Black Friday. Cyber Monday. We've called them overrated and our opinions haven't changed. They're mostly schemes to get you to spend money you wouldn't have otherwise. Stores will try to trick you by raising their so-called "original prices". Stores will create FOMO. You can often find better deals in December.

But if you're determined to spend some money this weekend, we've got some practical hacks & tips and special deals we think you'll appreciate!

(1) Get coupons auto-applied at checkout & get cashback or rewards via online shopping.

Swagbucks - Earn points from shopping at partner stores and redeem them as cashback or free gift cards (Amazon, Walmart, etc.). They have a special Black Friday bonanza going on with more points per dollar.

Rakuten Rewards - Gives you up to 40% cashback on online purchases from over 2.5k stores + auto-applies coupons upon checkout. Get a $10 bonus by simply joining now. Also check out their 2x cashback for Black Friday sales!

Wikibuy - Automatically finds best prices + sales as you shop and gives you best coupon codes, all sourced by its 3M+ users.

Cashback Monitor - It's the ultimate cash back portal! Each purchase you make qualifies for only one cashback program, so you want the best bang for your buck. This tracks cashback rates, miles and points across different cash back programs.

(2) Use discounted gift cards to save even more.

Get holiday discounts on an item, and then get even MORE savings by paying with physical or e-gift cards you buy at a discount. Genius! Do that with Raise or Gyft.

(3) Use Facebook Ads library to find those blowout sales from your favorite brands.

Yup, Facebook made brand ads public across FB and Instagram! Search a brand like Lululemon to see the live ads they're running - you may find a special offer you wouldn't have known about otherwise.

(4) Check eBay on Sat. after Black Friday & after Cyber Monday.

People take advantage of the sales to buy discounted items & sell them online for more profit. 🤔 That means there will be an influx of new items acquired from those sales on eBay—which will still be much cheaper! Plus, you get to sleep more—which you'll be grateful for during your finals in a few weeks.

(5) Use the Amazon app to scan barcodes in store & check for cheaper online prices.

If you decide to venture out to the stores, make sure you have the Amazon app so you can easily check items for better deals on Amazon!

(6) Use camelcamelcamel to make sure you're actually getting the best Amazon prices.

This awesome, free tool shows you the pricing history of Amazon items. It even lets you know when the price drops. You might find that the BF/CM sale prices actually aren't the best ones! Get it here, also as an extension.

(7) Get in on Student Universe's Cyber Monday travel deals.

This is for you travelers. Join here to get access to crazy low travel prices (like $200 off flights) and also get entered into a $500 promo code giveaway!

(8) Wait for "Travel Deal Tuesday" on Dec 3.

Yup, this will be the biggest day for travel deals in the post-Thanksgiving shopping period. There are 2x more travel deals here than on BF/CM, with savings up to 40%! Use Hopper to get access to those cheap deals and exclusive cashback deals for select destinations.

(9) Get Apple products on discount (new Airpods anyone?).

You can get an Apple Store gift card of up to $200 on select products between Nov 29 (Fri) to Dec 2 (Mon). Check out the event page. But there are often better deals via third party sites like Newegg.

(10) Get those 3rd tier HDTVs (but not the brand name ones).

Did you know most "doorbuster" TVs on Black Friday are made specifically for that day and of lower quality?! 🤭 If you're just looking to get a relatively affordable but decent HDTV for your dorm room or apartment, it's the best time to get it.

(11) Earn 4x the usual points on brands via Drop.

Earn cash rewards via points by activating your favorite brand offers, connecting your debit/credit cards, and buying from those brands! Starting Fri, you'll get 70 points per $1 spent that can be redeemed in app. Get the free app here.

(12) Auto-track your shopping & gifts spending on Pluto Money, and challenge yourself to save money.

It'll be SO easy to splurge over the coming days. 🤑 We encourage you to think very hard about what you really need and want. Use the Pluto Money app to set up "spend less" challenges for shopping and/or gifts and get your spending auto-tracked! If you come under your spend limit, you can easily set aside those savings into a goal you care about—like that study abroad program or Coachella.

At the end of the day—just make sure to do your research, stick to your plan, and don't let FOMO get to you! That's the best way to save money. 🤷‍