Bargain hunters, our favorite time of the year is finally here, Black Friday. For all my Royals outside of the U.S. or unaware, Black Friday marks the beginning of a weekend filled with unbelievable deals on basically EVERYTHING. It unofficially marks the first day of Christmas shopping and is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. Savings on highly sought after Christmas gifts like electronics, high-end accessories, and clothes draw very large crowds that can be overwhelming and even sometimes dangerous (I’ve seen people get ran over when the doors of a store open). As a bargain hunter that’s also into fashion and the latest electronics, I would be a hypocrite to tell anyone to stay home on Black Friday because of the crowds. So instead, I’m going to equip you all with tips for surviving Black Friday. The key to Black Friday success is your preparation!
Analyze the ads. Many stores release their ads as early as the first week of November. I would recommend you start checking online for the ads and in-store during your regular shopping trips around this time. Be sure you aren’t only looking at the merchandise and prices, but also the fine print. Here you will find special store hours, the time period for each deal, if the deal requires a mail-in rebate, or if there is a limited quantity. Adriana of Daily Dose of Design put together an amazing list of The 9 best apps for Black Friday shopping, many of which allow you to analyze and compare ads right from your mobile device!
Clip your coupons. Many stores will allow you to combine coupons on top of the already amazing deal. You will want to look for these coupons in the print ads. Be sure you don’t forget them the day of!
Plan for doorbusters. Doorbusters are items in high demand because of their huge price cut and limited quantity. They are also usually time-sensitive so you basically need to lead the pack to make sure you get one of these deals. It often makes the most sense to start your shopping day here, as these deals often don’t last longer than the first two hours they’re available.
Create a Schedule and Map. Alright, so now that you’ve selected your doorbusters you need to physically map out your plan of attack. You need to know when stores open and the route you are going to take to get from one to the next. If you’re in St. Louis, Chesterfield Commons is great because it has over 100 stores, including Target, Sams, Old Navy, and Best Buy AND it’s close to both high-end outlets.
So now that you know where you’re going and what you’re getting, we can get to the day of stuff that will keep you safe and sound:
Take a friend. My mom and I have been Black Friday shopping together for as long as I can remember. Having her with me makes waiting in line fun and makes shopping easier, as we can divide and conquer. Additionally, from a safety standpoint, after you’ve bought half a store, you’ll be a lot safer if you aren’t walking to your car alone.
Carry a cross-body bag. A cross-body will allow you to keep your hands free, which will be important when you’re diving after the last tablet that’s $200 off its usual price. This bag will also allow you to keep your money more secure, as thieves will not be able to just tear it from your shoulder or out of your hands as you try to juggle all your new goodies.
Dress comfortably and strategically. This is not the time for heels, your hair down, and a fresh mani. Things get pretty serious when people stand to save hundreds of dollars and you need to be dressed accordingly. This means sneakers, hair pulled back, layers (you may need to wait outside in line and you don’t want to be cold), and for reasons previously noted, your cross-body bag. You need to basically be dressed for the gym. There will probably be running involved and you never know when you’ll need to hold a 60″ TV to keep a soccer mom from putting in her cart while you wait for your shopping buddy to come with your own cart.
Leave the kids at home. As I’ve already stated, things can get pretty serious and this is the LAST place for children. You don’t have time to keep up with a kid that’s trying to wander off and considering how cut throat some adults get, you don’t need the extra drama that will come when a desperate mom snatches the last $4 copy of Frozen out of you kid’s hands.
Lastly, and maybe most important, stay hydrated and fed. It’s really easy to lose track of the last time you ate when you’re caught up in the whirlwind that is saving money. Make sure you pack at least two snacks and a bottle of water in your cross-body and/or car. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on a cool new laptop for $200 because you fainted from having low blood sugar.
By now you’re either feeling totally ready to conquer Black Friday or you’ve started sweating profusely. If you’re feeling the latter, don’t fret you can still catch some awesome deals this weekend and right from the comfort of your home! You read that right bargain hunters, Cyber Monday is right after Black Friday and as the name suggests these will be savings found online! Erica of Coming Up Roses put together an awesome guide on where to find the best Cyber Monday Deals!
Will you be Black Friday shopping this year? What are your tips for surviving Black Friday? What good deals will you be shopping this year?