7 Doorbuster-Free Ways to Save Big on Black Friday

Deal Gurus' Tips: 7 Doorbuster-Free Ways to Save on Black Friday
Deal Gurus' Tips: 7 Doorbuster-Free Ways to Save on Black Friday

Black Friday, the Super Bowl of the holiday shopping season, is upon us.

But you don't need to strap on a helmet and shoulder pads to get the best deals on holiday merchandise. Here's a pared down--and doorbuster free--list of simple ways to save during the weekend shopping blitz.

1. Swipe and Save

Tap savings-friendly credit cards this Black Friday.

The big credit card issuers, such as Citibank and American Express, are offering holiday perks "above and beyond all other discounts, so you're essentially getting multiple discounts," says Brad Wilson, CEO of BradsDeals.com, a coupon web site that monitors retailers' promotional strategies year-round. "It's another entire layer of savings," he says -- providing you can pay it off.

American Express (AXP), for one, is participating in Small Business Saturday, offering card holders a $25 credit when they shop at participating stores the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Check out CardHub.com for a list of its picks for the credit cards that will help you save the most during your holiday shopping.

2. Maximize Free Shipping, Return Policies

It sounds deceptively simple, but set your sights on retailers with free shipping and return policies: Ultimately, that can save you a bundle. "A lot of retailers will be offering free shipping as a promotion," says Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber.com, the price comparison and online shopping site. Freeshipping.org offers a roundup of the shipping policies and free shipping promotional codes at the nation's big retail chains.

If you plan to ship a boatload of gifts this season, you might want to skip Black Friday altogether and wait until Free Shipping Day on Dec. 16, the one-day event when more than 1,200 retailers offer free shipping on online orders and the promise of delivery by Dec. 24.

3. Tap Group Buying Sites for Big Chain Deals

Daily deal sites have largely offered discounts to small, local merchants. But this Black Friday, look to snatch up more 50%-off deals from the big national chains on sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Restaurant.com, Jones says.

You can also tap sites like CouponTrade.com, an online marketplace where consumers can buy daily deals -- and sell unwanted ones.

4. Remember Coupons

The advent of digital coupons has eliminated the drudgery of clipping them out of countless store circulars -- so there's no good reason to miss out on those savings, says Andrea Woroch, consumer and money saving expert.

Sponsored Links

"Shoppers can sweeten Black Friday deals by an additional 10% to 20% off by using coupons for both online and in-store purchases," she says. So before you shop, scour store coupons on sites like Bradsdeals.com, Retailmenot.com and CouponSherpa.com to boost your savings.

5. Price Compare

These days, you can easily make sure the price is right. Tap price comparison sites like PriceGrabber.com and BizRate.com, where shoppers can type in a product name and find a store with the lowest price on the item.

6. Shop Online Tax-Free -- for Perhaps the Final Season

Congress is mulling the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act, a law that will force online retailers to collect state sales taxes from consumers. "This may well be the last Black Friday where you'll save 1% to 10% -- depending on jurisdiction -- just by choosing an online store that doesn't charge sales tax for shipments to your state," says Dan de Grandpre, CEO and editor in chief of Dealnews.com. "Take advantage of it."

7. Stick With the Cheap Stuff

Black Friday is about "cheap merchandise at cheap prices," says de Grandpre, so expect the best deals on lower-end products. "Luxury brands don't usually participate in Black Friday," he says.

You won't find big bargains on high-end electronics like centerpiece TVs and loaded laptops, either. For those, you'll have to wait until Cyber Monday.