How to Win at Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday: The second day of a 4 day weekend. The day after Thanksgiving when most of your family is in town and everyone loves each other because they just got done expressing their thankfulness. The day that almost every single store in the nation has their ‘best’ sales that they will have all year long. The day you spend pulling an all nighter shopping with you best friend, mom, sister, etc. The day you eat breakfast at 2 AM after standing in line at Best Buy for 3 hours to purchase a TV. The day it is acceptable to drink Starbucks coffee on the hour every hour (including at 3AM). The day that makes it OK for you to NEED new luggage, a new printer, another fluffy warm blanket from Kohl’s, the Sephora gift set that includes all of the awesome sample size moisturizers you haven’t tried yet, and another flat screen-60 inch-surround sound-floating-invisible-decor approved TV. The day that you prepare for by clipping coupons and or ads OR by pitching a tent outside of Best Buy, Kohl’s, Sephora (in my case) 2+ days in advance to 1. Make it on the news 2. Score one of the amazing 60 inch-surround sound-floating-invisible-decor approved flat screen TVs (or the moisturizing holiday kit from Sephora). 

Wether you are a Black Friday olympian, basic shopper, or stay-at home-er I want to share with you how you can master Black Friday. So, in order to prepare myself and all of you for the ultimate Black Friday experience I did some digging and have compiled my own lessons learned below. I would love to know if you are a Black Friday Olympian, basic shopper or stay-at home-er (and please give me all the tips you have)! 

For the stay at Home-er

  1. Sleep in. 
  2. Wear flannel pajamas, drink coffee and watch the news reporting on the Black Friday Olympians and the brawls that they have been in so far. 
  3. If you really need that vacuum that is $10.00 cheaper today compared to yesterday or tomorrow you will most likely find it on Amazon (if not online at Kohl’s, Best Buy, Target, etc.). 
  4. Eat left over turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
  5. Snuggle with your dog.
  6. Make cookies and eat cookie dough.
  7. Watch Christmas movies.

For the Basic Shopper

1. Dress for the occasion: Assuming you don’t plan on running into an old ex or that snotty girl from high school plan to wear comfortable and light clothes & shoes. If you absolutely need to look cute (which you likely do anyway), put on some no-makeup-makeup, throw your hair up in a messy bun then choose an outfit that is cute but comfortable: Black leggings with an oversized sweatshirt and a cross body purse (you don’t want to hold on to a purse while 100+ people are running into you). Wear either slip on boots (they’re easier to get off in the dressing room) or a pair of stylish and comfortable converse.

Although it may be snowing or cold, try to avoid wearing a coat, scarf or mittens (unless they fit in your purse) because trust me girl, you will get so sick of carrying them around and you will get hot. Remember, you’re just running from car to store (unless you plan to stop and build a snowman along the way...then reconsider your outfit choice).

2. Prepare to cardio: Parking lots are going to be full, jam-packed. Prepare to run through rain, snow, or 80 degree humidity (if you’re somewhere in the south). Prepare to carry heavy bags and or push squeaky carts across the parking lot of whereever you may be. If you’re in a downtown area with only street parking, make sure you arrive earlier than you think you have to, to drive around looking for parking. Prepare to run or sprint to the very last suitcase set, TV or fluffy blanket that has a killer deal today and only today. As I mentioned before; dress for the occasion (especially if you are a Black Friday Olympian) 

3. Brush up on your manners (and fighting words)

When you put hundreds of Black Friday Olympians and basic shoppers in one room there will be fighting words and bad manners. (If you feel you need a little boost to be able to handle this, be sure to read the Black Friday Blessing). Now be the classy lady you are, and prepare yourself to be overwhelmed, stressed and annoyed. When the mom with a baby is trying to snatch the very last Apple TV from your hand either politely say "I’m sorry but I really need this" and walk away with all your classiness or hand her the Apple TV and understand that she probably needs this more than you if she’s trying to snatch it out of your hand, baby and all.

If someone is throwing fighting words at you over the last of something; keep in mind this product will be available again and again and this is probably NOT the best deal you can get on it anyway. When you are being nudged, pushed and people are budging in line, politely say "excuse me" or "excuse you" with a smile on your face. Nothing ever gets accomplished with a bad attitude, right? Now, if you encounter a situation where fighting words are needed, either say meet me outside (because the store is packed and you have no room to battle in there), or let it go and take some deep breaths. 

4. Make it a girls' day

Bring along your mom, best friend, sister, cousin. Make it fun, make it a tradition. I have seen some people even make T-shirts or wear matching outfits. Besides, the more people you have with you the more people can hold your place in line while you shop. Also, the more people can run in different directions for different items that you need and that are limited in supply. Secretly put them to work but also enjoy coffee, laughs and people-watching with your girls!

5. Entertainment & Necessities

You will be standing in lines and for very long periods of time. Make sure you are equipped with everything you may need. One year I was in line at Bath and Body works when a woman fainted right in front of me. Luckily she was okay and just needed her inhaler due to the stuffy room. What I am saying is… bring your inhaler, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, deodorant, mints or gum, a friend (in case you faint), a book to read in line, your phone for photos & games, etc. Again, be prepared to be stuffed in a store with hundreds of people. But it’s totally fun, I promise (insert monkey-covering eyes emoji). 

For the Black Friday Olympian

1. Follow all steps listed for the basic shopper, PLUS:

2. Prepare in advance

Stalk necessary websites for Black Friday deals and make a list of things you have to get. Use websites such as BlackFriday.info to check out most, if not all ads. Make sure that you prioritize…The thing you need the most should be at the top of your shopping list. Also strategize by planning out your route for the day.

3. Price check & Compare: Find all of the stores (or websites) selling that item you need and compare prices. It also never hurts to ask stores to price match. Best Buy will price match anything on Amazon.com and it is almost always cheaper on Amazon! Keep in mind, some stores may not price match on Black Friday as it is a large and busy shopping day.

4. Use funds wisely

Use your credit card for all purchases if possible (Cash is a good alternative to stay within budget, but if you get pick-pocketed it’s gone). Now with the new chips in credit cards, it is a lot more difficult to have your information stolen from your card. However, a lot of credit cards have not converted to the chip, so proceed with caution. If your information were compromised, fraud protection is weaker for debit cards and you could be liable for up to $500 in purchases if you do not report the fraud within 48 hours. Credit card liability is significantly lower, starting around $50. 

5. Know a deal VS. good marketing

Many stores will increase their prices then slap on a % off sticker to make you think you’re getting a deal. Many experts say that you will get your best deal on electronics on Black Friday and your worst deal on clothes. The weekend before Christmas typically has even better sales than Black Friday.

You’re maybe wondering what Black Friday category I fall into. Well, I used to be the stay at home-er until my senior year of high school when my mom made me go to Kohl’s at 3AM to get her a suitcase set. I waited in line, froze my butt off and YES I got the last suitcase set.You’d think I’d never do it again…but nowadays I would identify as a Basic Black Friday shopper. If you are planning to get out there this year, be sure to be blessed by the Black Friday Shopper Blessing before you brave the crowds. 

Happy shopping my friends! But most importantly. Happy Thanksgiving.