Shopping on Black Friday isn’t for the faint of heart. With the right strategy, research and a solid plan, Black Friday can be very rewarding. It can allow you to save money or buy special items for your family and friends that you couldn’t normally afford. So here are some tips to make the most out of Black Friday!
Make a List
Santa isn’t the only one that needs to make a list and check it twice. You must make a list as well. Think about everyone that you need to buy a gift for, family, friends, co-workers, your children’s friends, neighbors and regular service providers.
Then think about your total budget. The goal is to use Black Friday to help you stick to or come under your budget.
Go old school and put your list into a computer program like Excel. Add budget numbers to each recipient to help you stay on budget. Or use one of the apps for the smart phones to keep track of your gift list.
Do Your Homework
Now that you have your list, you need to do your homework. Think about the retailers that you like or that would be good for people on your list.
Most retailers have gotten very savvy on their web sites and with social media. Many will be offering specials to people who are their “friends”, “follow them” or are signed up to get their specials by e-mail. Go to retailers web sites, Facebook and Twitter pages and sign up to get their specials, so you get their exclusive Black Friday deals.
Research Black Friday Ads
Many companies leak their Black Friday Ads. There are a number of web sites that compile Black Friday ads to give you a head start.
Add the items your interested in to your gift list. Make sure you include the store that has the item on special and the time the store is open.
Don’t Assume Every Deal is a Really Good Deal
Do your comparison shopping. Use the internet to check prices on items that you are considering. There are a number of sites that can help check prices including: Shopper, Price Grabber, Nextag and Price Watch.
Shop Online First
Look at your gift list and what you want to buy. Check to see if those stores are going to sell the items you’re interested in for the sales price on line. You maybe be able to buy some of the items online Thanksgiving night after you clean up the dishes.
Shopping online can also be a good idea for gifts that you need to ship. Many stores offer free shipping over the holidays and you can ship the gift directly to the recipient. This will save you the additional cost of shipping the item. There are a couple of sites that can help you locate free shipping deals. Freeshipping.org and freeshippingday.com
Finalize Your Plan of Attack
Look at your gift list and what you want to buy. Start with the items that you can save the most money on. Create a shopping list and time line. Make sure you have the store addresses, phone numbers and map (if needed) for the stores you are going to. Hit stores when they first open, get the item(s) that you need and get out quickly before the lines form so you can get to the next store when they open. On Black Friday a savvy shopper is a focused shopper, this isn’t the day to browse!
Make Sure You’re Ready
Eat a good breakfast and like your mom always reminded you, use the bathroom before you leave. Get dressed in layers so you’re comfortable in the crowds and while waiting outside for the store to open. Take a small cooler with snacks and drinks in the car with you. Only amateurs stop at the food court on Black Friday. Don’t forget to take along your gift list, your plan and your cell phone.
Shop the Local Mom and Pop Stores
Look for specials at your local Mom and Pop stores. They usually have sales as well and can be a good option in addition to the big box stores. Many times these stores offer very unique items and good prices. They can also be a great place to shop later in the day when the bigger stores are packed.