How do we save money on Black Friday? Welcome back to another episode with Melea Johnson of The Melea Show. I hope you listened to the last episode where she shared everything that she has done up until this point to save money, find balance in her family as a wife, a mother, and a business owner.
Don’t cause yourself unneeded stress when you’re having the same Black Friday deals now.
But to give you a recap, Melea attended the University of Utah, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism and founded a blog, Freebies2Deals, in 2009, where she talked all about saving money.
She was able to sell that blog in 2016 and reevaluated her life. Melea then decided she wanted to do things a little bit differently and started a YouTube channel, which she then grew and shared advice on how to save money in the best way possible.
Have a list. So whether I’m at a store or if I’m at home shopping on a computer, I know what’s on purchase for each person and I know what I paid for and then I also know what things I might still be looking for.
And on this episode, we will be talking specifically about what to do on Black Friday, how to save the most money, and how to organize your time with notes and the best tips so that you can have the best holiday possible.
For people who really want to stay on budget, you need to go backward.
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For people who really want to stay on budget, you need to go backwards.
So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing your voice? How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams. We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Welcome back. I hope that you just finished the last episode with Melea from the Melea Show, sharing how she built a money saving business through a blog or a Youtube channel and now sharing things on social media for you to save the most money that you can. Now, Melea is a personal friend of mine and we could have talked forever and ever.
But I wanted to divide up these episodes that you knew this one specifically was about what to do with Black Friday, how to save the most money and how to organize your time with notes and the best tips so that you can have the best holiday possible. Now Melea and I both prescribed to giving less gifts and more adventures and experiences.
So that's part of the episode as well. But to give you a brief recap, Melea attended the University of Utah where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism and founded, founded a blog Freebies2Deals in 2009 and it was all about saving money. That was actually how I first met her where she created this deal blog that became one of the biggest deal blogs in the United States.
She was able to sell that blog in 2016 and she reevaluated, reevaluated her life, decided she wanted to do things a little bit differently and started a Youtube channel, which she then grew and grew and grew and shares weekly, sometimes monthly advice on how to save money the best way possible.
Now, if you want to hear more about how she's been able to create an incredible business and a healthy balance for herself as a business owner and wife and mother, please listen to the last episode. This episode, we're specifically talking about how to save Black, how to save money on Black Friday, which as we know, is starting sooner and sooner and I'm going to be making this life the first week of november so that you can get started early. Let's do this!
Welcome back everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO, I hope you have just listened to the last episode because we're here again with Melea from the Melea show who is an expert about saving you money and also creating a life that you can enjoy by saving money in a way that you can spend it on things that you love.
So Melea, thank you for being here again. We're going into episode two. Last episode was so good all about your life and everything that you've done up until this point to save money and also to find a balance for yourself in your family as a wife, a mother and a business owner and this episode is going to be primarily about how to save money for Black Friday and saving money in a way that gives you freedom to do the things you really want to do. So thank you so much for being here.
Yeah, I'm excited more, more podcast time. Let's do this.
Let's do this. Okay, so obviously Black Friday, getting into deals. It has been a huge passion of yours. That's why you started the blog years and years ago was to help others save money and find ways to do Christmas in a way that they can actually enjoy it and not be worrying about it.
I remember my parents shopping literally on Christmas Eve, they would get money from my grandparents on Christmas Eve and they were educators, we didn't have a ton of money growing up and so that last bit of money that they got from my grandparents was to help them get those Christmas gifts we were really hoping for and I know that they could have absolutely benefited from learning how to save money and plan ahead had they had access to a blog or a youtube channel or something like that, telling them how to do it. So I think your blessing so many lives and tell us about what we can do now as busy parents to save money and enjoy the holidays.
Well, I think the first thing we probably need to touch on is the supply and demand issue that's happening right now in our country. I don't care what side of the political aisle you fall on. This affects everybody. And it's a bigger deal than I think most people realize. The amount of container ships with all of our products that we use. I mean most of the stuff that we consume here in the United States is not made in the United States.
