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The best Black Friday money-saving tips from Android Authority staff members
The holiday shopping season is officially upon us! Get ready for an onslaught of deals on all manners of tech. While the sheer number of deals will probably be overwhelming, they won’t be as overwhelming as the stress you’ll likely feel in trying to afford everything you want to get. But don’t worry! We’re here to give you some money-saving tips.
However, a lot of articles dishing out holiday shopping advice are pretty generic. We thought we’d make things a bit more personal by bringing in tips and tricks that we personally use. Here, we’ve compiled the best suggestions from staff members at Android Authority. These aren’t tips we created on a whiteboard because they sounded like they made sense. These are money-saving tips we all personally use regularly, but especially during the Black Friday rush.
Hopefully, you’ll find some of these tips as helpful as we’ve found them to be.
Purposefully abandon your cart
Writer Mark O’Neill and Senior Audience Engagement Manager John Dye like to make a store’s abandoned cart system work on their behalf. If there are items they know they want (but aren’t in a rush to get), they will go through all the motions to get them. They’ll sign up for an account, put items in their cart, and go through the checkout process — but then stop right before clicking “Pay Now.”
“Many of these companies have ‘re-engagement’ or ‘recapture’ campaigns that offer discounts to encourage you to complete your purchase,” Dye explains. By not completing a purchase, your cart triggers this system, which will then automatically send you a nudge to buy, usually along with some sort of discount.
Abandoning your cart and waiting a few days could get you some nifty discount codes.
“I recently got 25% off an order of winter clothing this way, on top of existing discounts,” Dye said. O’Neill, meanwhile, says he regularly gets 10, 15, or sometimes even 20% off coupons with this money-saving tip.
Unfortunately, this won’t work with all retailers. O’Neill notes that Amazon, for example, doesn’t have a cart recapture system that we’ve seen. But it’s worth a shot if you’re buying items from other retailers!
Let Amazon’s algorithm work for you
Jonathan Feist — an Android Authority contributor and Executive Editor of our sister site Drone Rush — knows how to bide his time while shopping. First, he does some research to determine what would be the best product for his needs. He then adds that item to his Amazon cart but doesn’t check out.
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Unlike John Dye and Mark O’Neill, Feist isn’t doing this in the hopes of getting a discount code. Instead, he’s letting Amazon’s suggestion algorithms do all the work for finding cheaper alternatives to the items in his cart. “With that product in your cart for a day or two, Amazon will start bombarding you with alternative product recommendations,” Feist explains. “Perhaps you’ll find an adequate alternative.”
Even if you don’t find a good alternative product, you’ll be able to easily monitor the price of the item in your cart. Perhaps it will go on sale and you’ll be able to snatch it at a discounted price.
Don’t forget about the megastars of yesteryear
Kaitlyn Cimino is a senior writer focused on wearables at Android Authority. She doesn’t fret too much over discounts and instead focuses on dropped prices for older tech. It’s not uncommon for major devices from last year to be just as good as this year’s — if not better.
“Plenty of flagship devices hardly differ from their previous generations and, in some cases, are actually a downgrade (looking at you Fitbit Sense 2),” she says. “Look closely at what last year’s model has to offer and determine if it’s worth saving cash.”
Joe Hindy, our Apps Editor, couldn’t agree more. “Companies always need to move product to make room for new product, and exploiting that need has been one of the biggest weapons consumers have against high prices,” he says.
However, while these are great money-saving tips, they might not always be the best move, especially if the device you’re after is quite old. “Keep an eye on software support,” Kaitlyn warns. “Companies like Apple and Garmin roll back features regularly, but not every platform operates the same.”
eBay should be your best friend
C. Scott Brown is an editor at Android Authority. Recently, he wrote about how the Pixel 7 Pro would be the first Pixel phone he would buy with his own money. He did eventually get the phone, and when he did, he went straight to eBay.
“A lot of people still think of eBay as an auction site, which might turn them off because it sounds complicated,” he explains. “But eBay is filled with small businesses and individuals who don’t care about making much profit and will sell even brand new devices at insanely low prices.”
eBay isn't just an auction site. It should be your first destination for high-ticket items.
Scott says he was able to nab a brand new unlocked 128GB Pixel 7 Pro in the Obsidian color for just $700, a full $200 off the list price. He got this deal only a week after the phone launched and didn’t need to trade anything in. “I think the guy got the phone for a crazy discount somehow, maybe through some trade-in deal,” Scott says. “He turned around and sold it on eBay and, even with the lowered price, still probably made a good profit. It’s a situation where everyone wins.”
Whenever he makes a big purchase, Scott goes straight to eBay. “It’s my first destination for anything over $100,” he says.
Beware of the garbage deals
We all have heard stories of businesses raising prices one week and then “discounting” those prices the next week to make it seem like a great deal. As much as we hate to admit it, this is a very common practice.
Executive Editor Kris Carlon uses the popular CamelCamelCamel tool to spot these fakers. CCC tracks the price of specific products at Amazon.com over time. “I think some people would be surprised to see how prices magically increase just before Black Friday on some products only for that increase to become a discount on Black Friday itself,” Kris points out. Don’t be duped by this! Just because a discount looks deep doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good deal.
Jonathan Feist has a similar but different take on this, which is to avoid buying bad products in general. “Black Friday and similar deals events are often when retailers try to clear out the shelves of old stock,” Feist explains. “The very best deals are going to be for older and/or lower-quality products. Resist the urge to purchase inferior products just to save a couple of dollars. Don’t get me wrong, those deals might be perfect for you, but if you are compromising on the product, you’ll just end up unhappy and looking to upgrade later anyway.” In other words, there is sometimes a downside to saving too much money.
Credit cards, crypto, and refunds
Edgar Cervantes, Head of Imaging at Android Authority, takes slightly unorthodox approaches to various ways of saving money while shopping.
“I like using credit cards to get cashback — that’s one way to get a discount on anything,” he says. “Another thing I’ve done is taken advantage of no-interest credit cards. These are very common, especially from Amazon and Best Buy. Say I am buying a $1,000 laptop. Instead of just paying for it, I get the laptop on a 12-month no-interest plan. Then I take that money I would have spent on it and invest it. It’s common to find investments that make 10% on average, annually. At the end of the year, those $1,000 will become $1,100. I can then withdraw the money, pay off the credit card, and still have $100 left over. So that’s pretty much a $100 discount right there.”
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Edgar doesn’t stop there, though. “I also have crypto debit cards, which give you cashback in cryptocurrency. I have actually gotten purchases for nearly free during the bull run.”
He has an example of how this works. “Say I get 4% back in crypto. A 20x profit is relatively normal during a crypto bull run. So I usually get these rewards and hold the crypto until it becomes a good amount (if it does, of course — itt’s a risk). It’s not something you should absolutely rely on, but this has happened to me.”
Finally, another money-saving tip from Edgar relates to after-purchase price drops. “Stores like Best Buy make it easy to get a partial refund on anything if the product goes down in price before the return period is over,” he says. “After buying something, I like keeping it in my saved product list and checking it periodically. If it goes down in price below what I paid, I can contact Best Buy and get the difference in a refund.”
Money-saving tips: Share yours!
These are our best money-saving tips for Black Friday shopping (or just online shopping in general). Do you have tricks you personally use that we didn’t mention here? Share them in the comments below!