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Black Friday has always been my absolute favorite day of the year! For years, I’ve crawled out of bed around 3 a.m. to go to the stores and take advantage of the lowest prices of the year. The crowds have never bothered me, because I love to shop and I love the thrill of getting a good deal.
The Friday after Thanksgiving has traditionally been the start of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, however, many stores have actually started Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day either in their stores, online, or both. Some stores have even offered Black Friday prices on their websites earlier in the week. The bottom line is this: We have more opportunities than ever to get some great deals. We just have to organize ourselves and be ready when the sales start.
I want to help you get organized and be able to rock the Black Friday sales!! So, here are my BEST TIPS for shopping on Black Friday like a boss!
10 Black Friday Shopping Tips:
1. Don’t limit yourself to buying only Christmas presents. Buy everyday items that are super cheap on Black Friday.
Many people love Black Friday/Thanksgiving sales because of the great deals on technology and big-ticket items. You will definitely find incredible deals on these items, but Black Friday is a great time to stock up on everyday items that are at their lowest price of the year. Socks, underwear, bath towels, printer paper, batteries, and small appliances are just a few of the things that are very cheap on Black Friday. Take advantage of the super prices to stock up on presents for upcoming birthdays, baby showers, and wedding showers, too.
2. Do your research!
Gone are the days of waiting until the Thanksgiving Day newspaper comes out to access the ads. Websites, such as BF Ads, Black Friday, and The Black Friday, post the ads in the days and weeks prior to Thanksgiving. These sites often leak the ads before the stores actually release them.
I use a notebook to plan my shopping trip. I devote a page (or more) to each store. On each store’s page, I write down the store’s opening time and any special rules. Then, I list the items I’m interested in and the price of those items. Once I’ve viewed all the store ads, I’m able to look back at my pages to see which store has the best price on specific items.
3. Make a plan.
Start by making a chronological list of when the stores open. Look closely at the opening times of the stores you are interested in, then create a schedule of when you will go to each store. It’s good to be there when the store opens to have the best chance of getting an item before it sells out. (At some stores, you’ll need to get in line outside long before the store opens.) Also, make note of when the online sales start. Get to the site before the sale goes live. If possible, put the items in your cart and wait for the sale to start.
4. Shop online as much as possible.
More and more retailers are offering their top Black Friday deals online. I think you’ll agree it’s so much better to be able to get the deals without leaving the comfort of your home and without having to fight the crowds! Plus, many retailers offer their Black Friday deals before Black Friday. Some retailers start as early as the Sunday before Black Friday. This allows you to get some of your shopping done so you’ll have more time to concentrate on the Friday-only deals.
Whenever you shop online, be sure to go through Ebates to earn money back on your purchases. Ebates is totally free to use, so it doesn’t make sense not to use it! Plus, they usually offer higher cash back amounts during the holidays.
5. Get a store map.
Some stores offer Black Friday store maps to show where specific items will be located. Go online and print these out before you head to the store. Or take a screenshot of the map so it will be stored on your phone. Super handy!
6. Take the sale papers with you to the stores.
Most stores publish their Black Friday ad on Thanksgiving Day, so be sure to grab the newspaper that day and take the store ad with you to the store. Don’t count on being able to grab a sale paper in the store. Many times, they’re impossible to find in the store because the supply is already depleted! You really need a sales paper so you can refer to it to get specifics about the items. Also, if you need help finding an item, it helps to have a picture of the item to show the store employee.
Want to avoid having to carry the ads with you? Get the Black Friday app to access the ads on your phone.
7. Take somebody with you.
Having someone with you saves a lot of time. My husband drops me off at the door so I can start shopping while he parks the car (not an easy task on Black Friday). Once parked, he comes in the store so we can divide and conquer. He may head to the electronics department while I go to the toy department. By splitting up, we have a better chance of getting the items we want before they sell out.
Sometimes, if the checkout lines are long, he’ll go ahead and get in line while I’m shopping. By the time I’m ready to check out, he’s usually near the front of the line. It’s also nice to have one person pushing the cart so the other person is free to squeeze through crowded spaces to get to a product. (Although, if the store is super crowded, it may be best to go without a cart if possible.)
One more thing: DON’T bring small children…especially during a time when they’d normally be in bed! They’ll be tired and cranky. It will take extra time to get them in and out of the car. Shopping carts are hard to find, so they may have to walk everywhere. It will be challenging to keep up with them in a crowded store. And you probably won’t want them to see what you’re buying anyway. Black Friday shopping is just not the place for kids. Don’t do it! Plan well in advance to get a babysitter.
8. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
This isn’t a fashion show! You’ll be doing a lot of walking and a lot of standing in line, so go for comfort!
9. Make a priority list.
Go into Black Friday shopping realizing that you may not be able to get every deal that you want! Because the sales are running simultaneously, it may be logistically impossible to get to every store you want to visit. Some items will undoubtedly be sold out by the time you get there. So, decide which items are most important to you and make getting those your top priority.
10. There is no toy, TV, or video game that is worth getting upset over!
If you don’t get the item you had your heart set on, it’s not the end of the world. You are not the only person shopping for a good deal. Thousands of others are shopping, too! Be kind to others and don’t lose your cool in all the madness. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
These ten tips will help you get the most out of Black Friday! Now, get out there and shop til you drop!