If you’re looking for Black Friday shopping tips, you’ve come to the right place. My father was a retail store manager and I spent part of my career working for a computer manufacturer, so I have a little experience from both the supplier and retailer end of things that might help take away some of the stress of getting the best deals.
Black Friday has actually stretched into Thanksgiving, with many retailers opening up on Thursday evening. Some start advertising on Monday, others wait until Wednesday or Thursday to publish their deals. Heading out Friday morning, or Thursday evening, without a plan can be stressful and costly.
With a little planning you can have a successful day of shopping.
Black Friday Shopping Step 1: The Pre-planning Stage
If you want to get the best deals and stay within your budget with minimal stress, the time to start your Black Friday shopping is before the ads even come out.
* Set a budget and stick to it. The sales during Black Friday may be great, but unless you want to be paying for that new TV until next Christmas or longer, you need to know what you can actually afford to spend.
* Make a list of people you are shopping for and possible gift ideas. Click here to download our free printable gift and shopping planners:
* I give you permission to add yourself to the gift list if there is room in your budget. A new camera is on mine as well as an air fryer, but only if I can get great deals on them.
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Black Friday Shopping Step 2: Create Your Game Plan
One Black Friday, a major retailer (who shall remain nameless), sold an exclusive model of our laptop computers for $400. The minute the ad hit, our sales team was fielding calls from our other customers irate that we gave such a great deal to their competitors. We didn’t, the retailer took a loss of over $200 per unit. Crazy, right? Not really. Each store had only 3 available with no rain checks. They sold out within 30 minutes of each store opening and then upsold customers to a more profitable product.
The take away for you is each store will probably have a few of these “loss leaders” in different categories. If you really have to have that specific item, be prepared to camp out or miss out.
Once you get the Black Friday ads it’s time to create your game plan:
* Look through the ads and decide which gifts you’d like to purchase for each person on your list.
* Make a list of items you want to buy from each store and mark the sales paper.
* Plan which stores you’ll go to first. You obviously won’t be able to get to each store as it opens since many will open at the same time. Prioritize your store list by those that have the most items you want or any must haves that could be sold out by the time you get there.
* After you have made your list, check online to see if the same offers are available online as in the stores. You may even be able to find some sales not available in physical stores.
* Ladies, now is also the time to plan which purse to take with you. The Security Diva has a great article about purse safety when shopping that is important everyday, but particularly on Black Friday.
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Black Friday Shopping Step 3: Hit the Stores!
Shopping Time! Put on your most comfortable walking shoes and your smile before you head out the door.
Anyone that has worked retail can attest that Black Friday can be a tough shift. To make the day better for them, your fellow shoppers and for yourself don’t be a jerk. The folks at the corporate office are the ones that decided to only put 3 computers at the store, not the sales associate on the floor Black Friday. The managers didn’t even know the deal. The cashier can’t do anything about the long lines or computer glitches.
Yelling at store employees solves nothing and makes everyone, yourself included, feel worse.
Make an employee’s day and give them a smile and maybe even a “thank you”. Be the change you want to see in the world.
Okay, enough lectures on to our last set of tips:
* Protect yourself while you’re out and about. Take only your driver’s license and the debit or credit cards you know you’ll use. You may also want to carry cash if you don’t use plastic and carry it in a pocket rather than a purse. Cover the panel when inputting your PIN and put the cards away as soon as you’re done.
* Be sure to take along the sales papers from each store you plan to go to. Some stores will match their competitor’s sales prices, but you won’t get the price if the store isn’t aware of the other store’s price. Of course, not all stores will match prices, but it’s worth a try.
* Pay attention to or ask about a store’s return policy on Black Friday sale items. You’ll also want to be sure to get a receipt for every item you buy. You definitely won’t be able to return an item without a receipt.
* After you get the items on your list, look around for unadvertised sales. Just remember your budget!
These Black Friday shopping tips may help you be more successful than if you don’t have a plan at all. Remember to be careful both in the store and in traffic. If you can, share the day with a friend or family to make the day more enjoyable.