Many people consider Black Friday the best shopping day of the year, while others won’t leave the house. If you are planning on getting out here are some tips to make your day run smoothly.
I was a die hard black Friday shopper until about 2 or 3 years ago when I started to realize what kind of deals there were online. My oldest daughter is now 17 and I actually began Black Friday shopping with a good friend just out of necessity. As a single mother your budget is pretty tight to pull off a good Christmas. I did it for over a decade and absolutely loved it.
There’s nothing like leaving early on a Friday morning and coming home by 10am with everything you need for Christmas.
After doing it for so many years the last couple I have actually moved to online Black Friday shopping. It’s not something I would have recommended a few years ago but companies have really expanded and stores are moving more and more to online sales.
I officially made the transition when one year we were out of town and didn’t have internet. Old Navy always has a great online sale. It’s a great time to pick up a coat for the kids or jeans. That year we had to go to the store. We arrived 5 mins before it was supposed to open (that was my 1st mistake). Once we were in the store was literally empty and the line was all the way to the back.
I think we found a cute pair of gloves for a great price — which was available online too, after we looked at these cute gloves…. looked at the line my daughter and I decided let’s just go home.
If you are braving the lines on Black Friday here are some tips I have learned over the years that make shopping tonight and tomorrow a little more sane. It DOESN’T have to be the crazy mob you see on TV. Those are few and far between! But there are some things I learned that made the process easier and easier and there are some stores that I don’t care what the deal is I would never go near and I’ll share those with you.
1st – Tips For Easy Black Friday Shopping
- Go with a friend if possible. It’s much easier to use the divide and conquer approach. For example maybe you both need deals in the electronics department and maybe the toy department. You each have a cart and you each have a list. You simply chat for a few mins while you’re in line or before you go in and put your lists together, then divide them up by dept. Believe me.. the checkout line is long enough you have PLENTY of time to separate your stuff. This ensures that you get the deals you really want.
- If it’s possible, leave the kids at home – I realize some people don’t have the option to do that and I understand that. But if you have to take a little one with you really think about whether or not you need to go. I have a hard time seeing little ones in a packed place in a stroller out in the freezing cold. If you are running in to get one thing on sale that might be easier but I’ve seen mom’s trying to push a stroller and cart full of items and it’s insane!! Plus 99% of the things you are picking up are for the kids, then they know what you are getting them.
- Prioritize stores – With stores opening at different times in recent years it’s much easier to do this than before but find out when stores are opening and see if it’s worth making the stop here.
Let me give you an example – When GPS was a big new thing Kohls decided to open at 3am and one of their big deals was a GPS for $99 … that was unheard of back then. We made the trip, stood in line for a bit only to get in and get our GPS. After successfully getting one we go to go get in line and realize there were only 5 checkout lanes and the line was to the back of the store… Conclusion – leave.
That’s not worth it. Spending hours in line for one item. It made much more sense to wait until Walmart or Target opened up and grab the one they had on sale for $110 OR just wait for another sale. There are going to be other sales between now and Christmas.
- Come prepared – This means bringing all your ads (don’t forget price matching at many stores like Wal-Mart and Target .. make sure they do carry the item … that’s important it must be an exact match). Bring a master list that is very planned out. This list should include all the people you still need to buy for and the gift you plan on purchasing. If you don’t have a gift in mind maybe put sizes or different things you need to know and don’t forget to write your budget for that person right next to their name!! That’s a biggie! Then mark them off as you are done.
Some final tips for the big shopping trip are if you are a pro-active shopper it’s always handy to have a list of nieces, nephews or anyone you buy for throughout the year in case you find some deals that might cover some birthdays. You can save a lot of money by presents ahead of time. It’s actually the first strategy I used long before I used coupons! I’ve even done it from a small apartment so it can be done. I used to be shopping for birthday presents on Black Friday and a few of my kids Christmas items because Christmas was already done. It comes in handy too when one of your kids gets that last minute birthday party invitation. Having a present on hand makes it much easier.
Last but not least….
You can also get a store map. Sounds crazy but deals are not usually located in the dept they would normally be in. They want the big items spaced out in the store. Many stores will pass out maps when you are in line. You can actually get WalMart’s online this year. Click Here
Depsite what you hear on the news most Black Friday shoppers are just like you. A regular consumer just trying to save some money. When it doubt ask another shopper and someone will help you find what you are looking for and you return the favor when someone asks you where you got that Hot Wheels set in your cart :).
So, have fun shopping! Feel free to share your Black Friday tips here too!! I’ll be here grabbing all my online deals 🙂 For those of you looking to do the same thing stay tuned.. next up is my tips for getting great holiday deals online. Don’t forget too if you miss out on any Black Friday deals you always have Cyber Monday.