It is made overseas. By the last article I read last week was, we have $23 billion dollars worth of product sitting off the coast of California right now. 23 billion. Um, the last I checked it was over 100 shipping containers or vessels I should say. And not only is that Christmas items, toys and all that kind of stuff, it's your furniture, it's food.
It's, I mean it's literally everything. And so the thing that's been very interesting is, you know, the big stores like Target and Costco and Walmart, they have ended up purchasing their own smaller shipping vessels in order to go into smaller ports to get their product. So we have that happening right this year for the first year ever. I followed Black Friday deals for 12 years now and every year it's gotten sooner, earlier and earlier.
I can always count on the very first week of November for there to be early black friday deals and when I say early black friday deals, it isn't like, oh, there's some cool deals. These are legit priced black friday feels the same ones you would find over thanksgiving week early and stores do that to get your money early to compete against the other stores. And literally it's just like cats and dogs fighting over your money. It's always been like that.
And even last year, you know, 1st november was when everything started well because of the shipping and demand and all that issue that's going on right now. Um, stores actually started like the third week of october and so I was seeing legit black friday sales from amazon and from Target and they just started earlier than ever.
And the most interesting thing is because normally I'll get leaked versions of the ads from these brands since I've worked with them for so long. Or sometimes they'll end up online. There are not any leaked versions of the legit black friday ads for black friday week right now and I, if I was to guess it's because they have no idea what they're going to have.
So I don't think they mean normally, you know, people from the companies will lead the ads right? We'll put them all overline online and you can have an idea of what's going to happen in those black friday ads. There are no leaks versions of the ads.
So I don't think they've created them yet. So here we are, what is the beginning of november and just this past week we've had walmart go live, we've had Target go live. We've had best buy go live amazon just my life with a bunch of different black friday deals and they all said that they are going to be doing something weekly.
So that's where I kind of come in where I say, hey, most people don't know that this is happening unless you're someone crazy like me. So I'm just going to share when those deals and sales happen. So you guys can buy all those things you have on your list, whether it's a Nintendo switch or an apple product or if it's a special toy that you want or you know, whatever the hottest item is, you know, a lot of people want vacuums or scooters or hoverboard when those things come out of black friday prices, I'm just gonna let you know about them on instagram stories and I'm going to give you the link to the deal.
So you have first chance to grab that item and check out for it sells out or the price changes. So during the holidays in of October through November, that's what I do basically I switch from sharing. You know, some of the other things that I share and we're kind of just a full black friday deal mode right now. And so that's basically where we're at.
Yeah, I've been watching already on your stories and saw some deals that I love like the beats, headphones, you can get $100 off and I noticed it was sold out at Target, but then I went to amazon and thought, well if Target has it at this price, I bet Amazon does and that's something like a trick of the trade where it's like once you get into it and you see something you want, if it is sold out somewhere, check the competitors because a lot of times they'll have it at that same price as well. Have you found that to be the case?
Oh, for sure. It's always been like that, especially with Amazon because amazon doesn't have a black friday ad, they do whatever they want whenever they want. So you know when all these other stories are coming out with the black friday deals or adds a lot of times we'll see the amazon has changed the price to match that at price a few hours before the day before whatever, hoping that word will get out and people will buy it from Amazon instead of you know, through whatever store is having their their sale. Um So yeah, that happens all the time.
I heard someone say recently, it was actually Paul, my husband came home and said, I heard this year it's possible that you can get better deals in store because online is such a like the stores are trying to filter through the actual content they have in their store versus what's available online. Do you think that that's true?
Man, You know, I think that I honestly don't know this is what I would okay. Being from a marketing background, sometimes I like to think backwards and I know a lot of people might not think this space, so I try to walk them through this. Okay, if I was a store and all of my product was stuck on the, on the edge of California and some vessel, right? I only have the product that I have in my warehouses and I'm trying to sell all that, right? But I don't want to sell it too cheap because I need to make money because I don't have enough. Right.
So what I would think is that a lot of what are these stores are going to do is I don't think we're going to see as extreme deals as we've seen in the past from black friday. We've already seen that there have been great deals and even the black friday ads that they have released for, you know, like walmart's doing a black friday ad for just this week and they have another one for next week. And while some of those prices are great, they're not as amazing as the ones we've seen in the past.
