Black Friday Tips and Tricks

Black Friday
Graphic by Krista Wallden at Creative Clips

Hello my loyal readers! I hope you all are gearing up for Thanksgiving this week with a little time off of work and out of school.  I know I am ready for it.  My Christmas decorations are for sure going up this week, and I can’t wait! I know that I normally do a style post on Mondays, but I decided that I would do something different today instead.  One of the biggest shopping days of the year is 4 days away so I wanted to talk to you a little bit about how to shop for great deals for your family and friends but also for clothing for yourself on Black Friday. For a shop-a-holic like me, this is one of the best days of the year!  How many of you go out and brave the shops? Do you start on Thursday or do you wait for Friday?  My mom, sister, and I have made it a tradition to head out early Friday morning every year and shop until we literally drop.  We always start with a quick trip to Starbucks (hot chocolate only for me), and then we hit Chick-fil-a right next door for some yummy Chicken Minis for breakfast.  Who doesn’t love Chicken Minis from Chick-fil-a? They are so good! Another big tradition that day for us is stopping by the Hallmark store to pick up some of their peppermint bark for another yummy treat.  We also like to get some warm cookies from the Great American Cookie Company.  Yes, we eat a lot on Black Friday. Hey, shopping all day in the crazy crowds is exhausting and we work up an appetite! I promise you that we walk it all off! Black Friday shopping with the two of them holds some of my favorite memories. There might be a really funny story of one of us being very pregnant while Black Friday shopping and laughing so hard that the preggo peed in her pants in the shoe department of Target. I won’t say which one of us it was, but I am sure you can guess. I’m not sure that we have ever laughed so hard. What a fun time that was! I am sad to say, though, that I won’t be able to go with them this year as we have decided not to travel down for Thanksgiving this year. I haven’ t decided yet if I will brave it alone on Black Friday here or not this year.  I don’t know if I will be in the mood to do it by myself but I probably won’t be able to resist it.  We will see.

Now, I know that most of you that head out for Black Friday shopping are focused on getting gifts for others at great deals, especially if you have kids.  Well, let me tell you that you should also take the time to focus on yourself while Black Friday shopping.  Honestly, I actually do the majority of shopping for my kids online before Black Friday. It’s just easier that way.  I find that trying to shop for toys on Black Friday is pretty chaotic.  Plus, it never fails that my youngest want THE HOT TOY of the year, and I know if I don’t purchase it early, I won’t ever et it. This is the day when I get the majority of my wardrobe.  There are so many amazing deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories on this day.  I am on the hunt for new boots this year because the majority of my boots somehow got destroyed in the move.  I don’t know what happened but all of my boots are cracking and peeling.  It’s crazy! Anyway, if you don’t want to brave the crowds, most stores also have great deals online.  Some have even started their sales already. I personally prefer to try things on in the store, but that is totally up to you.  Here are some of my tips for getting the most for your money on Black Friday.

1. Study and Prepare:

All this week before you head out on Friday, look at all of the leaked Black Friday ads online, and be sure to get a newspaper on Thursday.  That’s where all of the printed ads will be, and some stores put coupons in the paper that are good on that day.  Macy’s is one of those stores that always has coupons in the Thursday paper. Compare prices.  You want to make sure you are getting the best deal. Check out these sights for a link to all of your the Black Friday sneak peeks.

2. Make a list:

Make a list of all of the things you need to get for others first. Note what stores have the best deal on those items. Prioritize the list in order of importance. Then add to the list things that you would like to have for yourself (boots for me). Shopping without a list will cause you to buy items that you had not intended to buy.  You can’t go into the day blind.  You have to know what you are looking for.  I always make a list for each of my kids of all the things they have asked for. Then I highlight the things that I plan to or have already ordered for them, and I will pass was is left on the list to family. Then I make a list of all of the other people that I have to buy gifts for.  Make sure you have everyone on the list.  If I have an idea for that person, I will right it down. Otherwise I just have their name listed so I don’t forget to look for something.  I also know about how much I want to spend on those people so I am prepared when I am looking.

3. Make a Game Plan

From the ads, make a game plan. The ads will tell you what time the door buster specials start and end. Using your list, map out the order of what stores you are going to visit. Decide which stores have the must have items and go to those first. Checkout the door buster deals that are only available for a certain time period. Be sure to check coupons too. They are often limited to a certain time period as well.  Just prioritize! It is always better to go with a plan than the head out blindly. Otherwise, you will miss some of the items that you really want or you will end up buying things on the fly that you don’t really want.

4. Go to bed early on Thursday

Black Friday shopping is exhausting. If you can, try to go to bed early so you can get as much rest as possible.  It should be easy to fall asleep with a full belly of all the Thanksgiving goodies you have eaten all day. If you do go out shopping on Thursday, don’t stay out late if you are planning to go out on Friday too.  You need sleep.  I personally prefer to go just on Friday as I look at Thanksgiving day as time with my family that I don’t want to give up.

5. Get up Early

The earlier you can get started, the more likely you are to be able to get all of the things on your list. I personally believe that going early is the key to being able to have time to shop for yourself.  If you hit all of the stores early and get the things that you need for everyone else, you will be able to shop for yourself later in the day.

6. Shop with a friend or family member

Being with others is so much more fun.  Plus, one of you can hold a place in a very long line while the other one runs to get the things you need.  This will save you time later on.

