Are you a Black Friday shopper? In the past, I have left my house at 3:00 AM and returned home back in bed by 9:00 AM! Last year, I completed approximately 80% of my Christmas shopping on Black Friday.
There are unbelievable deals to be had on Black Friday, but you must have a plan. The following are secrets I have learned over the years to a successful Black Friday shopping experience.
1. Most importantly – make your list ahead of time! One of the biggest mistakes people make while shopping on Black Friday is going crazy and buying way more than they need. Also, think beyond Christmas while making your list. If your budget allows, this is a great opportunity to add to your gift stockpile for birthdays or replace any outdated computer equipment or appliances. Check online for a preview of the Black Friday ads at sites like The Black Friday.
2. Prioritize your list! Decide which items are your top priorities. These are the items you shop for first. You may want to make the most expensive items your top priority because you will probably get the most savings on these items. Or, you may want to prioritize items you have already promised to purchase. Always remember, you will not be able to get every available deal.
3. Try not to stress and take it too seriously! There will be tons of people after the same deals you are and you will not be able to get everything on your wish list.
4. You have to shop early! The Doorbuster Sales go very fast. The better the sale, the earlier you will want to get there.
5. Shop with a friend! I always shop with my sister. We can split up and cover different areas of the stores. This way we can pick up things on each other’s lists too. Last year, we exchanged lists at Walmart and then each hit a different side of the store. Later at Kohl’s, one person immediately stood in the long checkout line while the other person did the actual shopping. By the time I was done shopping, she was ready to checkout!
6. Map out your shopping trip! Decide where you will shop first and then what order to hit the rest of your stores. Always allow plenty of time. You will be standing in long lines! My favorite is to start at 24 hour stores so I am not standing out in the cold. I love a bargain, but nothing is worth freezing over!
7. Do not forget about price matching! There are several stores which price match nowadays. This will save you from running all across town. Last year, I was able to price match several toys at Walmart which were on sale at Toys R Us. I also price matched several DVD’s on sale at Best Buy. Read more about price matching here.
8. Use Coupons! Use coupons with sale items to get rock bottom prices. Many stores have coupons out on Black Friday. See a list of retail coupons HERE. Don’t forget that several stores will accept competitor’s coupons (click HERE for a list of stores). One store might have the item on sale and the other store might have a coupon for the item. If the store accepts competitors coupons you can get the sale item and use your coupon!
9. Watch for Marketing Gimmicks!
- Be careful of add on items-The big ticket item may be on sale, but watch the prices on all the accessories! You might want to just buy the sale item and wait or shop around for the add on items. Example: A video game system is on sale but all the accessories that go with the system are full price.
- Limited Quantity-Some of the stores have very limited quantity on Black Friday. They use a few big ticket items to get people in the door, but only have a few of the items to sell.
- Not a Great Deal-It may look like a great deal, but it is really not. Do your research before you go and know what the regular price is. Use BizRate.com to compare prices. Don’t forget to ask about the return policy!
- Brands you Don’t Know-Sometimes you will see brands you have never heard of. Again do some research to ensure the quality of the product. Try checking online for customer reviews.
Gifts on a Budget:
- Free $10 Gift Cards (Starbucks, Gap and More)
- Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in Half is on sale for $5.60
- FREE 8 X 10 photo canvas from Canvas People (a $55 value)