So what I think that their end up doing is we're not going to see is amazing of deals plus the stores have to make up the money that they're losing somewhere else. So what I think we're going to see happening since we already are seeing that is we have inflation everywhere right now. Everything is more expensive than it's ever been before. And in fact I think our inflation rates are the highest they've been in the past 30 years. Um I know with groceries in general we're seeing 20% higher prices than just last year.
So everything's more expensive, right? Making things more difficult. So if I was a store and I was trying to make up money, I would have these black Friday deals and then I would raise the price of everything else in the store that wasn't a black Friday deal. So when people come in, to the stores and they're reading their black friday deal or whatever is the sale or whatever is on the front page of the add, I'm making that money up with everything else in the store being more expensive because you never go in for one thing, let's be honest.
Especially Target. Okay, you look in and you end up with all the stuff in your cart and unless you're really, really detailed and looking at all these prices and have some crazy price chart tracking prices for the last however many years, you wouldn't know that right? You would just, you would just buy it. So in my mind that's what they're going to have to do to make up the money that they're losing right now because they don't have enough in stock.
Yeah, that's true. I hadn't thought about it like that but I think that's spot on. I think that that can be, I am very much the personality of buying things early and in advance where I know many others are more like fly by the seat of their pants. They like to do things last minute.
But one thing that is bad for me personally about buying things in it early is sometimes I lose track of what I've bought or by the time christmas comes around I realized I might have too much where I'm like I am spoiling my kids rotten. Like what would you be, what would your advice be about keeping track of what you bought and then also keeping your spending in check so that you don't overdo if you start too soon.
Yeah, that's a great point. Especially this year because I have been telling people since july that we were going to have stock issues and honestly, I think it will be kind of scary when we get to real black friday like if there's anything even left, I don't know if you know what I mean, which is why I'm putting so hard like hey guys right now don't do this to yourself.
Don't cause yourself unneeded stress when they're having the same black friday deals now. Like literally every day I am sharing Black Friday deals from major stores and even smaller stores, everyone's doing things early because they just don't know if they're going to have anything later on December. I mean forget it. Like literally if you're looking for something in particular do not wait and I forgot the original question was I was going to segue, but I forgot what the original question was.
Yeah, so the first was, how do you keep track and how do you avoid overspending?
Okay, so what I do is you know on my computer and on my phone I have the little notes app and that is my most favorite feature of the entire Apple community.
I love it too.
And so one thing I put somewhere ends up everywhere else and I don't have to have lists right. Um what I typically do is I will put like I'll have like a Christmas list note and I will put each person's name and then the things that they want and you know like the main price or the sale price or whatever. And when I purchased it I put a checkmark by it.
So I know what I purchased for each person and then if I need ideas, I'll put links to things there. So I know what potentially could be there. So then when those black friday deals do pop up, I can look at my list and I'm like okay, so and so wanted to switch. So and so wanted this like, okay, oh great, we got that black friday deal done checkmark done.
So then I have a list of just quickly, quickly I mean and that's really rudimentary to be honest, but it works for me and it's fast and it links to my phone. So whether I'm at a store or if I'm at home shopping on a computer, I know what's on purchase for each person and I know what I paid for it and then I also know what things I might still be looking for and there's a link there waiting for it.
Yeah, no, I actually love that. I shared that with some of my followers this week. I use the notes app and keep a list of their favorites. Another thing that's meant to do right now, that is like a part, I swear it's like a part time job for my kids that's free is I give them the like the amazon magazine, black friday list notebook that comes, it's so fun for the kids to look at and I have them go through and mark what they want and put their name next to it.
And then and then I have them rank it and so I cannot tell you how much free entertainment that provides for my kids like weighted bands and it makes it fun. I think anticipation is the best part about christmas honestly or even looking forward to a vacation is thinking about it coming. So I really utilize that and then I'll take notes from that and then put it into my phone so that I can have that as a resource to know what they want and then I pray to the heavens that they don't change their minds because that's the worst.
Well, I love that idea unfortunately. So last year I had them do that and they circled almost everything.
Uh, my five year old did that
Circles around every single product and I was like, okay, that did not help.
