10 Tips to a Successful Black Friday Shopping Trip

2007 – 7 months pregnant and in line by 5am!

In America I have 3 favorite days. 3 holidays that I love celebrating and get giddy about:
Christmas, Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Even before they asked me the citizenship questions last year, I felt like telling them how American I was to say that Black Friday has become one of my fave things! I mean what could be better for a confessed frugal shopaholic than getting up at 4am and driving to the stores to stand in line with a bunch of other crazies hunting down bargains??!! In 2007 I had the privilege of showing a couple of Thai friends what all the fuss was about and they were addicted too!! Guess it’s contagious!

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving so named for the stores that were in the red, going into the black with so many people starting their Christmas shopping. It’s also the time of year that frugal shoppers can score some great deals. Here’s how to get the most out of it:

1) Check the online ads before the newspapers even publish them. You can see most of them here. Then on Thursday grab a paper and while you’re waiting for the bird to cook, scour over them and see what you’re going after. Some of the stores give GREAT coupons on the papers so if you want some goodies, grab a few papers. it may be worth it.

2) Don’t buy unnecessary things! A dear friend of mine always said, “If you wouldn’t purchase it if it wasn’t on sale, it’s not a bargain!” Now I don’t quite agree as sometimes I can make deals work for me, but I’ve learned that just because it’s cheaper doesn’t mean I should buy 10!

3) Check the coupons you have as some can be used on Black Friday. Sometimes you can get retail store coupons by signing up to their online newsletters or rewards programs. Stocking up on coupons in advance for Black Friday can add to significant savings.

4) Some stores use confusing terms:
AR = After Rebate
MIR = Mail In Rebate
For more frugalite terms check this out.

The Game Plan on the day

1) Scour the ads and know what you’re going for. Circle it in the paper and keep that with you.

2) Take a shopping bag with you. There are never enough carts for everyone and you can’t carry it all on your head!!

3) Keep track of the timing. I usually work out where I want to go and then start off at the store that opens first and work my way to others. Special sale promotions like “Doorbusters” & “Early Bird Specials” start as early as 4am & last only a few hours. Get to your desired stores early in the morning or they will run out.

4) Know store policies on returns & gift cards before you buy.

5) Get in and get out of the stores as quick as possible if you’ve got other places to go.

6) Safety first ~ Don’t shop alone if at all possible. Park in well lit areas & be sure to lock your vehicle. Avoid carrying large sums of cash or wearing expensive jewelry. If possible women should leave their purses at home. Be sure to hide anything you may buy when placed in your vehicle so not to be visible.

7) Be sure to wear comfortable clothing & shoes.

8) Go with others. Not only is it best safety-wise but one of you can stand in the usually hour long lines while the other shops and then switch.

9) Take a drink, a snack and go potty first!
Sure it sounds silly but those things kill time. Having said that I love the accomplishment of sitting in Panera at 8.30am having got through most of my Christmas list!

10) Some stores will price match and therefore you don’t have to hit all the stores, just a couple.

Don’t fancy dealing with the hustle bustle? Many stores who participate in Black Friday sales offer the same or similar sales / promotions on their online websites. Check out Ebates or Shop at Home

So, are you going out shopping this year? Do you have a tradition or hate Black Friday? Drop us a comment and let us know what you’re leaving the house at 3.30am for!

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