Managing your money

5 Tips for maximizing Black Friday deals

8 min read

Ayaz Virani

We all want to be like Ariana Grande when she says “I want it, I got it” but for the vast majority of us, that can be a dangerous game to play. Considering that most Canadians expect to overspend during the holidays (which really kicks off November 27th with Black Friday), spending beyond our means is a little more than likely. We totally get it though. How often does the price tag you’ve dreamt of for an ultra-HD flat screen TV manifest itself? That’s what Black Friday is all about!

We’re here to tell you not to worry. The key to getting what you want without breaking the bank is having a tight plan in place ahead of the big day. That way you’ll get the deals you want, stay on budget, and ensure financial safety in the process. Basically, you’ll come out of Black Friday winning with, if executed well, a little more left in your pocket than you thought. Interested? Keep reading.

1. Know your budget and tap the right card

You may be wondering, “How can I come out of Black Friday not totally broke?” Well the answer is ensuring you do two crucial things: set a budget, and use the right card for your purchases.

Although we know sticking to a budget doesn’t sound sexy (especially after the year we’ve had) we can assure you that few things are as tantalizing as feeling fiscally responsible coming out of the most wonderful time of the year. So step 1 is picking a budget and sticking to it.

What’s the best way to ensure you don’t go over budget? Glad you asked. Since you’re currently reading this on our blog, the answer is pretty obvious: use your KOHO prepaid Visa card! When you use your KOHO card to shop, it’s impossible to go over budget. You can only spend what you have in your Spendable account. Bonus: we don’t charge overdraft or NSF fees. So in the event you get down to the final penny and receive a “transaction declined” message from the payment terminal, all you’ll get from us is a friendly reminder to load up your balance.

Step 2 is all about ensuring you’re using the right card to maximize what you get in return for your hard earned money. Some people prefer points, but we’re in the business of cold hard cash back. With a free KOHO account you’ll earn 0.5% cash back on every single purchase you make. If within your list you’ve written, “wine, turkey, Keg mansion gift card, and Uber gift card” then we’d recommend you get on KOHO Premium.

With Premium you earn 2% cash back on 3 very important spending categories: eating and drinking, groceries, and transportation. It’s $9/month or $84/year, but most of our users report receiving way more than that returned in cash back. Plus, you can try it free for 30 days, so what better time to give Premium a go than when we’re all spending dollars to spoil our loved ones?

"When you use your KOHO card to shop, it’s impossible to go over budget."

2. Do your research and pick the right retailer

Some people prefer to hit the mall and see what they can find on Black Friday, but given this year’s Black Friday is running concurrently with COVID-19, we’re all for getting ahead of the crowds! Many retailers will start announcing their Black Friday deals ahead of the coveted day, so doing your research early on who has what you want, and for what price, is essential to staying on point with your budget. In addition, we have a sweet program called Partner PowerUps with some of Canada’s best brands who offer KOHO users additional (on top of your 0.5%) cash back for choosing to shop with them. Luckily, our favourite Partner PowerUps also happen to be among Canada’s favourite retailers during Black Friday and the holidays!

These partners and their cash back perks include: Hudson’s Bay Company (extra 2% cash back), Indigo (2% for November, 1% all year round), Oxford Gift Card Plus (4%), and Altitude Sports (4%). Basically almost anything you could imagine buying, using your KOHO card to shop this Black Friday could also mean a good chunk of change coming back your way.

Pro tip: Oxford owns some of the most prominent malls across the country, so if you’re planning on specifically hitting the mall for Black Friday, be sure to see if your mall is Oxford owned. That way you can buy an Oxford gift card with your predetermined budget ahead of time, and earn 4% cash back before the shopping even begins.

3. Price matching ain’t just for the grocery store

You know that feeling when you buy something you were super excited about, only to find out it was being sold cheaper elsewhere? And then you have to decide if it’s worth your time and effort to go back to where you bought it, try and get a price match refund, or just return it and go buy it at the cheaper option... yeah not anymore with KOHO Premium.

