It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most stressful time of the year. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when you need to worry about getting gifts for everyone on your list, all while maintaining your sanity.
Have a peaceful Black Friday this year with this list of tips and tricks. Ok, it may not be peaceful, but it can definitely be less hectic.
Scout Out The Store The Day Before Thanksgiving
If you want to be a savvy Black Friday shopper, take a walk around your target stores (which may or may not actually be Target) the day before Thanksgiving.
Get a feel for the layout of the store and where all the inventory is. You don’t want to waste any time looking for items when the Black Friday rush hits. Now when you should up bright and early Friday morning you’ll have a game plan to optimize your shopping time!
Use The Amazon Shopping App
You can use Amazon’s shopping app to price match items in real-time. Just scan the barcode of the item in the store to make sure that it’s actually cheaper than the same item on Amazon.
You can also lookup items online before you go shopping to make sure that you’re not paying more than you need to. This is a great tool for a few reasons. First, if the item is cheaper on Amazon, but it online. Some stores will also price match Amazon, so you can the same deal in person and not wait for delivery!
Carry A Reusable Bag Instead Of A Shopping Cart
It’s way easier to maneuver your way around a crowded store with a bag over your shoulder than with a cart in front of you. You won’t clip anybody’s ankles, and you’ll be able to zip through the aisles faster.
These Ikea bags work super well. And then you can just put your items back in the bag when you’re done shopping. It’s good for you and the environment. If you have a shopping addiction, this will also appropriately limit just how much you can actually buy!
Shop On Thanksgiving
I know, I know. Nobody wants to go shopping on Thanksgiving. You want to stay home and enjoy your turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes. But do you know who else wants to enjoy those things? Literally everybody else.
Just sneak out before dinner and get a little bit of shopping in. Then you won’t have to brave the crowds the next day. More importantly, more and more stores open on Thanksgiving, so going on the holiday is a way to make sure you don’t miss out on a great deal.
Try To Limit Yourself To Two Stores
Trust me, if you want to save your money and your sanity, do not break to two store limit. This is why Black Friday is so profitable even though the prices are so low. It works because everybody ends up buying things they don’t need.
Don’t go crazy. Give yourself a monetary budget while you’re at it. It’s going to be easy to lose your sanity on Black Friday, so please take any preventative measure necessary
Don’t Wear Red In A Target
Seriously. I know this one sounds silly, but unless you want ten million people tapping you on the shoulder and asking you where they can find whatever specific vacuum cleaner they’re looking for, you’re just going to have to trust me.
We made this mistake once. Never again. Wear black and get your shopping done as peacefully as possible. Do you really want to be stuck trying to help people find what they want to buy instead of buying things for yourself?
Get In Line Early For Free Stuff
This tip is for all my early risers. Morning people, let me see you put your hands up! Wew!
Can you tell that I’m not a morning person? Lot’s of stores give out free things to the first 100 people in line. This could be you, and you could have all your Black Friday shopping done by ten AM.
Make Your Shopping List In Order Of Importance
Sorting items on your shopping list by priority gives you the best chance of getting your must-have items before stock runs out. It’s also a way to make sure you’re not overshopping or being sold on an item last minute because it’s on display as soon as you enter the store.
Pay attention to when the stores open. If you’re after a specific candle from Bath & Body Works, you don’t want to get there at 3:00.
Don’t Forget Cyber Monday Is A Thing
Sometimes the deals are even better on Cyber Monday than they are on Black Friday. This might mean taking a risk. Is it really a risk though to shop from the comfort of your bed instead of dealing with scary crowds.
Some hot items may not be in stock on Cyber Monday. But if the risk is worth it to you, waiting until Monday can be a great way to save a few bucks.
Sign Up For Store Emails At Least Two Weeks Before
I know being on a store’s mailing list can be annoying. We don’t always love a ping about a shoe sale when we’re waiting for an important email.
But sometimes stores send out amazing coupons and insider information in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Get on those mailing lists. You can unsubscribe on Saturday. It’s worth it if you can get an advantage over other shoppers on the busiest shopping day of the year!
Shop In A Group
When it comes to shopping on Black Friday, sometimes it’s best to divide and conquer. That way you can buy more things in less time. With all the time you save, you might as well go to a movie afterward!
Gather a bunch of friends, assign them each one store, and share your shopping lists with each other. That way everyone only has to wait in line one time, and you get all the items you were looking for.
Leave Your Kids At Home
The only thing more stressful than shopping on Black Friday is shopping with kids on Black Friday. It’s so easy for small humans to get lost in big crowds.
Have one parent stay home with the kids (if the kids are small) while the other parent tackles the mall. And if that’s not possible, hire a babysitter for a few hours. We’re sure there will be at least one available. As long as someone is watching the kid, you can shop til you drop.
Shop The Brands That Rarely Go On Sale
Some brands are marked down all year round, while other brands only have sales once or twice a year. Focus your Black Friday shopping on brands that rarely put their items on sale.
Think Apple, Vitamix, Oakley, and BOB Strollers. Don’t waste your time on items that are always marked down. The trick that no one tells you is that when items are always on sale, it means they are not as popular. Go for the high-end brands that only go on sale once a year to maximize your savings!
Stock Up On Gifts
You’ll inevitably be invited to some events over the coming year. Use Black Friday as an opportunity to stock up on gifts for birthdays, weddings, and baby showers. Tis the season, right? Don’t be overly greedy on Black Friday when you can you use it as a time to do something for other people in your life, too!
Just remember that those items are for gifting only. Don’t start opening them one day in July when you’re feeling bored.
Know Which Stores Take Black Friday Seriously
For the best Black Friday sales, check out big stores like Macy’s, JC Penny, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart. In past years, all of these stores have had savings of 40 to 56 percent.
These stores also sell a wide variety of items and brands, so you’ll be able to get all your shopping done in one place. Smaller specialty stores will only really be on sale if they are struggling in the overall market space.
Check Out Drugstores For Stocking Stuffers
Walgreens, RiteAid, and CVS all have amazing deals on Black Friday. Also, they have lots of coupons so you can maximize those deals even more.
Use this time to stock up on stocking stuffers. Those drugstores have so much candy and cosmetics on the shelves. Just make sure you have deep pockets when you go, we all know just how long a CVS receipt is when you buy a pack of gum!
Set A Budget And Stick To It
We said it already, but now we’re going to say it again. Make a budget and stick to your budget! If you’re not making any huge purchases, consider only paying with cash. This will force you to stick to your budget.
The goal is not to end up with a carload of things you don’t actually need. You know how much you can afford to spend. Don’t let the sales get the better of you.
Don’t Leave Your House Unless You’re Going To Save $50 Or More
It’s honestly not worth the gas or your time to trek out to a store on Black Friday if you’re not going to be saving at least fifty bucks. If you’re spending a few hundred dollars anyways, is it really worth it to save less than $50?
Stay home and wait for Cyber Monday for the ten-dollar deals. Black Friday can be really stressful. Don’t participate unless the stress is worth it.
Do Your Research
When it comes to Black Friday shopping, you want to get in and get out. Know what you want before you even step foot in a store. Don’t get stuck in the crowd and the same store for hours. Imagine how much more you can buy if you plan ahead!
Know the specs and product numbers of all the big items you’re looking for, especially for things like laptops and appliances.
Join Loyalty Programs Before Shopping
Lots of stores have programs that allow you to collect points and save money. Don’t miss out on these rewards just because it’s Black Friday. In some cases, you’ll save even more money with the member discounts offered by major retailers!
Check out stores in advance and sign up for their loyalty programs. You don’t just want to save some money, you want to save as much money as possible.