5 ways to stay sane, save money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is the official start to the holiday shopping season. But it can also drive you crazy – between spending so much money, battling unruly crowds, and trying to get all your shopping done in time for the December holidays.

Here are five ways to stay sane and save money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Tip #1: Avoid Black Friday crowds by shopping online

Don’t feel like jostling among hoards of shoppers today or searching all over for a parking space? No problem: You can shop from home. Many Black Friday deals are available to shoppers in person or online. Besides, some 40% off deals on Black Friday turn into 50% or 60% off deals on Cyber Monday or later in December.

So do yourself a favor and go to a deals site like DealNews.com to find all your favorite retailers’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads in one place. Deal News also shows leaked ads from a slew of stores, like Kohls, Target, Walmart, and more.

Shopping online from the comfort and convenience of your home saves you time and money – and decreases your holiday stress too.

Tip #2: Buy discounted gift cards online to save up to 50%

Gift cards are huge during the holidays. Lots of us buy gift cards for our friends and family on Cyber Monday and throughout the holidays. But savvy shoppers know to get gift cards online at a big discount.

To get your discounted gift card for nearly anything – restaurants, clothes, travel and more – go to a great website called GiftCardGranny.com. It’s a marketplace that sells gift cards from about 5% to 50% off their face amount. On GiftCardGranny.com, I recently saw 15% off gifts cards for Old Navy, Marshalls and CVS; 25% to 30% off gift cards for Target and H&M; and American Apparel gift cards for 40% to 50% off.

So if you use Gift Card Granny to buy a $100 gift card at 40% off, you pay only $60, but get a $100 gift card that you can use online or in-store for easy, huge savings.

Tip #3: Get extra shopping rewards with the right credit card

If you’re using a credit card to shop online for Cyber Monday or in stores, use a rewards credit card that has freebies like airline miles, hotel discounts or cash back.

Go to CreditCardPerks.com for a list of the best credit card deals to use during the holiday shopping season, including cards with sign-up bonuses worth $500 or more, 0% offers and 0% deals for balance transfers.

Just remember: if you’re using a credit card and not paying cash, only charge what you can afford to pay off quickly – preferably within a month. Don’t go into debt just to do holiday spending. That’ll only lead to stress and a financial hangover in 2017.

Tip #4: Get free online shipping

Don’t just look at the price of the stuff you’re buying on Cyber Monday. Be sure to also check the shipping charges because they can really add up!

Some retailers, like Walmart, offers free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Other retailers, like Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom and Zappos, provide free shipping with no minimum purchase. Depending on how many stores you’re shopping, these kinds of deals can easily save you $20 to $50 in shipping fees alone.

Tip #5: Know the returns policy

For anything you buy on Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) make sure you know the store’s return policy. Do you have to return the merchandise in 7 days, 14 days or 30 days? And what about if you bought something that was a one-day deal or a flash sale; is it returnable at all?

Make sure you know the sales terms for anything you buy – just in case you have a bad case of buyers’ remorse later on.