When you’re subscribed to KOHO Premium (or on your free trial for all you new folks), in addition to the extra cash back on the 3 categories your wallet cares most about, we offer a feature called Price Match. As we’ve already said, do your due diligence ahead of time, then shop to your heart’s desire on Black Friday. In the days following, scroll your transactions list in the KOHO app and look for the magnifying glass icon (🔍) beside any purchase. If you spot it beside any of your transactions, it means it is eligible to be price matched!

Send a picture of the receipt through the in-app camera or forward your email receipts to pricematch@koho.ca for purchases made using your KOHO card. If we find a deal you missed, we will either get your card automatically credited or we will give you instructions on how to get the price match. If we don't then you know you got the best price when you made your purchase! (Here are the instructions and the list of all participating merchants in our Price Match program, if you really wanna maximize your savings.)

4. Prefer to buy online? Shop securely with a Virtual Card

If you’re not a fan of malls, regardless if it’s due to the global pandemic or not, we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where the items you purchase can come right to your doorstep. The most important thing while online shopping is ensuring that you’re protecting your identity and money in the process. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when shopping online.

First, ensure the site you’re shopping on is secure. You can check this by looking for a padlock in front of the beginning of the URL. You’ll also want to look at the URL itself and make sure it begins with ‘https://’ — the ‘s’ stands for secure. These are key to ensuring digital safety, because they mean the information you provide is encrypted. Don’t worry about the technical details of this, just be sure before you enter your payment information that both these items are present in the URL.

Secondly, and here’s where we come in, use a Virtual Card! A Virtual Card is a card number that’s different from your Physical Card number, but tied to the same account. This adds an extra level of security by not providing merchants and payment processors with your primary card number, but instead a different card number to use exclusively for online purchases. We recommend always using your virtual card when online shopping to protect your funds from fraudsters looking to grinch you out of your money.

As soon as you sign up for a KOHO account, we instantly provide you with a Virtual Card number that you can use to start immediately shopping online, or in person by adding it to your Apple Pay or Google Pay wallet. Although KOHO works like a chequing account, we run on the Visa network; anywhere in the world you can use Visa, you can use your KOHO card.

So if you’re new to the KOHO life and eager to start spending, don’t worry about your Physical Card arriving in the mail, you’ve already got a secure option on hand to start pouncing on those Black Friday deals.

"The most important thing while online shopping is ensuring that you’re protecting your identity and money in the process."

5. Consider waiting for Cyber Monday

To continue on for those of you who prefer to skip the mall entirely and shop online, Black Friday really doesn’t have to be a one day scramble anymore. Cyber Monday, which falls on the Monday following Black Friday (November 30th this year), usually has the same deals as Black Friday, but with the bonus of free shipping.

You’ll still have to follow all the steps above to ensure you’re maximizing your benefits and security on this second holy shopping day, but if on Black Friday you’re not 100% sold on an item, sleep on it. Specifically, sleep on it for 3 nights, because the following Monday you could either see a better deal, or at least get free shipping.

Not sure if Black Friday or Cyber Monday is the better day to shop? As a general rule, Black Friday is usually better for newer, big-ticket items. Cyber Monday, on the other hand, is typically better for tech deals and smaller items, with some additional online offers to help protect your wallet (because that’s what this is really all about).

Ready, set, go…shopping!

Now that you’ve got these tips and tricks to maximize your Black Friday extravaganza, you’re ready to start planning your strategy for the big day. At the very least, as long as you remember to stay on budget, and maximize your rewards (you already know our preference is cold hard cash back), you’ll be smiling at everything you got for your loved ones. Oh, and be sure to get yourself a little something as well. After all, it’s been one heck of a year, you deserve it.

Lastly, as you’re loving how helpful your KOHO prepaid Visa card and app has been throughout this, refer some friends! Not only will both you and your referrer receive an extra 1% cash back for 90 days, you’ll also be entered into our Referral Contest. We’re giving away 10 KOHO Metal Cards, and one grand prize of $5,000 cash.

Please stay safe, respect your budget, and wear a mask on Black Friday folks. Now sleigh away!

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The KOHO Visa* Prepaid card is issued by Peoples Trust Company pursuant to license by Visa Int. *Trademark of Visa Int., used under license. **These services are provided by Service Providers, including Visa, Peoples Trust Company and Galileo Processing. Learn more about your finances with Visa Practical Money Skills.