Now I have to be perfectly honest…cooking Thanksgiving dinner and then shopping Black Friday are my absolute favorite time of the year! I look forward all year to the 2-3 sleepless days of cooking, shopping and adrenaline. I started shopping Black Friday WAY before I started couponing…and now with couponing it is even more exciting for me! So I thought that since this is something I feel I am pretty experienced in I would share my tips and strategies (but not all of them…LOL).
Now before I start this tips…I have to write up a small disclaimer. Like I said…I LOVE the thrill of shopping Black Friday…getting good deals…and staying up exhaustively waiting in lines with friends and family. However, the past few years the stores have started opening their doors earlier and earlier into Thanksgiving day! And now when we talk about Black Friday shopping we are not “really” talking about Black Friday…but more or less shopping all day on what is supposed to be Thanksgiving day (and a day for families to stay together as one and be thankful for each other) In fact I am not even sure why we bother calling it “Black Friday” anymore…because if you shop on Friday now…the deals will be all gone!
Now with that little vent out of the way….what do you think about Black Friday? Yeah or Neah?!?!
Tips for a Successful Black Friday Shopping Experience
- Do your research. This is definitely the most important tip I can give you. You need to make sure you know what you are planning on buying, where it is the best price, what time that store opens, and how you are planning on achieving the ultimate goal of purchasing your items! Go HERE to check out what time each store opens and a PDF of their Black Friday Ad Scan!
- Get Social. Many stores use social media and email as a great way to get special offers to their loyal customers. Sign up for the stores you typically shop at to receive special offers, coupons and insider information. I recommend using a designated email account (just for “Spam” and rewards mail) so your personal email doesn’t get cluttered. Also make sure to follow your favorite brands on Facebook and Twitter for even more information and exclusive savings.
- Make a Budget. Now it is easy to say….but from experience sticking to a budget on Black Friday can be tricky. One of my strategies here is I start putting cash away a few months before Black Friday and then only bring cash with me to the stores…this way I don’t blow my budget on accident. When I am out of money…I go home
- Write up a plan or map. Ok I know it sounds kind of silly, but I am totally serious. I write up a detailed plan with everything I will need to know for Black Friday on it. Also don’t forget to keep a copy of the ads with you just to remind you of the exact item you are looking for. Some people even go as far as walking the store the day before just to make sure they know which aisle the items will be located at.
- Make your Smartphone Smart. If you have a smartphone it can be a HUGE help on Black Friday. Simply download rewards and savings apps like Shopkick (rewards), iBotta (rebate/coupons), Checkout51 (rebate/coupons), Cartwheel (Target coupons), Walmart Savings Catcher (rewards/price matcher) and others.
- Shop online. Many retail stores will be offering doorbusters and special pricing online on or even before Black Friday (or Thursday). Even better, when shopping online you can easily use rebate sites like Ebates, ShopAtHome and Savings.com, as well as take advantage of online only coupon codes!
- Travel in a pack. Now I would say that you should have a shopping buddy, but a posse is way better! Go along with at least one other person but if you can try to have 3-4 people you are shopping with! This way if there is store that is taking longer to check out, either you or your friend can stay and check out while the other goes to jump in line at the next store. It is also very helpful for making each store a faster experience. Have one person go immediately to stand in line and hold a place, while the other goes and shops for their list, then switch position. By the time you get the checker you will both have gotten everything and gotten in and out of the store FAST!
- Leave the kiddos at home. My very first year shopping Black Friday I woke up at 4 am and took my little one with me…well I will never do that again! It’s just not fair to them to have to wake up that early and hang out and shop. Plus you need all the focus you can get!
- Pack a healthy and warm snack. I always like to bring a thermos with hot chocolate or coffee in it to keep me warm while standing in line outside. But you will most likely need some sort of a solid snack as well. You build up an appetite chancing those crazy deals!
- Dress is layers. It can definitely get very cold waiting outside for those stores to open. Try to warm multiple layers so that you can stay warm outside and then strip them off once you get into the store (you will get super hot inside!) Also if you are planning on doing some waiting outside for the store to open…bring a blanket and maybe even a fold up chair to sit and stay warm in.
- Be patient. Let’s be realistic no matter how well you have everything mapped out, it’s Black Friday! Millions of people are out shopping and trying to score the same deals, so it is inevitable that there are going to be some crazy LONG lines. (That’s why a shopping buddy/posse is so great)
- Be respectful. As bad as you may want that one deal…it’s not worth getting hurt or hurting someone else over it. I am not just talking about getting physically hurt…be mindful of your tongue. I have heard even some of the most sweet and Christian people turn very nasty when they “fighting” to get that deal. Just be mindful of others…and most importantly even Black Friday prices do often times come around again. (Cyber Monday anybody?)
- Have fun. Seriously don’t let the stress of chasing the deal take all the fun out of shopping! Enjoy yourself