That's why you have to do the rain. Yeah. You like, yeah, let's go through it again.
And then you're like, what do you want the most? Right?
I also tell my kids, hey, you know what, like Santa needs time. You know, Santa needs time and you can't change your mind. Ok, So you can't tell me that you want to tell Santa something new in december. Like, we don't do that here, okay? You're not gonna get anything.
So you gotta decide what you want, you want something new, you can tell your birthday. So yeah, because I always have comments, my followers being like, oh, my son decided they just wanted this and I'm like, tell them too bad. There's plenty of other things they can wait for it. Santa, Santa's K busy. He doesn't have time for last minute changes.
No, he does not. And something I think that's really fun and helpful just for, as a mom in general, is that when you're out shopping and toys are everywhere. so it's in their faces and they see advertisements and whatever. I just tell my kids okay, well why don't you put it on your list?
And whether that list is Christmas or your birthday, you know, let's put that on your list. So if it's, can I have this? You just say, yeah, let's get it on your list and we'll make sure not to forget. And so it kind of, you're not saying no to them necessarily, you're saying yes, let's put it on your list and if they still remember it and they really feel passionately about it, you know, however many months or weeks down the road, then great, but if not then it doesn't become a fight in the store.
Yeah, no, that's a great idea. I think it's great.
So tell me about how you avoid overspending because I know that you have a list, but do you ever get to, I don't know if this happens to you because maybe you're like more um disciplined, but have you ever got to christmas where you're actually wrapping up the gifts and you're like crap, There is like too much here. Have you ever had moments like that?
And I've literally put them away for like, oh well easter could be nice to give them this lego set or whatever. Do you ever have moments like that where you're like, my husband accuses me of this where he'll be like sometimes you buy too early that you buy too much and maybe, I mean just being more disciplined with the list would be a way to do that. But do you have any other ideas for that?
Well, I mean I don't do that anymore. But I do remember, Well my daughter was three. She has so many presents that we had to take multiple days to open them up because she was overwhelmed. And uh and the funny thing was, is that I was in budget. I have found so many amazing deals And still like under $100 or $150 budget and you know, toys when they're younger, a lot cheaper anyway.
So we had like a play kitchen. We had all of this stuff that I just got an insane deals on and my husband just looked at me, he goes, what did you do? And I was like, I don't know, I stayed in budget and so that from that point on I was like, hey, it doesn't really matter if you stay in budget if it's just just overwhelming and just too much for me for people who really want to stay in budget, you need to go backwards.
So what I would do is I'd actually like at the top of the list, I put however much you're gonna spend on each person, let's say 100 $100 to make it easy. I put it down and then I would go find the retail prices of each of the items that you want and put them down. So you have an idea of what the retail amount is for those items.
And then when you find them on sale, you're able to change that price. So you know how much extra you have for each child. So that's what I would do if people are really worried about budget, um, instead of just buying things and adding it up as you go.
I like that.
That makes sense.
So What would you say for? Because I do feel like younger kids are easier to buy for because there's so much more that you can, what you can wrap up in the side of things and you know, there's a lot more to wrap up now. I have teenagers or I have 18 and a preaching and the things they want are so expensive that it blows the budget in one fell swoop.
Like what would your advice be to? And I think at that stage they know they have a better concept of money, but like I just feel bad sometimes and maybe that stupid, but I feel bad sometimes for my older, like my son where he opens just a couple of things and you're like, well that's it, but that's, I mean that's the reality.
Like if they just want more expensive things like what is on a list for teenagers that you've seen, where uh maybe you can give them gifts that they can open that don't cost as much or like something that's more meaningful or what it would have been some ideas for money-saving in that regard?
You know? Um for our family, we've started giving more things that are experiences or travel and you know my kids are 12 and 9, so you know, they're not as old as your Children, but I this is my thing, you know, in the years past we've spent money on gifts and got them some great things and got them the things that they want on their list and I think every parent has had this experience where their kids will either play with the items for like a week or two and then they're over it or the items will break or they decided they don't want them anymore and you're like, wow, I just spent all this money on these items and now they're just sitting here thrown in like a toy chest and wow, I wouldn't waste of money.
