow cooker for your sister or a tablet for your kids. Look around for which store is offering the best price for what you’re buying. Something on your list may go on sale on a specific day or at a specific time. 

You might also be able to get cash back, discounts, or rebates through third-party sites such as Rakuten to get Black Friday deals. Or you can use extensions like the Honey app to get discounts and promo codes for certain online purchases.

4-Use a card that earns rewards 

You might have a card that you can use to earn rewards or cash back points. Try to use those reward cards when you’re doing holiday shopping on Black Friday so that you can earn rewards while also getting the best prices.

With Stash’s Stock-Back® card2, you can earn a percentage of every qualifying purchase back for each purchase that you make. So when you buy something from Amazon, you can earn a percentage of that purchase back as Amazon stock. 

5-Make sure that you can return items

Lastly, make sure that you (or the person you’re shopping for) can return whatever you purchase. If you find a better price for the item or change your mind, you’ll want to be able to return it. Be aware of the return policies where you’re shopping and keep any receipt that you receive. 

Consider these steps to help you avoid spending too much money on gifts this holiday season. And remember to stay safe while you shop this year!

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