Nov 26, 2013

Black Friday tips

I've learned a thing or two in my 20 years of Black Friday shopping. Before all the hoopla, I was out there waiting in the wee hours for my stores to open to get my deals for the holidays. And I've learned a thing or two in my years of Black Friday shopping. Seems like everyone is all about Black Friday now, so here are some of my best tips to help you make it through the shopping-est day of the year.

1. Check out the deals online before Black Friday. Before Black Friday is even here, you can check out the ads on websites like This will give you a great chance to see what stores have what you want to get and help you start laying out your plan.

2. Get the newspaper on Thanksgiving Day. You can sit down and read it, but you really want all those sales flyers tucked in the middle. While the turkey is cooking this is the time to look at all of the flyers and start devising a plan of attack. And take your flyers with you to the stores. There is no guarantee that there will be sales flyers by the time you get there. I always have at least 3 or 4 people ask to see my flyers as I wait in line for the stores to open. Take my advice, bring your own.

3. Plan your route and your shopping list. It's best to plan where and when you will hit each store. With a solid plan when and what to get at each store, it should be a simple in and out procedure. And remember the stores will be set up differently than on a normal day. Target always hands out maps telling you where the biggest doorbusters will be located. Don't roam aimlessly, the employees will be able to tell you where the big deal items are.

4. For the craziest deals plan on getting there EARLY! If you plan on getting that "$100 laptop" or some other crazy deal like that, plan to get there earlier than early. These are the deals that may require sleeping over (look at the fine print on your flyer for these). There are usually only 5 per store, and they will be handing out tickets in line for these items. The tickets are usually handed out before the store opens (Best Buy does this a lot), and they will have 1 ticket for each of the items, so if you're not one of the first 5 people in line that wants this, you won't be going home with it. I've never gotten there in time for any of these deals.

5. Leave the kids at home. Black Friday is all about stores packed full of people and large crowds. Leave the kids at home. It's gonna be a pain to keep an eye on them, plus it will make it harder for the rest of the shoppers too.

6. Dress for comfort. You're gonna be on your feet for a long time, so wear comfy clothes and comfy shoes. I'm talking t-shirts, sneakers and comfy jeans, you'll be thankful for it later after you've spent a few hours on your feet. Also, a crossbody bag or fanny pack is perfect to keep your wallet close to you and away from prying hands.

7. Check for online deals. Sometimes you can get the better deal by shopping on the internet from the comfort of home. Do some research and check out the prices before automatically heading out to the stores. It could save you the time, gas and hassle of going out on Black Friday.

8. Empty your trunk. You want to have plenty of room in your trunk and backseat to fill with all of your goodies. Before you head out, make sure you have cleaned out your car to make sure you can get all of your haul home.

my shopping partner, Mom

9. Tag team with a friend. Having a shopping buddy can really help to get the deals you want while saving time. Once you get to the store, you can head one way and your friend can head the other way, you can both grab the items that each of you wants without both having to walk the whole store. This way you can save time so you can get to the next store even sooner.

10. Be patient. There are a lot of people out there, and I'm sure you've seen the insanity on the news the next day. (Luckily, I've never seen this in person.) I do always hear the newbies complaining about waiting in line, but in all seriousness it doesn't take that long for the amount of people that are there. The stores that I always go to (Target and Best Buy) tend to make one large line for the checkouts, this may seem like you're in a never-ending amusement park line, but it will get you out of the store quickly.

These are some of my tips for making it through Black Friday. I'm already starting my shopping list and you'll be sure to see Mom and I out there getting our deals. Remember the early bird gets the worm!

Do you shop on Black Friday? Any Black Friday tips to share?

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