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Queen of Free: Winning Black Friday

The sales holiday can be a great time for Christmas shopping. But it can also mean big trouble for your budget.

INDIANAPOLIS — Holiday sales can be a great time to do your Christmas shopping, but they can mean big trouble for your budget. Even if you don’t overspend, Cherie Lowe, the Queen of Free, said you can waste valuable time on "endless clicking and rabbit holes or wandering stores aimlessly." 

She shared some of her Black Friday strategies on 13Sunrise and in her blog.

Know what you’re looking for

By shopping with a plan, you should know going in how much you can spend and who you’re shopping for on your list and their sizes and preferences. By checking the ads, you will know what's on sale. Retailers even post the specific aisles and locations of doorbusters on their apps to help you focus on the aisles you want, and avoid wandering down crowded aisles where you will waste time. You'll be happier at the end of the day.

Take a friend

If you’re shopping in person and not from the couch, Cherie recommends a "wingman" who should be just as excited about Black Friday as you are. Sharing your lists and budgets in advance. Then, once you are in the store, one of you can park and guard the cart while the other "darts in and out snagging the deals." You can stake out a place in line while the other finishes last-minute shopping.

Look for the unusual

Realize that almost every retailer – both online and in stores – will be dropping everything from prices to shipping costs over the next week. From store coupons that cover any item to increased rewards on purchases, even your everyday necessities will likely be at their lowest cost of the year around Black Friday. So be ready to pounce. Big-screen TVs and hot toys take center stage, but everyday items like towels, sheets, small appliances, underwear, pajamas, and even vacuums all hit yearly lows on Black Friday. While you may need to buy gifts, watch for deals for you, too.

Track your spending

It’s easy to see savings and go overboard. 

"And, while Christmas is a time to be generous," Cherie advised that, "you still want to pay your bills in January."

Try using cash because when it’s gone, it’s gone. If carrying cash feels unsafe or stores have gone to contactless sales, Santa’s Bag is a free app that helps you track your gift list, budget, and spending. 

Double-check shipping dates

We’ve all heard rumblings for months about logistics problems and shipping delays this holiday season. When you order anything online, you need to check and then double-check the date of arrival, then just add 3-5 extra days for delays. If it’s questionable whether a gift will arrive on time, think about skipping it.

Watch Cherie's full 13Sunrise segment in the video player.