Black Friday 2021: Your Ultimate Guide to Deals and Sales

Shopping tips, the best apps/extensions, and a list of quick links!


Graphic by: Madison Loucks

by Madison Loucks, Reporter

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are quickly approaching! Taking place on Friday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Nov. 29, this “Cyber Week” shopping frenzy is notorious for housing the best deals of the year. Whether for early holiday shopping, gift purchases, home/kitchen items, new technology, wardrobe essentials, or everyday necessities, consumers search high and low to get the best bang for their buck. However, these days are also notorious for fooling customers to overspend, as they are persuaded by the chaos and extreme promotion of Black Friday sales. It can be overwhelming to navigate and find the countless deals that are available to you. It can be stressful to determine the best purchases and make sure you are spending your money in the right places. And, it can be exhausting to deal with the FOMO or consequences of overspending. But don’t worry, I have written a full Black Friday/Cyber Week shopping guide to help you be successful in all of your shopping decisions and avoid stress or unnecessary overspending.

This guide includes:

  • Shopping tips to help you navigate Black Friday
  • A list of apps and extensions to help you have your most successful Cyber Week yet!!
  • A list of quick links to the best Black Friday deals, categorized into sections.


First, here are my best tips on navigating the Black Friday craziness!

1. Start Early

Starting your Black Friday shopping early is one of the best strategies you can adopt. Not only because most retailers release their best deals before Black Friday even starts, but also because the hottest deals and products are guaranteed to sell out quickly, and therefore you may not be able to get them shipped or in your hands before the holidays.

Sales at some retailers have already begun. Amazon, for example, is now running what it calls “Black Friday-worthy” deals in several product categories.

2. Plan Your “Itinerary”

Especially with online shopping, the places you could shop from are endless. You have access to so many different stores, retailers, and brands, so it’s easy to shop from too many stores at once when Black Friday rolls around. This is inefficient because not only will you buy things you probably don’t need/want, but you may not have time to look for deals in every single store, and you could miss out on some serious value shopping. Make sure to write a list of your top priority stores/brands before you begin browsing deals. This list can include specific items that you want to buy or specific stores that you want to hunt for deals at FIRST. To make sure you can accomplish and purchase everything you want, try to keep the list to about 5 stores maximum, that way you are limited to picking the most valuable deals at each store. It will help you narrow down the most important purchases since you restricted yourself to only your top-choice stores, and you will be able to get all of the deals/products you want before they sell out.

(Check the section below for apps and extensions that will help you save items and stores, and categorize them by lists.)

3. Have A Budget

Black Friday sales can be incredibly addictive. We start the day/week with the intention of buying a few specific things, and then we get so caught up in the excitement of great deals and sales that we end up overspending and buying more than we intended to/can afford. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, try to come up with a ballpark range of how much you can/are willing to spend on Black Friday. Take into account what your absolute maximum of spending should be and make the higher end of your budget BELOW that maximum. This makes sure that if you do make a few extra impulsive or last-minute purchases, you’ll still be around your maximum spending range and (hopefully) still have some money in your pockets.

4. Bookmark Retailers’ Websites

It may seem obvious to some, but a lot of people don’t utilize the power of bookmarks when it comes to online shopping. Using the bookmarks on your web browser can help you with tip #2, making your itinerary. Before you start your black Friday shopping and after you make your list of stores, you can bookmark all of the brand’s websites to your browser, or even a specific product category page. For example, if you know you want to buy shoes at one certain store that you love, bookmark the shoe section to make sure it’s accessible. You can also bookmark a specific product page if you already have your eyes on it. Using your browser’s bookmarks will add shortcuts to everything you planned to purchase on your itinerary and make it very easy to get to those categories/product pages when you start shopping.

5. Find Most (If Not All) Black Friday Deals Online

Black Friday used to be known for its in-store frenzies, customer stampedes, mile-long lines outside of stores beginning at the crack of dawn. But now, partly due to COVID-19, and partly due to the new significance of e-commerce, stores are now offering all if not more of their deals online, even some that only used to exist in-store. On Black Friday this year, deals are just as easy to find right from your couch. So, you won’t need to get up at the crack of dawn and drive to stand in long lines of stores; you can stay cozy at home (with access to snacks and drinks of course) and find all of the best deals on your phone or computer!

6. Research Pre-Black Friday Pricing

In the time leading up to Black Friday, set price alerts for exact-match and similar products you plan to buy when you start shopping. Watch if – or how- they change, and what the pre-Black Friday prices actually look like. This will help you spot any skeptical pre-holiday price surges and spikes, which make people fall for schemes that something is a great deal when the prices have merely been reduced from a highly inflated sticker price.

(Check the section below for apps and extensions that will help you check for prices.)

7. Check All Store Policies in Advance

Before starting your shopping, it is essential that you are aware of all of your store’s return and price match policies. This is another reason why it’s so important to have an itinerary; realistically, you’re not going to be able to check the price match and return policies for more than 5 stores because they can take a while to hunt down and analyze. This year, shopping experts are predicting that more and more stores will be offering price matching strategies. For example, “Target has already announced that shoppers buying anything from Oct. 10 through Dec. 24 will be able to request a price adjustment if the price drops later in the season. Target also says it will continue its policy of matching select competitors’ pricing within 14 days of a customer’s purchase” (Consumer Reports)

8. Sign up for Store Emails/Newsletters

Signing up for brand/retail emails or newsletters is so easy and costs you absolutely nothing. It takes a few quick seconds to go to their website, and enter your email address to subscribe to their email or newsletter. The benefit to getting emails directly from the store is that it is more accessible and accurate; it comes right to your inbox directly from the stores or brands you are interested in.

