Can you believe it? The Black Friday count down has begun! Amid all the chaos and crowds, some of the best deals of the season are just waiting for you to snap them up.
Are you ready to score your best deals?
Ten Favorite Black Friday Shopping Tips
Shopping Black Friday sales and deals can result in some pretty sweet savings. It can also be a bit intimidating to many a shopper, me included. So how do I approach Black Friday shopping? With a little pre-Black Friday preparation, that’s how! It’s key to my survival come that crazy shopping day, and helps me score the deals I want.
Need inspiration to prepare for your own Black Friday shopping day? Here’s my favorite Black Friday shopping tips to help you score your own sweet deals.
1. Create a Black Friday Shopping List
Creating a Black Friday shopping list is the perfect way to kick off your Black Friday shopping extravaganza. I start with my Holiday gift list because, well, I need to purchase these items for the Holidays! The list should also include Black Friday deals you want to buy, as well as where to find them.
I’m a big fan of shopping lists. Not only do they help keep your eye on the prize, they help prevent overspending. I’m not a fan of creating my own though! I download and print a pre-made shopping list – my favorite is Coupon.com’s Black Friday Shopping List.
2. Comparison Shop Before You Hit The Mall
Know before you go what’s on sale at what price, and where for the items on your shopping list. Then check prices one last time on Thanksgiving day. The Holiday season is a dynamic shopping time, with prices changing at the drop of a hat. And just because it’s Black Friday doesn’t mean everything is a good deal. More on that in the next tip!
Comparison shopping before you buy is your best bet for finding the deals you want. Here’s a list of My Favorite Black Friday Shopping Apps you can use to compare retailers’ deals before you head out to the mall on Black Friday. They’re also great for comparing Cyber Monday pricing too.
3. Know What NOT to Buy
Black Friday is chock full of shoppers’ bargains. But not everything is a bargain on Black Friday. As a rule of thumb, you might want to hold on purchasing these following items.
- Holiday decorations
- Winter clothes and boots
- Most toys
- Brand name HDTVs
- Electronics Accessories
- Fitness Equipment
- Bedding and Blankets
Better deals are just around the corner so holding out on purchasing these items until later in the Holiday season, or better still, in January, could mean scoring a better price. There are always exceptions, though, like a Doorbuster deal.
4. Have A Black Friday Shopping Strategy
Malls will be crowded, parking lots difficult to navigate, Doorbuster deals and Early Bird specials hard to score. Having a shopping strategy can save not only money, but time as well. Oh, and quite possibly a headache or your sanity too!
Use your Black Friday Shopping List to make a shopping plan and set priorities. Map out what stores you need to go to first, and which ones you can save for later. A shopping strategy is especially helpful if you plan to score Doorbusters at more than one store.
A Word on Doorbusters: Doorbusters are typically limited inventory and sell out fast. Consider shopping with a friend and splitting up the Doorbuster deals. You get one, she gets the other! You both win.
5. Arm Yourself with Mobile Technology
Put your smart phone to work! Arm yourself with a few favorite shopping apps before you head on over to that Black Friday sale. Those apps might just save you money, time, and lots of aggravation. Here’s a few of my favorites that I know I will be using.
- My Favorite Black Friday Shopping Apps
- Favorite Mall apps like Simon Malls
- Favorite retailer’s mobile apps like Target, Walmart, Bestbuy.
- ShopSavvy for on-the-go price checks
Using a few key shopping apps can go a long way in ensuring you get in, get the deal, and get out, with your sanity still intact. Apps are also great for online searches for coveted items already sold out at the store.
6. Shop Black Friday Sales Online
Did you know that many retailers actually release their Black Friday deals at their online stores on Thursday, often before the brick and mortar stores open their doors? And, sometimes the online deals are even better than in the stores! So sit back and enjoy family and friends around the Thanksgiving table. Then while everyone else sleeps off that awesome Thanksgiving meal, head on over to that computer and score yourself some early Black Friday deals. A great way to get the deal and avoid the crowds!
Online Shopping Advice – Be aware of shipping fees before you place your order.
7. Know When The Retailers’ Doors Open
Retailers are opening their doors to Black Friday shopper searlier and earlier, with many opening as early as Thanksgiving Day. If there is a Black Friday deal you must have, waiting until Friday to shop for that much coveted item could mean depleted inventory. If you must be there at the opening to score that deal, then check the retailer’s website or Brad’s Black Friday Store Hours to know what time to head out the door.
Who knows? With the stores opening at all different hours, you might even be able to score more than one Doobuster deal.
8. Ask for A Price Match
Found the item you want, but not as low as the retailer down the road? Ask for a price match! You never know. Read more about price matching at The Art of The Price Match.
Don’t forget to save your receipts. Check prices of big ticket items in the weeks to come for possible further price reductions. Who knows? You may be able to get a price reduction on an item you already purchased!
9. Know Store Return Policies
Whether shopping online, or shopping at the mall, it’s always good to know the store’s return policy. Especially if you get caught up in a frenzied shopper’s moment and purchase something that you just don’t remember why you purchased it! 🙂
10. Shop With Friends!
Shop with friends or family, have fun and don’t get caught up in all that Black Friday drama. Enjoy the day! If you aren’t having fun, then why do it?
That’s my ultimate goal! I shop early Friday morning (like, 5:00am early) with friends or family, and end my shopping morning with a nice, yummy breakfast.
What’s Your Black Friday Shopping Strategy?
So many deals, so many ads, and who’s got the best deal? Is that price only available as an Early Bird or Doorbuster special? It’s enough to drive a shopper insane!
How do I maintain my sanity on Black Friday? I use these shopping tips! And these three strategies are the keys to managing my own Black Friday-aphobia:
Strategy #1 – Comparison Shop! The weekend before Thanksgiving I put together my shopping list, complete with who has the deals for the items on my list.
Strategy #2 – Shop online first! Often the retailer’s online store is open for Black Friday sales and deals before the brick and mortar stores are open. And I hate crowds.
Strategy #3 – Shop early, with friends or family! We get up early, get in, and get out early. Then have breakfast. I really don’t like crowds.
What’s your Black Friday shopping strategy? Do you have any tips to keeping your sanity intact while shopping Black Friday? Or do you just avoid the day altogether? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Images from Coupons.com, TGIBlackFriday.com, Amazon, Walmart. KirkCrawford via Flickr (Breakfast), and piper724_2008.