Tackle those crows and stick to a budget. Get ready for Black Friday by being as prepared as you can!
The Halloween candy is almost gone and the Christmas lights are already on their way out. As you start to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, you get ready for mouth-watering food and visitors galore. While all of the decorating and song singing and baking may look like the perfect Lifetime movie… there is one thing lingering around the corner…
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The time when all our social graces fly out the window and we turn into lean mean shopping machines. I won’t say I blame you, Black Friday is the perfect time to take out all the aggression that your kids put on you in the first place. That’s the real reason mom’s act all insane that day… it’s the kids! They did this to us!
Black Friday has become a lot more sophisticated than just showing up on Friday morning and waiting for the stores to open their doors. In a world of apps, online ads, and stores open 24-hours… it’s become much more imperative to get yourself ready for this shoppers holiday.
Conquering Black Friday like a BOSS can easily be achieved. I’ve spent years as a sales associate working the floors and cash registers in several retail chains. You think shopping is difficult? Try working at Crate and Barrel during the holiday season… whole new respect level!
You would think that kept me away from the stores during this crazy busy time, but no! I also like hunting for deals and have spent many Black Fridays as part of the crowd, standing outside doors in long lines and harassing employees.
Seeing things from every possible angle has turned me into a Black Friday Ninja. There are several ways you can achieve this and actually, make Black Friday fun and enjoyable… if you’re into that sort of punishment!
(You might also be interested in How to a Save Money During the Holidays)
The Best Ways to Conquer Black Friday
Make a list and a Budget.
If you want to go crazy and spend every dime you have, well this isn’t actually a bad time to do it. But if you want to try to be effective with your time and money, make a budget.
Know exactly who you are shopping for and what you are buying. If you don’t have a list, you’ll end up getting distracted and buying things you don’t need. And worse case, be done with all your shopping and finally get home with your feet up and realize you forget something… aaaggghhh!!!
Do your homework.
10 years ago you just showed up at the store opening and ran inside, throwing elbows to see what was on sale and grabbing everything you could. With all the new technology out there, you will be behind the game if you don’t do your research first.
Almost every retailer has their sales listed weeks before the main event. And every catalog and flyer can be found online. Here’s a good time to start your list. Keep track of what you need to buy and what store it’s at, as well as the time of the stores opening and promotions.
Two stores might have the same item for the same price but one may offer an additional 10% during certain hours. Don’t just know what you are going to buy, know where you are going to buy it from!
Black Friday ads are out weeks before the actual shopping day. Most of them are online by November 1. Start browsing stores and finding coupons early. Take this time to look up product reviews of the items you are going to buy as well. Then you’ll know if that “great deal” is actually a deal or not.
Sign up for emails
Prior to shopping, go to the website of all the stores you plan to visit. Sign up for their mailing list. This is a great way to get early promotions that you otherwise might not hear about. Many retailers will even send out last-minute emails and updates on sales that are ‘exclusive’ to their mailing list.
Talk to Employees
You go to Target every other day anyway, right? Be friendly and chat up an employee. If you are nice enough, they may let you in on any secret sales or what times are the best to come and avoid long lines. Employees know all. Use this to your advantage.
Tips for Shopping on Black Friday
The big day is here (well it’s actually still Thanksgiving but that just happens to be when the stores open now). You’ve done all your research, you have your list and your budget, and you are ready to go! Don’t go in without a plan. Shopping during Black Friday has its own list of dos and donts.
Travel in Groups
Grab a few family members or friends and make it a group effort. If you hit a big place like a mall, you can split up and create a group text to keep in contact. Alert each other to who is having the best sales and which stores have smaller lines. If one store, in particular, has a line out the door, have one friend stay in line while the others get what they need. I’ve done this a few times and was able to save a ton of time while I did the shopping.
Consistently check out Facebook and Instagram throughout the night. Someone you know might post about an incredible deal they found somewhere. Social media shares news in real-time so use this to your advantage. One Black Friday I was doing great but was just not going to make it to Toys R Us in time to get the one and only Doll House my daughter HAD to have.
So I posted on Facebook to see who else was headed there, and wouldn’t you know… a friend of mine a town over was at Toys R Us and was able to grab me a dollhouse. 50% off thank you very much Facebook!
Have an Online Helper at Home
If the guys don’t want to come, or someone has to stay home with the kids, this is a great job for them. Have someone at home who can keep an eye on online sales. If you get to Wal-Mart to buy that Tablet that is so cheap and the line is about 2 hours long… have your online buddy look it up and see if you can get it online instead. Then you just saved yourself that 2-hour wait and can move on to the next sale!
The Do NOT’s of Black Friday Shopping
Do not visit Santa
Black Friday, and really that whole weekend, the line to see Santa is twisted around the entire mall. I will never in this world understand why parents bring their kids to see Santa on the craziest shopping day of the year. Santa is there all month-long… go another time!
Don’t bring kids either
Please please please do not bring your kids shopping on Black Friday. I often see both mom and dad with their kids at midnight plowing through crowds. That’s torturous for the kids, the people around you, and yourself! Just. don’t. do. it.
Do not dress for fashion
This is not the time to look cute for your friends. Wear comfortable shoes (and a comfortable bra for sure!) and bring a protein bar and a bottle of water. Go minimal with the outerwear so you don’t have to carry a jacket around everywhere you go (it’s hard to throw elbows when you are holding your coat). And bring a cross-body purse so you can be as hands-free as possible.
Last but not least… Have a positive Mindset!!!
Go into Black Friday with excitement and positive thoughts. Don’t let the stress get to you. My friends and I like to pump ourselves up like we are about to run a race and win! Maybe even plan to buy yourself one or two things you see on sale. You spent all this time preparing... enjoy it! Enjoy The rush of the crowds and the satisfying feeling of finding a great deal.
Most of all, enjoy the feeling of being DONE and kicking back and relaxing when it’s all over!
Enjoy some places to search for great Black Friday Sales:
Shopping.com (for price comparison and product reviews)