I love a good deal, so I’ve been shopping Black Friday for years. My whole family gets involved, and every year we perfect our strategy.
With the big day coming up, here are some helpful tips (most of which we’ve learned the hard way):
1) Make your list
BEFORE shopping for Black Friday, make a list if what you’d like to buy. Otherwise, it’s too easy to buy items you’ll never use (or no one wants).
If you won’t use it, it’s not a good deal. Even if it’s free.
2) Follow deal sites
Scope out sites that highlight good deals – it will save you lots of time.
I follow www.blackfriday.com to see Black Friday ads in advance.
I also follow www.hip2save.com because it highlights TONS of individual deals as they happen.
Let someone else do the work for you.
3) Consider prices & set alerts
If there are a few hot ticket items you want, figure out what a good deal would actually be. Consider buying BEFORE Black Friday if a good deal pops up (you can always return it if you get a better deal):
- Visit www.amazon.com and find the item you want
- Copy the URL
- Then, visit www.camelcamelcamel.com and paste the amazon URL in their search engine
- They will find the item and tell you the lowest and highest price it’s been, so you know what’s reasonable
- You can also type in your email address & it will alert you when your item drops in price!!
4) Map out ads
On Thanksgiving Day (or ahead of time if you view them online), spend an hour or two looking through ads and make a list of items that match your shopping list.
Several of my family members do this, and then we combine all of our lists, organizing them by store.
5) Buy online
Many stores offer Black Friday deals online before stores even open – use this when possible.
It’s much easier to search for items online then to fight through a crowd.
Also, most stores (including Amazon) offer free shipping if your purchase is over a certain amount. You can beat the rush AND have purchases delivered to your door for free. Win/win!
6) Arrive early
If you do go out, remember to arrive early if you want big ticket items and/or to avoid wrap-around-the-store checkout lines.
I skip the electronics, so I don’t need to line up at midnight, but for general sale items I arrive right when a store is opening. This usually means I can find 90% of the items I want, which is good enough to me.
7) Go in pairs
Use the buddy system in stores by taking someone with you.
My family will send “teams” of people; each team has 2-3 stores they shop, using the lists we created the day before. We shop together, splitting up to find items when needed.
If a store line starts getting long (this can happen immediately), one person can wait in the checkout line while the other one finishes shopping. This will literally save you HOURS of time, and is worth bribing someone with a free breakfast to get them to go with you.
8) Let your children sleep
Every year I run into frazzled parents with their infants or young children bundled up and crying in a stroller. They often arrive before a store opens so their kids are freezing and upset before shopping even starts. Yikes. These same couples are seen frantically trying to navigate aisles with their (still crying) child in tow while crows of people jump in front of them to get the good deals.
Not worth it for parents OR kids.
If you have a child, stick with online shopping, or arrange for someone to hang out at home so your kid(s) can sleep in their warm beds. Then do your shopping like a champ (without a stroller) so you can get in and out of stores quickly… and maybe even get some extra sleep when you get back (if you’re lucky).
9) Evaluate purchases & return excess
After you shop, evaluate your purchases and return anything you don’t use or plan to give as gifts. You’ll likely have a few impulse buys or items that you need to send in for a rebate.
Keep all receipts just in case, and send in for any rebates within a week to make sure it happens.
10) Remember the REAL reason for the season
It’s easy to get so caught up in finding great deals that we forget to enjoy our family and friends. This season is about thanking God for what we already have, remembering God’s greatest gift to us, and showing love to others.
Slow down. Pray. Invest time in those around you. Call someone. Play a board game. Smile.
Quality time with others is worth far more than a new TV or fuzzy slippers.
What are YOUR tips for Black Friday?