TIP: if you won’t want your inbox piling up with promotional emails and sale alerts, make a separate inbox with a different email address, that you just dedicate to shopping and sales emails. Then just use this email when signing up for alerts at retailer’s websites.

9. Fill up and Abandon your Online Cart for Discounts like 15-20% Off

Lots of retailers will send you a discount, coupon, or promo code when you add items to your cart and leave it sitting there without checking out. This is a great way to get some extra savings, especially if you are already planning what you’re going to buy. You can add items to your cart to helo you plan what you want from your top choice stores and while you finish planning you can see if some extra savings can be snagged by leaving the items in your cart.

Here are some retailers that give you promo codes when you abandon your shopping cart: (these are only a few)

West Elm
Kate Spade
Everyday Minerals
World Market
Dick’s Sporting Goods

10. Follow Top Black Friday Stores on Social Media

This tip is very useful throughout the year, but it is especially helpful on black Friday. Retailers start to offer more promotions and last-minute deals during the holidays, and most stores’ way to promote this is through social media marketing. Following your favorite brands and stores on their socials will ensure that you are up to date with any new sales, promotions, or even new products and lines.

11. Avoid Unsafe Situations

Both in-person and online, Black Friday can present some unsafe situations in the chaos of the biggest shopping day of the year. If you are careful and cautious, these situations can easily be avoided. For in-person shopping: don’t try to be the first in the door; it’s a recipe for disaster and you may get trampled by a stampede of antsy customers. Also, don’t fight over the last item; unless you can snag the last of an item unscathed and without conflict, it’s not worth the trouble to fight another customer over the last item (they clearly want it more than you). Be careful of distracted/frantic drivers; look where you’re going and be extra cautious in parking lots. And lastly, place your purchases out of sight when storing them in your car during shopping; the last thing you want is to have your items stolen after a long day of spending money.

12. Buy Holiday Must-haves Soon

If you need a certain something by the December holidays, whether it be decor, entertaining supplies, kitchen appliances, or holiday gifts, buy them now if they are available. There is no reason to wait, and buying them early will ensure that you get them before they sell out, and are delivered in time just in case there are complications with store supply chains due to high demand. It could also give you extra savings being around black Friday, so you don’t fall victim to more holiday price inflations and slight deductions to pull customers; you can get them at their lowest price on black Friday to avoid this.


Now, here’s a list of apps and extensions to help you have your most successful Cyber Week yet!!  From price matching, list-making, coupon saving, and more, these tech hacks will help you navigate the holiday shopping season with ease.

  • Store apps: Retailers have been adding more and more incentives for shoppers to download their apps. You may get exclusive deals just for app users, or if not, you have much more access and ease of shopping using features like member profiles, wishlists, and price notifications.
  • Honey: Honey is a free browser extension that searches for some of the best deals on the internet. One-click and Honey automatically searches for and tests available coupon codes at checkout on 30,000+ popular sites. Honey can even search for better prices on Amazon, and other big-box retailers that carry multiple brands. Honey will also let you see the price history of the item in a chart, so you can see if something’s price was raised in the past before it was dropped, and avoid falling for black Friday sale schemes. On the other hand, it will also tell you if the item is the lowest price it’s been in a certain amount of time and if it’s a good time to buy, so you can anticipate price changes.
  • Capital One Shopping: Capital One Shopping is a free service that helps you save money when you shop online by finding the best online prices.
  • ShopSavvy: ShopSavvy is a barcode and QR code scanner that makes it easy to compare deals at different retailers when shopping in person. Don’t hit the stores on Black Friday without it.
  • Flipp. Flipp aggregates flyers and coupons from hundreds of retailers. It lets you upload personalized shopping lists too – perfect for Black Friday. Upload your retail loyalty cards to earn points or rebates on Black Friday buys.
  • Karma: Karma‘s chrome extension can help you shop smarter and save you both time and money, automatically. Plan your next purchases and easily save your favorite items for later from thousands of stores, so you can purchase them when you’re ready. Karma also allows you to set alerts when for certain price changes on items that you are watching, and even can text or email you when something is back in stock in your specific size/desired color!


Finally, here is a list of some quick links to the best Black Friday deals, categorized into sections. (Most are happening now!)

Most of these deals are even early access and some will drop further on actual Black Friday!




– Save 30 percent on Ring Video Doorbell Wired, plus get a free Echo Dot

– Apple iMac with Retina 4K display: $999 (save $500)


Amazon Beauty: 

  • Save 40% or more on shampoos and conditioners from Matrix, Pureology, and more
  • Save up to 35% on makeup from Maybelline, NYX, L’Oreal Paris, and more
  • Save up to 35% on hair care from American Crew, Old Spice, and more
  • Save up to 40% on self-care appliances
  • Save 40% or more on hair appliances from Revlon, T3, and more

Macy’s: Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette: $27 (50% off)

Dyson Airwrap Complete Styler (refurbished): $549.99 $449.97 at Nordstrom Rack

Stores that have it ALL:


That’s all for my ultimate Black Friday Guide! Make sure to keep up with @rcrockmedia on Instagram for more holiday news, information, and stories!

Happy Shopping!