How it’s already November is beyond me, but that means a couple things for me. This is the start of the two months of the year where I’m like to consume more calories than I did the other ten months combined AND Black Friday shopping! Nathan and I have been getting up at ridiculous hours to go Black Friday shopping since we met back in 2008 and I was doing it with my dad since I was a little kid. Even though we’ve started buying more online over the past few years, I thought I’d share some of my top Black Friday shopping tips for getting the best deals both in store and online.
Start Shopping Now
Many stores have already kicked off some sort of sale event already, especially big retailers like Walmart and Best Buy. Amazon has also turned November into Black Friday month by starting their sales over the past weekend as well. Depending on the items you’re looking for, you may be able to score some pretty big deals without the hassle of the crowds and interrupting your Thanksgiving dinner right now!
Research Ahead of Time
This one is HUGE if you’re looking for big ticket items. Research how much it is before going on sale, the key characteristics you’re looking for, the places that carry it, the options you can get, the reviews on the product, etc. Researching it before all of the deals are out allows you time to really decide what your needs are and prevents you from making an impulse purchase on a product you won’t be happy with.
Know The Store
Whether you’re shopping online or in store, it’s important to know the store’s policies. What items can be returned? What items can be returned with a restocking fee? How long do you have to return items? Do you have to pay for return shipping? Knowing this may prevent you from buying from a certain store incase you may find a better deal elsewhere and the hassle of the return won’t be worth it. Also, you may want to look into other things like: What are the stores hours? Will the store be having their Black Friday deals online AND in store or only one of the two?
Also, some stores have maps for Black Friday – they are definitely worth checking out! Even if they don’t, some stores will have their deals out on the sales floor ahead of time so you can browse where they’ll be located ahead of time.
Once you know what you’re looking for, create a list. Use that list once you have access to all of the sales to check things off or list the places that have potential sales. Add to the list when the ads come out and you have somehow managed to find 27+ more things that you obviously need (or is that just me?) Once you’ve started your shopping, keep all of the receipts together. Even if you buy it online, print out the invoice. This makes for easier returns, checking prices, and knowing what you’ve already crossed off your list.
Include The Whole Family
If you are heading out to do some shopping on Black Friday, share your list with your friends and family! Divide and conquer if you can, but even if you can’t – they may run across a deal on an item that’s on your list at a place you wouldn’t shop at or even online at a place you weren’t looking. If you aren’t going to different stores, you can each go after different deals at the same store to be able to get more of your must-haves. If the line appears like it will be long as soon as you step in the store, you can also have someone hop in line while someone else goes after the deals.
Compare prices before you head out and go to the places that have the best deals on your most important items. Also, be sure to look at what the price gets you at each store. Some places will offer cheaper versions of a similar item for less so you may not be getting exactly the same thing OR you may need to spend more money on accessories. Also, some stores will allow price matching so this can greatly reduce the amount of stores that you go to if you find one that does. In the past, we’ve scored the best deals on movies, video games, and kitchen appliances that are from big brands and likely to be carried at most big retailers.
Even if you skip all of the Black Friday shopping tips I mentioned above, I’d suggest you try to follow this one because it is the most important one. And if you’re trying to go shopping with someone that can’t follow this one, you’re probably better off suggesting they stay in bed while you snag some awesome deals.
Do your best to have a good attitude, even if other people don’t. Smiles and friendliness can go a long way on Black Friday. You never know if you’ll run into the same person in a different department or even at another store, or if they’ll be the one in front of you in line. And help yourself stay in a good mood by wearing layers and comfortable shoes and bringing snacks and entertainment (like a book or iPad.) Also, skip anything unnecessary like a purse or even a cart at times as they can just get in the way if you’re trying to grab a limited item.