Right? And so you know, over the years, my husband and I just like, you know what, like I would so much rather have experiences with them and so we started traveling a few years ago, this will be our fourth or fifth year traveling for christmas instead. Now you can give a gift for christmas where you're not traveling on christmas because probably on christmas is more expensive over the christmas states, um you know what, if you were to travel in january, it's drastically cheaper.
Um, and you can do like scavenger hunts, elaborate, elaborate scavenger hunts to make, you know, the opening process longer and things like that we've done, but that's been the best thing we've ever done. And even, it was funny because one year I was two years ago, my husband was like, oh, let's stay home. I want to stay home for christmas. You know, he's from a small town, he likes that kind of thing and I do too, it's just, I'm so stressed out from everything that I'm like, I need a break.
CAMILLE [21: 41]
You want to leave. Yeah.
Yeah. So we did it his way and he's like, never again, I was like, I want that written down and I want you to sign it that you said never again because you will forget this moment and you'll forget that you didn't like this and that you would much prefer to go on a vacation because you know, every year it's a discussion, right? So, and it doesn't even have to be, there's so many vacation deals.
There's so many black friday deals for hotels and for destinations and I mean there's just so many things you can do, that we've done that a lot over the years and then as far as like other things. I know, some families, you know, they get ski passes or they get, you know, a season pass to amusement parks or things like that that they can do as a family to create memories.
And I just think as a teenager, I think teens know, hey you're present, you're one person equals 10 little kid present, you know, and I think that's a conversation you have to have with your kids and be open with your money conversations with your teens because they don't know unless you tell them. So it's just an open discussion you have to have with them. So they know.
Yeah, I agree with you and it's all that conversation is already happening with our family where we talk about destination gifts rather than over things, but we typically, because my husband's job is in finance, we can't go until after the beginning of the year.
So we'll typically go late January or February. But it's also helped with like seasonal depression that some of my kids struggle with with being in the dark winter and having that to look forward to. And so for those who are looking for travel deals, what are your favorite websites or resources for where to find those deals?
Um, I tell people to sign up for all of the air are all the airlines they want to, they fly or they want to fly? They need to send it for their emails because they will send out, feels like every couple of weeks usually on a Tuesday with all their fair deals. That's when you can get really great deals on those.
There's a lot of things you can do with miles with credit cards depending on if you're going to be airline specific. Uh you know for example like we have a delta credit card, Amex credit card because we only by delta now because we found it was better for us to fly one airline to rack up the miles and the points faster than it was for us to find the cheapest deal on whatever airline flew wherever plus the status to give us free upgrades and free bumps.
So we like that. I mean who doesn't want a free first-class flight when you're flying? So we've done that and we liked that a lot more than randomly find finding deals. But if you're not in a position to do that, that's when you would use the emails to find the best cheapest flights on Southwest or JetBlue or Alaska or whatever because they send those emails out all the time.
Do you feel like? And I don't know how much you've looked into this but I am hearing that there are amazing cruise deals right now because there are so few able to go. However, I don't know what the deal is with kids on cruises because I have an aunt who just went on a cruise and she said they got a stateroom for like a third of the cost of what it would typically cost. But I don't know if you have to be vaccinated to be on a cruise ship. What are you hearing about that?
You know, I haven't heard anything about it for about a month, but beforehand every cruise line was different. Um and I know that Florida was say stating and telling the cruise ships they couldn't mandate vaccines for the cruises. But then I know that it went to the Supreme Court. I have no idea what happened with that.
There might be some crazy deals for cruises. But if I was going to book a cruise, which I'm not because it's so I think it's the scariest place to book travel right now in my opinion because of all of the covid Strict rules right now, if I was going to book a cruise deal I would book it out like a year or two in advance and I would make sure that it was 100% refundable. That's what I would do.
Because hopefully within a year or two. There won't be such crazy restrictions. We cross our fingers and you know, if there is, you just want to get your money back right? I think everything right now, anything I'm booking travel-wise right now has to have 100% refundability or I won't look it whether it's hotel flights or whatever. This is not worth it. It's not worth the risk because things are just rapidly changing all the time.
