The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and we have officially entered the biggest shopping season of the year. It is certainly the most magical time of the year. I am a HUGE Black Friday shopper. It is when I get the bulk of my shopping done. I know that some of you avoid it like the plague and can’t imagine fighting the crowds. I totally get that, but I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks that I have learned through the years, that actually make this a day that I look forward to and one that I really enjoy. I shared a similar list last year, but I wanted to share it again with a few updates.
Study and Prepare
The key to a successful Black Friday shopping event is to be prepared. Start by making a list of everyone you need to get a gift for. Don’t leave anyone out. Then brainstorm ideas of possible things that you can get for each person. Having an idea of what you need to buy for everyone on your list will save you time in the long run. Yes, I know that there are always those people on your list that are hard to buy for and that you have no idea what to get. It is okay to have a few of those, but do not go into Black Friday without some kind of idea for a least the majority of your list. Then, start looking at all of the leaked Black Friday deals to see if you can find the best deals for each person on the list. Looking through the ads may even give you some ideas for those hard to shop for people. Then make sure you grab a newspaper on Thanksgiving Day. This will be filled with all of the adds. You can also usually find some great coupons in the paper as well. This will help you with your list too. Check out these sights for some of the Black Friday ads that have already been released.
Make a Game Plan
Once you have your lists and have found where all the best deals are, you will need to make a game plan. Decide which stores you need to go to, and then prioritize them. If you need to get an item that you know is going to sell out, make sure you go to that store first. This will likely be the hot ticket toys and electronics. Other things like clothes, jewelry, and shoes can wait until later in the day. Those things are not as likely to sell out right away. Make sure you check the ads carefully for door buster items that are only on sale for a short period of time. You want to make sure you hit those windows at the right time.
Set a Budget and Stick to it
This is part of the game plan I mentioned above but deserves its own tip. Have an idea of what you want to spend on each person on your list and try to stick to it. Trust me, you will thank me later if you follow this tip. It will help you not overspend. Make sure you plan for meals and snacks for the day too. Also, don’t forget to include a little extra so you can pamper yourself when you see that must have pair of shoes or adorable sweater on sale.
Go to Bed Early and Get up Early
Make sure that you go to bed early on Thursday night. Even you if plan to do some shopping on Thursday night, don’t stay out too late if you are planning to go again on Friday. Some stores will be opening as early as 6:00 Thanksgiving night, but I typically like to wait to go on Friday so I can spend time with my family for Thanksgiving. I can tell you from experience, the more rest you can get ahead of time, the better. Black Friday shopping is exhausting. If you are going to go out on Black Friday at all, you need to go early. The best deals, including door busters, start early. I feel like this is the best way to ensure you can get everything done and still have time to shop for yourself too!
Shop with a Friend or Family Member
Some of my best memories have been Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister every year as adults. It really became a tradition for us. From the Starbucks and Chick fil a first thing in the morning to the peppermint bark at Hallmark at the end of the day when we are exhausted, we have the best time. We laugh a lot and really just get to spend time together that we don’t get very often. I highly recommend that you brave the crowds with a friend or family member. It can be so much fun. Plus, one person can be a space holder in a long line while the other runs to grab items. Last year, I did not get to go with my mom and sister and went by myself. I have to admit that I did not enjoy it nearly as much. It was more business than fun when I did it alone, so go with a loved one and just have fun. I do recommend that you leave your kids at home. You will not accomplish much if your kids are in tow. They will be tired and bored, and meltdowns will ensue. You will be miserable and so will they. However, if your kids are adults, go for it.
Black Friday is not the day to look cute. You are going to be doing a ton of walking and you need comfortable shoes. My go to outfit is jeans and tennis shoes, or leggings and comfortable, flat boots. Dress in layers. It might be chilly early in the morning, but it will be so hot in some stores from the crowds that you can’t stand it. I recommend a sweater or sweatshirt over a t-shirt that you can tie around your waist. Leave the jackets in the car. Just remember that whatever layers you take off, you will have to carry around with you.
Hydrate and Feed your Body
This is probably one of the most important tips. Make sure you take time to eat and hydrate. It will certainly help to have fueled your body when the end of the day rolls around. Don’t hesitate to splurge on a few goodies as well. A warm donut, cookie or pretzel will go a long way at lifting your spirits when you are tired.
Choose Your Purse Carefully
This is so important because you will be lugging it around all day. You don’t want a big heavy purse that weighs you down when you are tired. I like to take a small crossbody purse with just the essentials. You do not need to carry everything that you normally carry in your purse day to day. Clean it out and only bring the things you need for that day. Your shoulders will thank you later! I prefer crossbody purses for shopping because it is harder for someone to grab and steal it from you when it is across your body and over your head. Plus, it seems to be a little easier on the shoulders with the weight distribution.
Don’t be Afraid of Lines
I know the long lines can be daunting, but most of them will move faster than you think. These stores are typically prepared for the influx of shoppers and have extra people on hand to make it run as smoothly and quickly as possible.
The number one rule for a successful Black Friday is to remember to have fun. Go out there and enjoy shopping for others. Remember why you are giving them a gift to begin with and know that it will likely put a smile on their face. Don’t forget that you can also do a little shopping for yourself too. You deserve it! I really believe that the experience is about more than just finding the best deal. It is about making memories that will last a lifetime. Go out there, shop till you drop, and have the best time ever!