Okay – it is almost here! That dreaded or wonderful or both day! I know I have mixed feelings about it! It is a love/hate day – the hate mostly comes from getting up extremely early and freezing for hours outside in line, then standing inside (burning up from body heat) for hours while waiting in line!
As you know if you’ve experienced it, the savings can be definitely worth the effort! We are going to try to help you make it as much of a “pain free” process as possible with our tips for snagging a deal!
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get ready that we’ve learned over the years!
- Make wish lists for all of those on your Christmas shopping list. This helps you to streamline your deal finding while not getting sucked into the not-so-great-deals. When you are standing in the checkout line looking at other items that weren’t quite on your list, it can be easy to convince yourself that its either such a great deal or that someone would really like it. Avoid this temptation, keep to your list which will provide you clearer direction (and avoid buyer’s remorse later)!
- Set a budget! As Thrifty Cas has referred to in other posts, I am the budget police in our house and holiday shopping is no exception! ThriftyCas and I will sit down and determine how much we can and have to spend. I must give great kudos to ThriftyCas for pulling off fabulous Christmases on our measly budget! This is also important for this day as there are typically many buyers spending outside their limit thinking it is too good of a deal to pass up! Watch out and stay focused!
- Check out the ads as much before hand as possible. The actual ads will not arrive until Thanksgiving Day newspaper, but there are many places to check them before hand such as BF Ads or Black-Friday.net. When your ads arrive on Thanksgiving, you will have had a preview and can quickly go through and circle/sticky note a master list on the front of the ad.
- Using your ad preview time to write an exact list of what to buy at each store (then again, when you get the actual ads, post a note on the front or circle the items clearly.
- Plan to pay with cash as much as possible – you are not doing yourself a favor, or saving much money in the long run if you are putting it on credit. I’ve seen people pull out their third or fourth credit card (after the first few didn’t work) just to save a couple of bucks on a toy. For future reference, we stash a little bit of money each month into a savings account and purchase presents using this (most of our shopping is done through out the year).
- Call any stores ahead to find out the return policy in case you do experience buyer’s remorse – or went over your budget from all of the hype of being there!
- Visit the store beforehand to find the layout and where the items could be located that you are after. I did this last year for a K-Mart Thanksgiving sale and because I knew exactly which end-cap our toy was on, we were able to get exactly what we wanted!
- While you are checking out the layout of the store, possibly check with the store associates to for the plan for that day, where certain items might be located for that day, etc.
- Stay warm outside: Dress in layers, and take a hot drink (but not too much as you don’t have access to bathrooms!) – I hate the cold and this is the worst part for me (don’t forget that we live in Utah)!
- Eat! Take on-the-go breakfast foods to munch on – you will need the energy and your blood-sugar will keep your temper down (see posts above)!
- Show up early!! Depending on the store, arrive at least 1 hour or MUCH MORE before the store opens
- Make your plan based on times that stores open. Thrifty Cas and I have stayed in line Toys R Us and Stapes/OfficeMax and then safely made our way to RC Willey after because they opened 2-3 hours later.
- Be sure you are in a real line when you get there!
- Try to leave your temper at home! Unfortunately, there is nothing like a Black Friday to get the worst out of people. If you didn’t get to the store early enough, then suck it up. Anyone that knows me very well is probably chuckling right now (as I tend to be a passionate person), but during a sleep deprived, low-sugar, high stress environment its best to go with the punches (or rather, NOT go with the punches) as best as you can.
- Take someone with you OR both go to different stores. Depending on how much you plan to buy at a store, having someone already in line at the cashier will let the other to go grab the one item you need.
- Ditch the cart if you can! There is nothing that slows you down more than trying to push a cart through a sea of people.
- Look for the hidden cash registers! If you’re at a department store where you can find Jewelry counters, appliance registers or similar, those can save you a ton of time. Thrifty Cas and her mom were at Best Buy a couple of years ago and literally saved hours of time because she checked out at the appliance counter instead of waiting as the 100th person in line!
- Be armed with a cell phone so you can check with others in your group their statuses. Especially if you are both in the same store, not needing to weed through all the people just to ask a silly question will save you a ton of time and possibly a lot of money.
- Buy online! Check some of the stores as they might offer some of the same deals on their website! Can you save getting up this one year (okay, so if you’re reading this you’re probably addicted to the adrenaline) and possibly shop during the day in the comfort of your own home?
- Shop inside Walmart so you don’t freeze outside! Honestly, this is one of my lowest posts because Thrifty Cas and I have never seen quite the deals at Walmart as we have seen in most other stores. However, it never ceases to amaze me how many people are stating (while in line for my second or third store) how crazy their Walmart experience was.
- Don’t forget Cyber Monday!! Rumored to be the least-productive day at work (I’m not suggesting that you do this from work!), companies are really making their Monday deals attractive to on-line shoppers! Get ready and shop!!
Sorry for the lengthy list, but I wanted to give out some of our best tips for Black Friday shopping. There are a lot of blogs already showing the coupon matchups, but I wanted to get to the nitty gritty. Dress warm, get ready to freeze (more so in some places of course!!), and get ready to have a great time!