8 Things You Need to Know for Black Friday on a Student Budget

We’re taking a brief break from all our turkey hype to have a conversation about the very important day AFTER Thanksgiving. Turkey day is great and all, but the true American holiday is celebrated with a frenzied rush to the mall at 3 in the morning, amiright?

We get it though, this is college life, meaning early mornings and spending money are two of your least favorite things on the planet. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled our favorite pro-tips for properly celebrating capitalism on a very sleepy budget.

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  1. Divide and Conquer

Shopping with friends is fun, but Black Friday is a serious, take-no-prisoners business. Bring your buds, but split up to cover more area and more deals especially if you’re in a mall. Make a list of specific deals/stores you want to hit (using your handy dandy Black Friday app, discussed below) and split them up over the group. Keep in contact via a group chat in case strategic maneuvers need to be coordinated, and so you can meet up for a well deserved coffee when you’re done.

2. Bring snacks. 

shopping and eating

Depending on how crazy you are, your Black Friday shopping may begin very veeeery early in the morning. You may be able to ride out the morning on all the Thanksgiving calories consumed the night before, but hey, shopping is hard, energy-sapping work. Just to be safe, pick up some Black Friday snacks on Wednesday, including bottled Starbucks iced coffee, packets of Emerald almonds, and bananas. Alternatively, grab a box of Trader Joe’s Peppermint Joe Joe’s because Thanksgiving weekend is not about eating healthy. You’ll thank us when you’re waiting in the mile-long line in front of Apple.

3. Carry cash, not credit

credit card

When on a budget, definitely stick to cash over credit or even your debit card. It’s much easier to overspend with just a quick swipe! Set a budget ahead of time and carry around only that amount of cash…even if it’s only the equivalent value of three Starbucks lattes.

4. Get all the apps 

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If you think mental math is hard in real life, just wait until you’re fighting for breathing room in Target and desperately trying to figure out how much that deluxe Keurig is after a 43% discount. We recommend getting Discount Calculator from mmapps mobile for all your mathematical needs.

If you’re planning on hitting up any big retailers (and we suggest that you do), you should get Retale’s Black Friday Deals & Coupons. They’ve got just about every Black Friday deal on the planet, and will conveniently tell you how far you are from your favorite stores as well as clip their coupons for you. Also, plenty of retailers like Target and Sephora preview their Black Friday deals on their own apps.

6. If you’re in Beantown…


Don’t forget these awesome Black Friday hot spots:

  • Assembly Row: This awesome shopping complex is conveniently located right on the Orange Line and wins points for the sheer number of stores packed into a small area. Just to name a few, Addidas will open at 6 am with $5 soccer balls, and J.Crew will open at 8 am with 50% off everything (seriously, everything!). Also, bonus points for having a Starbucks on the premises (opening at 5 am)
  • The Shops at Prudential: Some incredibly smart person at the Shops at Prudential had the foresight to dictate that its stores will only open at 9am on Black Friday. Thus, there is no need to worry about missing all the deals by sleeping in past 5 am.

7. Skip Black Friday altogether


Blasphemy! Well, no, not quite. We still want you to go shopping. Just wait until Monday, November 30th for Cyber Monday. Practically every medium to large online retailer out there has some crazy deals going on, and you can snag them all from the comfort of your dorm room in your pjs. For some of the best deals, check out:

  • Amazon: As usual, Amazon is planning to take over the internet with the sheer number of deals it’s offering on Cyber Monday. You can actually reserve plenty of products, including heavily discounted tech, before the actual day of.
  • Asos: This clothing retailer is being pretty secretive about its Cyber Monday extravaganza, but it’s starting out with 70% off all Asos Outlet!
  • Dell: If you’re in the market for a new cheap laptop, Dell’s got you covered with PCs around $300 on the 30th
  • Target: They just announced over 60,000 products will be on the Cyber Monday chopping board, with free shipping for all and free gifts included with some!

8. Don’t forget #GivingTuesday! 

charity meme

Tuesday, December 1st is #GivingTuesday, charity’s response to the shopping craze of Thanksgiving weekend. Lots of nonprofits big and small launch fundraising campaigns during the month of November, mostly on social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday, to reach specific goals. When you’re budgeting for Black Friday, consider reserving a small portion of your moolah for an awesome cause.

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