I am not one of those! I go with a plan, and I usually stick with it.
To make the most of your Black Friday shopping, get a shopping partner lined up early. I usually go with my mom, but this year she is heading over the mountains to my brother’s home to celebrate Thanksgiving. So I was going to be alone (sad, I know). I called a dear friend who lives near where we are going to be and she agreed to be foolish with me and get up SUPER early to shop. Love it!
Having a shopping partner is a must. One of you gets in line and the other goes for the coffee. That way you have something warm in your hands and you have someone to talk to, although I do talk to the other fools in line with me. That is half the fun. I like to find out what everyone is focused on or standing in line for. I can gauge how serious I have to be for my item.
Step 1: Make a list of everyone you have to/want to buy for. This gives you a focus as you peruse the advertisements.
Step 2: Look at the sales.
Usually, I get the newspaper on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. But stores have made it sort of a moot point this year. Stores like Walmart, Target, and Sears begin sales on Thursday. Argh. Can I just say, STOP IT. You are ruining my system!! You are messing with MY shopping. So this year, you have to pay attention to the sneak peeks out there.
Here are a few that I have been looking at:
As you look through the ads, note the items that you think would work for people on your list. You will also want to make note of what store has the item and what time the store opens. If a store has the same item on sale, you can compare price and times. For example: if Target has a toy I would like to buy and opens at 4:00 and Kohl’s has the same toy but opens at 6:00 I would probably go to Kohl’s. Sleep is just as important as a good deal. But if one store has it for $10 less, then I am going there.
If you want some great comparison on prices, ThriftyNWmom.com will put a red star by the favorite deals of the week. The gals on this site have done an awesome job showing the deals and the “best” for each store. Check them out.
Step 3: Plan your attack.
You have to know what stores you will be going to and in what order you will get there. I avoid the really scary stores like Walmart (people get in fights) or Best Buy (people camp out overnight in line). Toys R Us is another I usually do not shop at on Friday; so many people, so many kids!
Once I figure out what stores I want to go to, I look at what times they open. This year is going to look different, just because so many stupid stores are opening on Thursday. I am not sure how I will do this. I have to decide if what I want to get is a good enough deal to head out on Thanksgiving Day… probably not. Family comes first.
Here is a sample schedule:
- Target: 9 p.m. Thursday
- Kohl’s: midnight
- Sears: 8 p.m. Thursday, 4 a.m. Friday
- JC Penney: 6 a.m.
- JoAnn Fabrics: 7 a.m.
Then I plan how early to get in line. If the item is a really hot deal, I plan at least an hour early, sometimes two. So a 4 a.m. opening would have me there around 3:00 or 3:30. I won’t do an overnight stay, which is why I avoid Best Buy and Cabela’s.
Step 4: Gather your gear.
You want to make sure you have gloves, hat, scarf, and jacket piled by the door. Wear your comfortable running shoes, you may need to dart through an aisle or two. Clothes, folded neatly on the bathroom counter. This is so you don’t wake anyone while you are sneaking out to the stores. My children don’t need to be up that early. Then set your alarm. Text your shopping partner to confirm starting time and location.
Step 5: Go to bed. You have an early day ahead. Or don’t go to bed if you are starting on Thursday.
Step 6: Shop.
Go get those deals and have fun. One year, I had a lady chase me down with a shopping cart, I was seven months pregnant and not moving fast enough for her. That was the only time I have ever lost my cool shopping. I politely, firmly, and loudly explained that she would have to wait like everyone else. The others around cheered for me. So, watch out for the mean shoppers. Be kind to the clerks; they are working crappy hours for you to be shopping. Laugh and talk to everyone around you. Sing Christmas songs!
Step 7: Go to bed.
Yep, you deserve that nap. I am usually home by 10 a.m. with my shopping done, or mostly done for the season.