If you plan to shop on Black Friday, there are some things you can do to help save money AND keep your sanity!
Black Friday is coming up soon. Well, to be totally honest, it really is now Black week. The deals will kick off the weekend before Thanksgiving and run all week long. This means lots of deals and savings.
Many people will opt to shop from home. However, if you like to get out and shop, you can definitely have some fun! If you can’t handle the crowds, then you would do better to stay at home. I will admit that I will be one of those out doing some shopping.
For me, it isn’t even about the deals. For me, it is tradition. My mom and I began to shop on this day when I moved to Kansas City many years ago. It is just now something we do. It is our day together. No kids or anyone to bother us. .
There will be crowds. And yes, some people will be rude. However, most people are in a good mood. In fact, you might be surprised at how willing many are to help one another.
If you do plan to hit the stores, you need to be ready!!
HOW TO SHOP ON BLACK FRIDAY
1. Review the ads and compare prices before you shop
Black Friday certainly isn’t the day to pick up an ad when you walk through the doors. Carefully look over each store’s ad and make a list of the items you want, before you shop. That way, you can visit each store and get in and out as quickly (I use that term loosely), as possible. Make sure that you know the original price of the item you will buy. That way, you can tell if it is a deal or if it is just hype.
2. Plan your shopping trip
Plan your route before you leave home. It makes sense to try to hit all of the stores you can that are in close proximity to one another. Determine what time the store opens and whether it is worth standing in line or not. If a store opens at 9 pm, expect a line by 6pm.
Tip: Skip the stores completely and shop at home and still score the best deals.
3. Shop with your ads in hand
Determine where you want to shop and plan your shopping strategy. Try to visit an area that has most of your stores close together so you can cut down on drive time. It is also a good idea to have the ads with you when you shop. That way, if the price rings up at the wrong price, you have the ad to show the clerk so that you don’t pay too much for your items.
Tip: Check out the ads before you get to the store.
4. Know that you might not get your deal
Many times, stores only get in a certain number of items. For example, most television deals are limited to 10 (or fewer) per store. Make sure you have a back up plan for what to buy in case you aren’t quick enough to get your deal.
Tip: Don’t get angry with store employees if something is sold out – they can’t control inventory.
5. Know your store’s return policies
This can be very helpful when shopping so that you know how your store handles out of stock items rain checks and price matching (although very few stores will price match any Black Friday ads). Understand the return policy and time frame.
Tip: Ask for a gift receipt on everything you purchase; this makes returns much easier.
6. Divide and conquer
I always shop with my mom. The reason I love this is that one of us can hit one area of the store to find one item and the other person can search across the store for something else. We decide beforehand where we’ll meet up so that we can pull our items together and check out at the same time.
Tip: Add a quick talking app to your phone, such as Slack, in case the internet is spotty.
7. Have a list
Make sure you know what you need from each store. That way, you can focus on those items before you look at anything else you might want.
Prioritize your list with your top 3 – 5 must have items from each store. Include the back-up items you want to find as well – in case what you want is sold out.
Tip: Make note of the models, colors or styles too – so you make sure to buy the right one.
8. Join Rewards Programs Early
Some stores, such as ToysRUs, allow members with rewards cards to shop earlier than when advertised. In addition, you can sometimes get additional bonuses that are not extended to everyone.
- Amazon. Prime members get early access to many lightning deals.
- Sam’s Club and Costco. Each store offers member exclusive deals.
- Toys R Us Rewards R Us. In past years, members were able to access Black Friday deals up to 3 days early.
- KMart & Sears Shop Your Way. Members are usually shop up to 24 hours early.
- Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens. Each store offers different rewards when you purchase select items.
7. Patience is a virtue
It really is true. There are going to be mobs of people. You will stand in line for long periods of time to get into the store in some instances and more than likely in another line to checkout. Some stores make it fun and offer “in-line games.”
Be nice and remember that you aren’t the only person shopping and trying to get a deal. I always say “Kill ’em with Kindness.” In fact, I usually make friendships and share deal stories with the people I meet in line – which is nice if you forget something – they’ll save your place for you if you have to step out of line for a minute.
Tip: Update your shopping list when standing in line.
8. Leave the kids behind
If you can, find someone to watch your kids. Shopping on Black Friday can be crazy and the kids will not have fun. I also look at it as a safety issue as when there are so many people, it is easy for your child to get distracted and separated from you. So it is just best if they can stay at home.
Tip: If you must bring the kids, pack a bag of snacks and entertaining items.
9. Keep your cash close
Keep your cash close! I don’t shop with a purse on Black Friday. Instead, I keep my ID, cash and debit card in my front pocket. No worries about being pick pocketed or leaving my purse behind in a store. The added bonus, is one less item to lug around.
Tip: Pay for your entire holiday in cash so you never have to worry about spending too much.
10. Skip Black Friday – Wait until Cyber Monday
If the thought of the crowds is too much to bear, just skip it all together and shop on the Monday after Thanksgiving — Cyber Monday. Doing so can save you the stress of too many people or worse, driving to your store to find that they are sold out of the item you are wanting.
Most retailers will be offering deep discounts and usually even free shipping on Cyber Monday.
Tip: Join the Facebook Group as we share a LOT of Cyber Monday deals directly with our members.
11. Scope out the store
Run a recon mission before the big day. Know where everything is in the store where you will shop, so when you get in the store, you know where to go.
Tip: Use the free maps that some stores, such as Walmart offer.
12. Compare prices
When you find an item in the store, check the price before you buy! Most stores will not price match on Black Friday, but you may find it priced lower at Amazon or another store on-line. I’ve placed on-line orders for many items while shopping in the store.
Tip: Use the Amazon app to compare prices, get reviews and more.
13. Watch the clock
The prices of some items change with the clock. There are often doorbusters that run for a limited time. Prices may also go down during later times of the day. Plan your trip to get the deals you want, on the items you need.
Tip: Don’t try to get all of the deals. Focus on the best for what you need.
If you can’t handle crowds or get easily flustered in these situations, then it would probably be best for you to stay at home and catch some on-line deals on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. If you do brave the long lines, traffic backups and mobs of people, remember these tips to make your Black Friday experience a good one!