4 ways to score the best Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) deals

If you’re going to get up before sunrise—or, heck, hop in a doorbuster line the night before—you might as well iron out your Black Friday shopping strategy ahead of time. That’s why we rounded up the best day-after-Thanksgiving shopping tips from actual insiders, with a single goal in mind: To help you get the most bang for your Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) buck.

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Prep Your Cart the Night Before

You’ve made your list, checked it twice…and by the time you get online everything you want is already sold out. Try this trick: The night before Black Friday (or Cyber Monday), load your online shopping cart with the merch you plan to buy, and leave the tabs open. Then, the second the clock strikes midnight (or after you’ve had your AM cup of joe), open up your laptop again and click “buy.” Thanks to cookies, the items in your cart should stay intact, but with Black Friday savings now ready to be applied.

Map Out (and Save) an Itinerary

The Dyson vac that’s slated to be half off? Check. The Samsung Frame that’s been on your list since 2017? Check. If you know the exact doorbusters you’re after, it’s all about mapping them out so you don’t waste any unnecessary time between lines. The “My Maps” feature in Google Maps allows you to do just that: Create a map, measure distance, add stopping points (like coffee or bathroom breaks) and save it to your phone, so you can pull up your game plan and stick to it.

Use Social Media to Score Last Minute Savings

When it comes to day-of deals, the best way to stay up to speed is to subscribe to a brand’s newsletter, Instagram account or Facebook page, where they tend to announce savings opportunities first. In fact, while you wait in line, do a quick Google search to make sure you got the best Black Friday deal. Just plug in “brand name” and “promo code” and all the savings opps should pop right up. (And if you do find a discount better than the one being offered by the retailer you’re shopping, ask about price matching.)

Set—and Actually Stick To—a Budget

The thrill of the chase—and the hoards of elbow-throwing strangers—can get the best of all of us. (FYI, retailers bank on shoppers spending beyond the Black Friday deal, per The Washington Post.) So, in addition to making a shopping list ahead of time, try to nail down a budget, and actually stick to it. Because tapping into that inner willpower is one of the best ways to save.

RELATED: Heads Up, a Bunch of Stores Won’t Be Open This Thanksgiving for Early Black Friday Deals

See last year's craziness below!