No matter your financial status, at the end of the day, everyone loves getting a good deal when they’re shopping. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to save your hard earned dollars wherever you can? A few dollars saved here and there on several items (or, for larger items, a few hundred dollars) can definitely add up. So, given how much the world loves a bargain, it’s no surprise that Black Friday is increasingly becoming a bigger and bigger deal.
However, everyone has also seen the terrifying crowds on Black Friday and the news stories of people going… well… a little bit nuts, let’s be honest. All the press surrounding one of the biggest shopping days of the year can definitely make the average shopper reluctant to venture out into those crazy crowds to get items, even if they might be a very good deal, and exactly what the shopper is looking for.
Well, we’re here to tell you it doesn’t need to be so hard – it’s just all about the preparation. Sure, it’s going to be an exhausting endeavour if you just venture into the crowds with no idea what you want or where you want to go. This isn’t just a regular shopping day! However, if you follow our tips and do a few things to prepare for your shopping spree, you’ll find the only difficult thing deciding what to do with all the cash you’ve saved.
14 Make Your Budget
Most stores promote a lot of their Black Friday deals heavily, but they often hold a little something back. After all, they want people to come into the store whenever possible. Why, exactly? Impulse buyers! Retailers know that, while most shoppers vow to buy only what they need, they often get caught up in the rush of all the bargain hunting, and in the attitude of wanting to get the best deals – even if it’s an item you didn’t even want to begin with. So, to avoid getting caught up in things and buying unnecessarily (and blowing your budget), make a budget of what you want to spend before you step into any stores, online or in person.
13 Read The Ads
You wouldn’t get ready to make a super important speech without at least taking a few jot notes about the topics you want to cover, right? Well, Black Friday shopping is kind of similar. There might be a few things you know you’d like to get – some clothes and toys, for example, or a specific electronics item. However, if you just wander from store to store in search of those items, you’ll run the risk of facing empty shelves – or of buying an item that is priced lower a few stores down the road. The solution is to look through all the store ads, comparing the prices of the items you want or taking note of any particularly phenomenal deals that just can’t be passed up – for gifts, perhaps, or for items you may need down the road.
12 Decide Whether You Need In Store or Online
Everyone knows how crazy it can get in stores on Black Friday. People are running around like headless chickens, snatching items as quickly as they can, you’ll often have to wake up early to get the best items, and at the end of it all, you’re probably going to be waiting in a long line to pay for your purchase. Online sounds like a great alternative, right? Well, in some cases. There are a few tech-related things that can go wrong, such as website outages, but the main problem is that you’re not touching the item in question. It might be fine in some cases, but for things where the quality matters, you’re better off checking it out in person.
11 Make Your List
We know – when you’re all caught up in the bargain-frenzy shopping atmosphere, it can be easy to add a few more items into your shopping cart. What’s ten bucks here and there, right? Especially when it’s 75% off! Well, while one small item might not make a difference, those small impulse purchases can definitely add up and bring your total to way above what you wanted to spend. Plus, a lot of those impulse buys might not even be a great deal – you just think they are because of the Black Friday context. The best way to avoid wasting your money on a subpar deal is to make a list of the items you want before you head into the store – that way you won’t be tempted to buy needlessly.
10 Stay Calm, try Yoga
This may sound ridiculous, but black Friday shopping will be crazy and stressful and there is no better way to calm yourself down before the big day then to take a yoga class or a low intensity fitness class. Women and men will be fighting their way into stores and trying to get ahold of the same products you are after, stay calm and don't be one of those stories on the news of the woman who beat down another shopper over a purse. You are better than that!
9 Prepare a List of Alternates
Picture this – you walk into the store with a list of one item that you absolutely need to buy, you’ve done your research and found out the retailers offering it for the best price, and you have everything prepared. You walk over to the area of the store where the item in question should be, and find an empty shelf. What now? Black Friday is a pretty fast-paced event, and there are certain popular products that might go very, very quickly – like, within minutes quickly. So, try to avoid disappointment or panic by preparing a few backup options for if your first choice sells out.
