Do you do Black Friday? I can’t remember how long I’ve been shopping on Black Friday but it’s one of my favorite days of the year. There’s something quite exhilarating about the hunt and finishing up your Christmas shopping in one day. Now I know there are plenty of people who think Black Friday’ers are crazy. But they’re wrong! The stories of chaos make the news because they’re rare. Almost every year I meet extraordinarily nice people while waiting in lines and I have a ton of fun. (And no injuries yet!)
- Plan before Thanksgiving. Have a list of the things you hope to find on Black Friday and take a sneak peek at the Black Friday ads online. There are multiple Black Friday websites that preview ads, but in recent years the stores themselves have been previewing their promotions on social media. Check their Facebook pages for special advance info.
- Thanksgiving night make your plan of attack. Take your newspaper, sort the ads by store opening time and make a schedule for where you’ll go first. Place a priority on things you think will sell out and try to head to those stores first. There are usually very few items that will actually require you to camp out, and those are usually in the electronics category. Think about the places that might have what you want that won’t be as popular as the big box stores. For example, last year Best Buy and HH Gregg both had similar netbook offers, but HH Gregg had a line a fraction of the size of Best Buy.
- Think beyond Christmas. I am hoping to purchase a new washer and dryer on Black Friday, depending on what deals I can find. There are lots of great deals on linens, small appliances and more on Black Friday, so don’t be afraid to do a little shopping for yourself, too.
- Skip the perks. Lots of stores offer little prizes to the first few people in line. If it’s something you really want go for it, but in most cases the lines will be around the block for hours before the store opens even for very small things.
- Have a plan and stick to it. Black Friday is NOT the day to do any sort of regular shopping. It’s not time to browse. If you know what you want you can grab it and head right for the line. Cashiers are ready as soon as the store opens, but it takes a while for the lines to start to back up.
- Investigate price matching policies. Most stores don’t match prices for things that are marked as doorbusters, but outside of those exclusions you can work the system to your advantage. Last year there was a great deal on a portable DVD player at Target. Target sold out, but Walmart had the exact same player and I was able to pick it up at the Target price.
- Be prepared. I always dress warmer than I ever think I’ll need to on Black Friday and I’m always grateful. I take my iPod loaded up with some of my favorite things. I also always take the store ads with me. Not only does it help you make your plan of attack, there’s also always someone in line who will ask to take a peek. It’s a great way to make friends.
- Have fun! Black Friday really is fun as long as you set out with the right attitude. Plan ahead, dress warm and remember…if you don’t find something on Black Friday there’s always Cyber Monday.