It’s almost here! The biggest shopping day of the year. The day that millions of people venture out, after stuffing themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie, to snag those must-have items at the lowest price possible.
As a previous retail store manager, I can tell you that this day is not my favorite. In fact, I hate it. If you have never worked in the retail world, let me tell you that being on the other side of the register on Black Friday is just about the worst thing in the history of all things. Retail managers plan for Black Friday months in advance. They spend countless hours behind the scenes making sure that this day will go smoothly for everyone involved. They hire and train extra employees to help cover all the workload, and they usually have to leave their own Thanksgiving dinners early to go into work that day! Needless to say…be nice to the workers!
OK…now that that is out of the way… we can get into some tips and tricks that I have to help make your Black Friday shopping run a little smoother.
PRIORITIZE! Know in advance what you are wanting to purchase and the best retailer to get it from. What are your MUST HAVE items? Are they sold at the same retailer? If not, which ones are the priority? You will waste a lot of time driving from store to store unless you plan out which ones you need to hit first and which ones can wait. For a list of Black Friday ads click here.
PLAN! There are thousands of retail stores participating in Black Friday but that does not mean that they are all opening at the same time. These days a lot of retailers open Thanksgiving night or even earlier! Old Navy is opening at 3pm Thanksgiving Day! Target will be opening on Thanksgiving at 5pm BUT will close at 1am and then reopen again at 7am. For a list of stores and their hours on Black Friday click here. For local malls, you need to call their office number off their website and check. Even malls in the same city have different owners and will be open at different times.
COORDINATE WITH A FRIEND! Or, is there a family member you can coordinate with? Maybe they can pick up your items from Target while you are grabbing the items they need from Walmart! Even if they decide to shop online, they can still keep an eye out for certain items you need! Not to mention, I would suggest that you always shop with someone and do not go at it alone. Sometimes there are so many people shopping in a store that there are not any carts available. If you are looking to purchase larger items, how in the world are you going to carry everything!? **Be sure to grab a cart from the parking lot before heading in….they may be all taken inside!
DONT FORGET TO EAT! Just because the stores are open for Black Friday does not mean the restaurants are. If you are venturing out at 1am or 3am be sure to take some food with you! Pack some granola bars, nuts, and some bottles of water to keep you from getting “hangry”!
SHOP ONLINE! Don’t forget that Cyber Monday is just a few days later! If there is something you were unable to get Black Friday it might still be on sale Monday. For a list of Cyber Monday ads click here.
MAKE IT FUN! Christmas shopping should not be a negative and annoying event. Yes, you want the best deal possible, and that is totally understandable. But if you continue to stress out and over-analyze your Christmas shopping year after year, I suggest you take a step back. Do your kids really want that toy? Or do YOU feel that they have to have it? Does your sister-in-law want that scarf anyways? Does your husband really NEED another pair of socks!? Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday and you can find great gifts from smaller, local boutiques around your area that most people would not think of.
BUDGET! Oh yes, the dreaded budget…. No one likes it, but most need it. Set a budget and stick with it. You will thank yourself later. Grab the items you were planning to get and try to not add any others. Do not put stuff in your cart just because “it’s a great deal!”. Everything that day is a “great deal”, that’s the whole point! Some people just can’t help themselves. Whatever you do, SAVE THE RECEIPTS! That way when you realize on Saturday how much you spent and start to have a mild panic attack you can take some items back.
Whether you adventure out this Black Friday or stay home (…me!), just be sure to enjoy your Thanksgiving with family and friends. Be grateful and remember that the Christmas Season is not really about the gifts anyway, but who you spend it with. (Suuuuuper cheesy! But oh so TRUE!)