Black Friday and Cyber Monday kinda snuck up on us this year, no?
Personally, I tend to avoid the in-person shopping insanity over the next few days at all costs. Reason being, I’ve found that I can usually find better deals and steals online (and with free shipping, right to my door).
So join me this week — stay in your sweats, sit on the couch and grab a cup of coffee (or, you know, a glass of wine depending on the time of day). Best way to shop, no?
Here is my advice on how to get the very best deals online and ultimately make the most of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
10 tips for a successful Black Friday/Cyber Monday:
1. First and foremost, plan to start early. Most online sales start way earlier than those in-stores — like, on Thanksgiving Day (or that night). Some have even already started, which we’ll discuss in more detail, below.
2. Write down your game plan. Seriously — it helps. Create a basic blueprint of who, what and where: Who you’re shopping for, what you need and where you’re buying it. Know what you need so that you don’t purchase every sale item you see, as holiday shopping can be an anxiety-inducing burden on personal finances. (Trust me, I know — building these holiday shopping posts has been the biggest occupational hazard on me and my wallet. But I did score the boots I’ve been wanting at 33% off!)
3. Shop with multi-brand or multi-option retailers to save on shipping costs. Retailers like Nordstrom and Amazon carry everything from clothing to cell phone accessories, so start with these online department store-types in order to check your parents, friends, clients and colleagues off your list in one quick swoop. (My gift guides for each of these groups will be up starting this week!)
4. Be strategic. Think about items that never go on sale, like designer handbags, sunglasses, home decor, winter coats and beauty products.
Nordstrom’s designer section is already marked down up to 40% off, including Charlotte Olympia heels, rag & bone skinny jeans, handbags from 3.1 Phillip Lim and more. I finally bought rag & bone’s Harrow booties — I’ve been eyeing them for years, but my size has always been sold out. (Told you — occupational hazard!)
Here’s a few of my favorite sale picks from Nordstrom happening now
(most of which are designer shoes and handbags at 40% off):
5. Research products, not just prices. If you find something you really like, Google the full name of the product (i.e. “rag & bone Harrow bootie in Asphalt Waxy”) to see if it’s listed on any other websites at a steeper discount. But before you purchase, make sure you…
6. Factor in shipping costs and return policies. Nordstrom, Zappos and Shopbop all have outstanding customer service and fast, free shipping options. Lots of retailers (like Target, Nordstrom and Macy’s, to name a few) offer ship-to-store options, too, which are usually free.
7. Think big. Don’t forget about big-ticket items, like kitchen appliances, home decor and — yes, even furniture. Everything on West Elm is already up to 25% off, for example — even clearance items. (I used the opportunity to score this awesome end table for my living room!)
Even travel items and luggage — brands like TUMI are discounted up to 25% off on Nordstrom this week. Beyond these additional discounts, a lot of retailers will offer free shipping and returns, so don’t think twice about taking that gorgeous bar cart or the investment piece you’ve been saving up for (like that hotel-quality duvet and cover, yaaaas)!
Here’s a few of my favorite splurge-worthy pieces
(available at a steep discount):
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS
8. Be a social butterfly. Follow the brands and stores you’re planning to shop at on social media — you’ll want to stay in the know about all of their holiday sales/plans. (And while you’re at it, I’ll be posting about my favorite deals/sales on Facebook and Twitter, too.)
9. Don’t forget about newsletters. Signing up for newsletters can be a huge timesaver, too. You won’t have to create an account when you go to purchase something, and often times this is the first announcement of when a store’s sale is starting. (Or when they’re offering surprise sales in the future.)
10. Use LIKEtoKNOW.it. You know those hashtags on some Instagram photos that say “#LIKETKIT?” LiketoKNOW.it is a great discovery resource on Instagram during the holidays (and beyond). When you sign up for LIKEtoKNOW.it, you can “like” any photo on Instagram that’s tagged with #LIKETKIT and the links to each item in the photo will be e-mailed straight to your inbox — here’s an example.
Signing up is a one-and-done deal, and you can pick the frequency at which you receive e-mails from them. (I have mine set to daily.)
My Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) shopping strategy usually entails cold-weather outfits, gifts for my family and entertaining must-haves. In particular, this year I’m focusing on…
Technology: I want a GoPro HERO4 camera for videos, as well as as some upgraded equipment for my Canon T3i camera. (If you’re a GoPro rookie — like I am — I’d suggest investing in something like the starter bundle. You’ll save and get everything you need in one quick swoop.)
Beauty & skincare: I already know what beauty products I can’t live without (NARS lip pencils, for one!), so if they’re on sale, I’m going to take advantage. Same with some of my favorite skincare products — like Philosophy face wash sets and SK-II face masks.
Interiors/home: I’ve got a serious “interiors” bug, but that’s because I am still working on finishing my apartment. Now, to find the perfect lamp for my new gold-and-glass end table…
Gifts: The next two weeks is when I usually do most of my holiday shopping — for my sisters, friends and family. I’ve got more in-depth gift guides to share with you, so check back. For the most part, I stick with multi-brand retailers (like the stores I mentioned above), but I also check out specialty shops for specific items. BaubleBar is always my go-to for fun and personalized jewelry.
Luxury items: Once I’m done shopping for my family/the people on my list, I’ll check out specialty websites for designers like Tory Burch. You know, just in case… (Tory’s already having a sale — get 30% off your purchase of $250!)
Happy shopping, my friends… Godspeed!
There will be lots of inspiring seasonal content around here over the next two months, where I’ll be visually highlighting advice and inspiration to make this your best holiday season yet.
I’m here for you all holiday long as a resource, so comment, tweet or snap me (‘coralsncognacs’) with your questions and comments. Happy Thanksgiving!