7. Don’t bring your kids

If you have small children, do not bring them with you.  They will only slow you down and make shopping miserable for you and them. They will get tired. They will get bored. They will have meltdowns. This is not the day to go visit Santa. Leave them all at home!

8. Dress comfortably

This is not the day to dress up. This is not the day to wear heels.  This is not the day to wear a dress.  Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Jeans and tennis shoes or leggings and flat boots with a sweater are my go-tos for Black Friday.  Trust me! It is also a good idea to dress in layers.  Sometimes it is cold when you head out early in the morning but it is going to be hot in the stores.  There are so many people shopping that all of the body heat often makes the stores feel like a sauna.  Just remember that whatever layers you shed, you have to carry them with you.  I don’t recommend wearing a big bulky coat that you will have to carry.

9. Be willing to stay all day

Most stores will continue their sales all day and sometimes into Saturday.  This means that you can still shop for yourself in the evening.  You will still get amazing deals late in the day. If you really want to get the most out of Black Friday shopping, you should plan to stay all day.  My mom, sister, and I always end the day with a late dinner and then head home exhausted, but it’s always worth it.

10. Hydrate and Fuel

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day and don’t forget to stop for meals. Most places will give you water for free. Don’t forget to stop and eat lunch, and splurge on those goodies like the ones I mentioned above too.  You deserve it for all the craziness you will endure on Black Friday.

11. Set a Budget and Stick to It

If you make a game plan and have done your preparations beforehand, you will know about how much money you will need to get the items on your list.  Then add a little extra for those items that you see for yourself. I personally like to go with cash and try not to spend more than that amount. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I really like to try to stay within my budget.  Just don’t forget to budget for unexpected items, food, and things for yourself.

12. Choose your Purse Carefully

Trust me! You do NOT want to be lugging around a big heavy purse.  Using a smaller one is less weight on your shoulders. Include only the things that you need for shopping.  You don’t need all of the things that you carry in your purse on a regular basis, and you don’t need a big full, heavy wallet. Just bring the essentials.  I recommend a crossbody purse because it is harder for someone to steal your purse if it is around your body, and it prevents you from setting it down in a buggy where someone can grab it easily when you aren’t looking.

13. Hold on to your Phone

Do not put your phone down anywhere! Even if you go to the bathroom! Do not set it down anywhere! Trust me! Two years ago on Black Friday, I went to the bathroom in Toys R Us with my phone in my back pocket.  Well, when I was in the stall, I set my phone on top of the toilet paper holder so it wouldn’t fall into the toilet.  I walked out without my phone.  Less than a minute later it was gone when I went back to get it.  Yep, someone stole it and I never got it back.  That added a ton of stress to the day and really ruined my mood to keep shopping.  Don’t be dumb like me! Keep it in your purse!

14. Don’t be Afraid of Lines

Yes, I know the lines are dreadful and no one wants to stand there.  I promise you that it will be worth it in the long run. They do often run faster than you think.  These retailers have experience and know what it takes to get as many people through the lines as possible.

15. Shop for Yourself

As I said earlier, Black Friday is when I get the best deals on clothing, shoes, and accessories for myself.  There are so many great deals out there.  You just have to find them. Use some of my styles I have shown you as inspiration.  Check out my Pinterest Boards for more style inspiration. My favorite places to shop for myself on Black Friday where I get the best deals are the following:

  • Old Navy-They usually have the best deals on clothing, and I always tend to get a ton of things from here.

  • Belk-This is a great place to shop for shoes. They typically have a huge sale on shoes.  This is where a lot of my boots come from. I am so bummed that we don’t have one here so I will miss out on this one this year.

  • Target-My favorite store ever! Don’t forget Target as a great place to get clothes and accessories. Don’t just go there shopping for toys. I always find great deals on clothing here as well as accessories like scarves and jewelry. 

  • Bath and Body Works-If you love their lotion, body wash, and hand soaps like I do, Black Friday is the best time to stock up for the entire year.  I’m serious. Black Friday is the only time that I shop at this store. I can get enough items at a huge discount (sometimes free) to last me the whole year.  Look out in the mail for coupons from them too. They allow you to use the coupons on top of the already great deals!

  • Kohl’s-This is another great place to shop for yourself. Whether it is clothes, shoes, purses, or accessories, they have great deals.

  • Rack Room Shoes-This is another great place to shop for shoes that are heavily discounted. 

  • New York and Company-I don’t really shop here as much as I used to when I was working, but I think they are worth mentioning for accessories.  I have found really cute jewelry and purses here on Black Friday. 

  • Victoria’s Secret-I like to go here on Black Friday to stock up on underwear and bras.  They are so expensive normally so this is the best time to get them for a huge discount.

  • Gap, American Eagle, Loft, Banana Republic-I don’t really shop these stores much during the year do to the more expensive prices (unless it is an outlet), but they can have great deals on Black Friday that are worth checking out if you have time. I would leave these to last, though.

16. Have Fun

Above all, have a good time.  Enjoy being with whoever is shopping with you.  Black Friday shopping is just as much about the experience as it is about the great deals.

I hope these tips and tricks will help you have a successful day of shopping, and that it will remind you to shop for yourself too. Yes, Christmas is the season for giving, but you have to remember to give to yourself too.  You deserve it!  Happy shopping everyone! Come back and let me know what cute deals you score!

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