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Secrets to Black Friday Shopping

There is a magic to shopping on Black Friday. You can’t just go; that’s how people get into trouble. Yes, I know most stores pull back their good sales they are having the week before and only have limited items on sale with some really good deals. Stores know people are caught up in the hype and will buy because it is Black Friday.

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.

By Trulybst

Pursuing life to its fullest. A woman, a mom, wife, and struggling teacher who knows the importance of treating myself right.

7 replies on “Secrets to Black Friday Shopping”

My sister and I go every year. We're disappointed that some of our favorite places to hit black friday  will be opening on Thursday so we wont be going to them this year but we are still gonna shop elsewhere.We make a plan of attack cirle the sales sheet items we want, get a cofee and it. is. on. We never go to the places with the super crazy lines and we have been pretty lucky with the crowds not being insane. I love getting 90% of my Christmas shopping done in one day ,which if they were open only regular business hours I wouldn't be able to from most places due to my work schedule.

It’s funny- I live one mile from a shopping mecca, yet I spend Thanksgiving weekend in a retail desert. We sometimes go later in the day on Friday, for some of the all-day deals that go on, but I’ve never gotten up early/not gone to sleep.

I can see as my kids’ tastes get more expensive, the benefit of finding rock-bottom prices and actively hunting them. Right now, at 7 and 4,they are fairly easy to buy for.

Last year I got my son’s BMX bike for half price. Again, I only go if there is a really good deal that is so absurdly amazing. Go with a plan on what you want, get that item and head right for the register. Don’t meander or you will end up in the HUGE lines. 10 minutes max after the store opens you should be in the register line.

I understand why people do Black Friday, but it’s not for me. :) Still, if I were to do it, I like how you set up this how-to! One of my roommates was all about Black Friday shopping, and I poked fun at her until she pointed out that she had gotten all of her Christmas shopping done in one day and was able to get her family pretty nice Christmas presents. After realizing that, I shut up about the shopping thing. It’s not for me, but I get why people do it. (But I really do feel bad for people who work in retail and need to deal with all of the craziness of the ordeal like PoM below.)

I do not understand the impulse to shop on Black Friday. This week will mark my 19th or 20th Black Friday working in retail, and I hate everything about it. It’s not the biggest shopping day of the year, everyone is rude and pushy, and the whole “opening at absurd hours” thing has gotten way out of hand.

It really has gotten out of hand. I think the stores opening are Thursday are taking it way to far. Thanksgiving is a family day, so spend it with friends and family enjoy lots of fun food. I worked retail for a few years and totally get how some people are really rude.

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