Black Friday: a day where items are drastically cheaper than any other time of the year.
Arbitrage: profiting off of the differences in the price of an item.
Together, Black Friday Arbitrage is the process of buying items from Black Friday sales to resell to holiday shoppers at a higher price, making a profit for yourself.
This concept is something I’ve been doing myself for years, and I really think this simple idea will help a lot of people to make ends meet during the holiday seasons. You can go as big, or as small, as you want. You can make $50 or $500 (or more honestly) from utilizing this concept, and all of that is cash in your pocket.
Let me explain, give some examples, and even show you what my plan is for Black Friday 2021 when that time comes. Oh, and later I’ll show you how to replicate this year round.
What is Black Friday Arbitrage?
Black Friday arbitrage is a way to make money by buying deeply discounted items on Black Friday then selling them to eager holiday shoppers for a profit.
This doesn’t just work on Black Friday either. It could also be called Cyber Monday arbitrage, or even Black Friday week arbitrage. A lot of sales online are sometimes as good as those you have to wait in line to get, and so the same principles apply.
This works so well because you can get items at great prices, and then quickly sell them to all of the eager holiday shoppers that will gladly pay slightly below retail price.
This is true more than ever for the 2021 Christmas season.
Many people aren’t willing to go sit in line, or wait for a sale to go live online. And with shortages everywhere, even finding certain items is a hassle. That’s where you come in.
This is especially great if you are already going out on Black Friday. Instead of just buying gifts for yourself, now you can make some money at the same time.
It’s a super simple process, and it goes something like this:
- Study the best of the best deals. You’ll want to make sure you can get multiples, otherwise you might limit yourself to small profits (which is totally fine, too!). Also – make sure it is a popular item, otherwise you might have issues trying to resell it.
- Figure out the biggest potential deals. This usually means finding items you can make $50+ on per item, and you can buy at least 2+. Side note: a little hack I use every year is going to stores that are not the “go-to” stores. For example, so many people stand in line at Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc. This reduces your odds of getting anything unless you are in the front of the line. Instead, go to stores in less demand, like Gamestop.
- Go get in line / be ready for the sale to go live (if it’s online). If you want to increase your odds of getting your items, try showing up as early as possible – if you show up too late, you might miss out.
- After purchasing your items, list them. It’s that simple. Right now, my favorite place to list my items is on the Facebook marketplace. It’s extremely popular, and you can usually sell popular items around the holidays within days (if not the same day).
- Profit! Enjoy your profits, save your money, or buy more gifts. The purpose is to make your holidays easier, more possible, and more joyful. That’s why I think this simple idea of Black Friday arbitrage can really help peoples out during the financially stressful holidays.
Let’s see a live example of how it works by looking at what I did one year…
A Previous Black Friday: What I Did
I want to set you up for success. To do that, I want to share with you what I did in a previous year, and how much I made. Hopefully then, you really get an idea of how to make this all work successfully for yourself.
Before I start, I bring up the only potential downfall to this arbitrage opportunity: you might “take” items that others in line behind you wanted. I get this, and so I personally don’t go overboard and buy everything (especially when there are no limits). The idea isn’t to replace your income for the entire year, but rather just give you an extra boost. However, I see no problem picking up multiples (or even a few) extras of an item to resell. I see people buying multiple items all of the time, and so unless you buy all of them, I don’t see an issue with it! Even then, I wouldn’t judge you if you decide to secure them all either.
Now, here’s what I did for a previous Black Friday.
For starters, I studied all of the Black Friday ads. From Walmart to Target to Best Buy to Gamestop. From my experience, I have the best luck actually getting something from Gamestop. It’s my go-to at this point, although that could always change.
The lines aren’t that long, and you can show up just an hour early and still be near the front of the line.
In addition to this realization about Gamestop, there was also an amazing deal I wanted for myself: a PS4.
This Black Friday deal was for a PS4 was $200, along with a “free” $50 gift card (which I sold for near retail price, too). Meaning, the PS4 really came out to just $150, half of the retail price of $300! This was an incredible deal, and they didn’t have a limit of just one, allowing me to pick up two (or more if you wanted) to sell for an easy $100 profit, per PS4.
Take note of a few things: the deal is incredibly steep, meaning you can resell the item(s) for a decent profit ($100 per PS4, in this case). Secondly, there weren’t any low limits – meaning we could easily buy two, three, or more, PS4s. Lastly, it was a deal I wanted myself – making the trip multi-purpose.
That is the mix you want. A great, profitable item with a good margin. No low limits (or any limit at all). And something you want yourself (or another deal from the same store).
Get those right, the first two, and you can probably already see how easy it is to make $100, $200, $300, or more on Black Friday alone.
Just make sure it’s an actually good deal. If the deal is at least 25% off the going retail price, that’s a pretty good deal to make some money on. In this case with the PS4, however, it was at a much more ideal profit margin of 50%.
Tip: If you aren’t going out just to make some extra money, go to a place where they have deals you want too. This way, you can have the best of both worth’s: great deals for yourself while also making some money. It’s a win-win, and that’s why I love this arbitrage opportunity: we don’t have to go out of our way to take advantage of it. In fact, if we are already out, in line, we might as well pick some extras up to resell for a profit.
All in all, I made $300 on just 3 items for myself after I sold the PS4s and the gift cards, not a bad gig for a couple hours of my time (if that). Best of all? They sold so fast, literally within 72 hours they were gone!
So.. What’s my plan for this year?
The Plan for Black Friday 2021 (feel free to copy)
Previously, it was Gamestop. 50% profit, multiple items, hundreds of dollars in profit.
That’s great and all, but it’s not useful for you now.
So, what’s the plan for this year?
Honestly, I’m not sure yet. Not all of the Black Friday ads are out yet, and so I’m still watching. But, I’ll come back and update this as soon as I know – so you can copy me entirely if you want. I want you to make some money, and so I’m happy to share it with you.
Be sure to come back to see what my plan is leading up to Black Friday & Cyber Monday. It’ll be up a few days before Black Friday 2021 so you too, have time to plan! And if you come up with your own plan before me, let me know with a comment below – I might just use your plan and will have to give you credit. 🙂
This Isn’t Just for the “Traditional” Black Friday
Deals extend far and wide these days with the internet, with Cyber Monday and even Black Friday deals coming online, we are even starting to see the entire week be full of amazing deals. You could call it Cyber Monday arbitrage or even online Black Friday arbitrage, it all follows the same general idea that we’ve talked about.
So – watch for all those online deals too. This is where you can really ramp up this idea and make some serious money. There are far too many deals online for me to go over here, but the same principles apply: buy items that’ll give you a good margin and are in demand to resell for a profit.
I’ll also update this section if I find an opportunity online that is lucrative so you can take advantage of it, too.
Save The Date
As of writing this, I don’t where I’m going or what deals I’m getting – but I do know I will be getting something. The opportunity is always too ripe not to.
I’ll also be updating this in the days after Black Friday & Cyber Monday pass with an update as to what happened, how much I made, and a secret I have on how to replicate this, year round (for now though, it’s a secret!).
Until then, I’d love to hear from you! Is this simple, yet effective, idea of Black Friday arbitrage going to help you make ends meet this holiday season? Are you going to try to go BIG and make $1,000? Whatever your plan, I’d love to hear in the comments – I read them all!
Dustyn FergusonDustyn is a personal finance aficionado and the founder of Dime Will Tell where he writes about the experiences he's had with saving money, being debt-free, and building side hustles. He's been featured as an expert resource in publications like Huffington Post, Go Banking Rates, & Reader's Digest.
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