It is the week of Thanksgiving and time to get busy with your Black Friday plans. We have shared with you three articles for overall Holiday Shopping and How To Help Your Budget Survive. We recommend reading up on these as much of it applies to actual Black Friday shopping. In addition, don’t miss out on all of our Black Friday deals – we’ve posted many of your favorites with many more to come!
We know many of you are gearing up and are preparing for that long awaiting day – Black Friday! We know the thrill of finding that amazing deal, the rewarding feeling of knowing that all that work paid off (you got the item!) and the misery of expending all that energy to have been beaten out by that person you were standing behind for all those hours before! These tips are dedicated to you – you dedicated shopper – to those that will stand in line for hours – freezing off your extremities with your one goal in mind – to save as much as you can on that fateful day! We wanted to provide you with a quick list of tips and tricks you can use this week to maximize your savings!
So for this week, here are some final things you can do:
Call the stores that have that item and ask the following questions:
- What is your return policy on items from your Black Friday sale? Also, find out if there will be such things as restocking fees, or a short window of returning deadline. You will want to know this to prevent buyer’s remorse on spending for something in the moment and later find out the return policy is not in your favor.
- Will you be accepting competitor’s prices or ads if I find a lower price, whether on Friday or at a later date if that item goes even lower at your store or a competitor?
- Will all of the stores doors open at opening time on Friday and will there be specific doors that I should line up at? By asking this question, you could prevent much unnecessary frustrations on Friday morning! We have stood in the wrong line only to find we were further back than even fathomable all because we assumed the person in front of us was correct about the line (who got it from the person in front of them and so on….). Also, stores like Walmart will be open all night and customers can wait in the store. Find this out too!
- Will you be handing out tickets outside for the ad items based on whose in line first? Or will it be line up and run in? The reason why is many retailers like Best Buy are handing out tickets for items based on whose in line first. They will go through the line from the beginning and give the number of tickets as for each item in the store. In this case, the line will probably start forming Thanksgiving evening (or even sooner). Just be sure that the store you are planning to hit will not have “awarded” all of the tickets before you even get there in the wee hours of the morning.
- How many will they have in stock? The ad oftentimes states the stores will have no less than a certain number, but its useful to ask prior to the day of the sale whether the store will have just the minimum or additional. This will help you determine your “risk factor” and how early you will need to get into line to get your item.
- Where in the store will those items be located on Friday? Depending on the store, if they are open on Thanksgiving, you might be able to walk the isles and scope out all the locations of the products you are looking to purchase. We did this one year specifically for some of our sons toys and we were able to maximize and get everything we planned to get. You might be able to ask many of these questions if you are already in the store during this time.
- Will you have a map of the store where all the deals will be that I can download or print from somewhere? This bit of information can be extremely helpful to you! Walmart (among other stores) has provided a “deals map” for the morning of the sale.
On Thanksgiving Day the real pressure starts to mount. Make sure to follow these tips:
- Pull those ads out of the newspapers
- Find the stores and products you wanted to buy and circle them – then write out a clearly written list and staple it on the front of the ad. This saves you loads of time on Friday a.m. to not have to flip through the pages while running through the store. On your list, make the extra notes that you discovered in the days leading up to this, like next to the item on your list, show where each item is supposed to be located based on your research and any additional notes. If the store does have a “deals map,” print this off, make notes and staple it to your ad!
- Determine opening times – If you are hitting multiple stores, you will need to be very slick about your plan and strategize as to where to go first!
- Check online – On Thanksgiving evening, before you hit the stores dark and early in the morning (will not be bright for quite a while:), you just might find that the retailer has started their Black Friday sale online the evening before and you might just luck out and get the items you wanted, sleep in and stay warm! That would be the best news!
- Charge your cell phones – There’s nothing worse than being in line with hours to go to only realize your cell phone is about ready to die and your fellow Black Friday-ers are going to lose contact with you in minutes! Make sure you are charged and ready to coordinate your buying!
The time has come! Tips for Black Friday:
- Shop with a partner – Find a partner to shop with so that you can maximize your time – either go into one store together and head in opposite directions if you are buying multiple items in a store, or, as soon as the store opens, one gets in line immediately and one gets the item. This will save you potentially hours of time! Checking out is the worst part of the morning. But by doing this, you could hit the store that opens at 4 am, be out quickly and hit the 5 am store, etc.!
- Assign one person the navigator spot back at home – Online retailers are getting pretty savvy and want your business. If you need someone to watch the kids or just have the manpower do do this, leave one person at home on the computer watching for those online stores for those products you are looking for. You might be surprised that you can get many of the supplies online without you even needing to stand in line!
- Shop early – As the sale times have usually ended by 11 am.
- Take the ads with you – In cases of price discrepancy or in case the retailer will match competitor’s ads, its always easier and faster to have your own ads to confirm that price you have been waiting to pay.
- Look for cash registers in smaller departments – You may find yourself having everything you want to buy in your hands within five minutes of entering the store only to find yourself leaving the store hours later after staying in line. Although a bit fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, we have found jewelry, cosmetic, and appliance registers with shorter lines often to help get us out of the store quicker and on to the next store’s sales.
- Shop with cash or prepaid/set budgeted amount from a debit card. We say this only from experience in our pre-thrifty days as Black Friday was good on deals but awful on the bank account. It was a contributor to our heavy debt load. But it doesn’t have to be!
Have more tips? We would love to hear them! Share them with all of us so we can all be ready to go. The countdown to Black Friday is under a week so lets all get ready and we’ll see you in line!!