So you would say right now for travel to would you say stay in state if you're in the United States or I mean I have a friend right now in Austria and she said they've had the place to themselves because it's been that just people aren't traveling overseas right now, there just isn't much happening. But there are some really good deals. So what would you say to that?
Well I think it comes down to each country's rules, Some countries saying you have to be vaccinated and some are just needing a negative PCR test. Every every country is different and it does change. So if you are going to go somewhere I would uh make sure you understand what that is before you book. But yeah, if you're willing to go out of the country you totally can. Um, Mexico has been open the whole time.
So Mexico is a really safe destination where you don't need a vaccine and you just need the negative PcR test to come back into the United States. I know that's you know when you can usually find some pretty good and affordable deals for as well. We love traveling out of the country. A lot of the places that we do like to travel or have traveled before in the past, I've really strict rules right now.
And so we haven't booked anything other than Mexico lately abuse because it's just changing all the time. You just don't know what you're getting yourself into. But yeah, I have heard the same thing with people who are going to certain countries if you're willing to travel and you're comfortable traveling like you should be for sure. Especially if you can find the deals.
And do you think all inclusives in Mexico, like do you have a favorite all inclusive? You love to stay out in Mexico or like with your kids?
You know, every time we've gone to Mexico, we've stated in a different place. There are so many places in Mexico, especially Cancun. I mean there's hundreds of hotels, right? So I think it comes down to the family's needs and your budget in our experience, we've literally only stayed at one place that had good all inclusive food that we were like, wow, this is really good.
And that was the Grand Moon Palace, the rest of the other all inclusives who stayed at the food's been fine, but it hasn't been anything to be excited about if you like food, like we do, you might out better, you know, finding a place that isn't all inclusive.
But at the same time if you have kids or teenage boys, all inclusive is going to save you money for sure. So, you know, and maybe, you know, if you're just having chips and salsa and you know, all you can eat buffets all the time, like that might be a better fit for your family, honestly just comes down to what your family is like in what saves you the most money.
Yeah, that's really good advice. Alright, well to wrap this up, I want to make sure everyone knows where to follow you because like we said, the deals are always changing. They're coming out with new things every week. Please tell our followers and I know on your stories right now if you watch Melea's stories on instagram, you are entered to win, remind us what the prize is because I can't remember.
Okay, okay, so this is why I'm doing this. So I'm giving away for three-day park hoppers to Disneyland.
And we're giving away 100 $5 amazon gift cards and I'm doing this because I know moms have a lot on their mind, they've got a lot going on. I know instagram or looking at stories is probably the last thing on your list to do. However, I am doing the work for you. So all you have to do is watch my stories.
That's it by doing so number one you're going to know when all the crazy black friday deals out, and you'll be able to get them to save your family money which is in your benefit Anyway. And then as a bonus just to help you remember to do that every day, that's when you'll be entered to randomly win one of those amazon gift cards or the grand prize on December 10th, which is the Disneyland tickets.
So basically every time you watch a story side of mine, you're automatically entered. You don't need to comment, you don't need to DM me, you're automatically entered, I can see that on my back end, who's watched it. So we're already giving out those amazon gift cards every couple of days for people who've watched.
So that way I feel like everyone wins, right? But you're going to get the deals, you're going to know about the Black Friday deals before everyone else and then and save money and then you might win an Amazon gift card or the Disneyland tickets. So?
My fingers are crossed for that Disneyland trip, that sounds amazing how I need to get back. Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, it's been so fun talking with you. If you haven't listened to our last episode, please do so. Melea is someone that will only give you the good stuff because she knows what matters and she really cares to help save you money. So Melea, thank you so much for your time. It's no fun talking Black Friday with you.
Wasn't that an incredible episode. I love so much what Melea had to say about taking your health into consideration when you're setting goals for yourself as a woman, an entrepreneur and mother, really taking time for yourself to create success that matters to you and I cannot tell you how much I loved this episode and I had to pause it because I knew we were going to be shifting gears into talking about Black Friday exclusively and how it is such a unique Black Friday this year with the pandemic and shortages and everything else. So listen to the next episode to hear what you need to do to save money today.
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