8 Stalk Your Favorite Stores on Social Media
You’ve done all the work reading the Black Friday ads and finding out what deals each store is offering, that’s enough, right? Well, it’s a starting point – but there’s another avenue you need to explore if you’re hunting for the best deals. We’re talking about social media. In this day and age, pretty much every retailer will have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Instagram, you name it. They often include deals in their social media accounts, and while some of them might be repeats of the content found in their ads, it’s definitely possible to find a unique coupon or bargain that you may not have found elsewhere.
7 Consider Making a Drive
There’s something to be said for familiarity – if you’re going Black Friday shopping in a store where you go on a weekly basis, you’ll have the benefit of knowing the store’s general layout and feeling comfortable while you’re zooming around trying to pick up your items. However, if you know that your favorite store is crowded even on regular days, chances are it might be absolutely nuts on Black Friday. It may be worth it to make a drive to a store in a less populated area, or just a store you know tends to get less traffic, for the possibility of battling smaller crowds.
Okay, this one isn’t really a necessary part of prep – but, as coffee lovers, we’re going to go ahead and say that it is. Everyone knows the stereotype of bleary-eyed, sleep-walking Black Friday shoppers. We get it – you often have to get up early if you want the best bargains. However, the experience is going to be absolutely miserable if you show up uncaffeinated, unkempt, and generally just unhappy. It’s supposed to be fun, after all – it’s shopping! We suggest you take a few minutes, either before you leave for the stores or while you’re driving, to enjoy your favorite drink and get that caffeine pumping through your veins before you reach your destination.
5 Early Bird Gets the Worm
Yes, everyone knows that getting to the stores early on Black Friday is an essential part of getting the best deals. However, as Black Friday becomes a bigger and bigger draw every year with larger crowds, many retailers are trying to spread out the traffic by stretching sales out and creating Black Friday weekends, or even Black Friday weeks. I mean, why wouldn’t a store want to draw as many customers as they can? There may be a few showstopping deals that are only available on the day itself, but for smaller items, you’ll often find deals a few days before the big event. Why not take advantage and head in when there are far less shoppers to battle?
4 Dress Comfortably
Even if you’re heading to a store in the trendiest part of town, let’s be honest – Black Friday is not a fashion show. You’re there for one thing alone, and that’s to get some smoking deals on a few items that you have on your list. Now is not the time to rock those stiletto heels or that sequined mini, no matter how much you might want to celebrate all those dollars you’ll be saving. Dress comfortably. Especially if you’re going to be waiting outside for a bit (as many shoppers must), make sure to dress warm. And, of course, wear comfortable shoes – you’re going to be either running around or standing in long, long lines for hours.
3 Bring Snacks
Sure, most stores are near countless locations where you can pick up a snack, but why do all that preparation just to have someone else snap up the good deals because you needed to stop by a coffee shop for a muffin to tide you over? That’s for amateurs – join the pros by coming prepared with a few snacks. It doesn’t need to be complicated – just toss a few granola bars or some fruit into your bag, along with a bottle of water or two. That way, when others are retreating to fuel up mid-way through their shopping spree, you can forge ahead and snag all those crazy deals.
2 Supersize Your Savings
Those crazy deals are pretty much as good as it gets, right? Well, not exactly. Many stores have coupons or promotional deals during their regular shopping season, so why wouldn’t that extend to Black Friday? It can be easy to just take whatever price is given if an item is already heavily discounted, but if you’re truly looking to snag the best possible deal, take a few minutes to look for any coupons or relevant promos that a store might be running. You may not find anything, but it won’t take long to check, and at least you’ll know you got the absolute best deal possible.
1 Make Your Game Plan
You have your list of items that you want, you have your budget in hand, you have your list of alternates… what could go wrong? Well, a lot. While you can prepare yourself for a lot of things, you also need to take the logistics of the different stores into account. For example, check what time stores are opening – you don’t want to show up an hour after things kick off to be met with empty shelves. Consider how long it’ll take you to make the drive to the store in question. And, finally, scope out a few of the main stores you want to hit beforehand – if you know that you’re looking to pick up some specific items from a major department store, for example, you’re going to want to know what floor to go to.