Can you believe that Black Friday is only two days away?!? If you’re planning to hit the sales, it really pays to do some prep work ahead of time to ensure that you walk away feeling like you got the most for your time and money. With these Black Friday shopping tips, your day will be a much more enjoyable experience. More importantly, you’ll feel good about walking away happy with what you’ve bought and what you’ve spent.
11 Black Friday Shopping Tips
Because Black Friday is NOT the best time to shop just to browse — you’ve got to have a plan!
1. Make a list.
Write out a list, and check it twice! To maximize your time and savings (and prevent overspending just because something looks like a great deal), make two lists — a shopping list of the deals you want to take advantage of and a gift list with the people that you still need to buy for.
Start by scanning the Black Friday ads and writing down any deals that are within your budget for yourself or as a gift on your Black Friday shopping list. Identifying these awesome deals in advance is a key first step in helping you not only save money that day but lots of time, as well.
Before you head out, also make a separate gift list to take with you with the people that you still need to buy for. This will help you keep your eyes peeled for unadvertised specials that are a perfect gift you may not have considered before!
Choose the items that are your highest priority after you complete your shopping list. Prioritize both by store and by item so that you start with the deals that are most important to you and move on from there.
3. Be realistic.
Realistically, you’re going to have to choose just one doorbuster item at one store as your top priority, because you simply won’t be able to wait in line to be the first person at each store. Be practical about how much you can get done in the amount of time you have to shop and how long your energy will hold up.
4. Research prices ahead of time.
Not all advertised deals are as great as they seem. Beware of inflated retail prices that make a sale price seem better than average! Spend some time researching the low prices of any items you’re hoping to score so that you know what’s really a deal and what’s not.
Brush up on stores’ return and price matching policies at this time, as well. You may not need to drive clear across town for that must-have gift when you realize that another store right next door to an earlier stop will price match a competitor!
5. Carry the sale ads with you (or at least your smartphone).
Carrying the sale ads sounds like a pain, but they can be a huge help in a pinch. Say you’re planning to buy a Keurig at a specific store, but it’s sold out when you arrive. You’ll be able to check to see what the sale prices are at the other stores on your list. Or you might come across a deal you hadn’t noticed in an ad and want to compare the price to the other sales to make sure it’s a good deal.
Smart phone users can just access the weekly ads directly from their phones while shopping. How convenient is it to just pull an ad up on your phone to cross check prices and compare features while you’re out and about? You may even want to bookmark the ads for stores you’re planning to shop before you leave home.
6. Wear comfy layers.
If you’re planning to stand in line outside early in the morning, it may be chilly. Dress accordingly so that you’re not miserably cold while you wait, but be sure to wear appropriate layers so that you can shed them as the day warms up and as you race around the stores!
I’ve already got my Black Friday shopping outfit laid out — organic cotton essentials from prAna! In addition to using sustainable business practices, prAna’s organic cotton is grown free of herbicides, pesticides and GMOs.
The Kara jeans are, quite simply, THE most comfortable denim I’ve ever own. Not quite a jegging, not quite true jeans, they’re super flattering and, because they’re meant to be rolled, they’re the perfect length for just about any height.
I’m layering a light silk camisole under my Devan henley, which I am totally in love with. It’s super soft and cozy, and I adore the longer length of the sleeves. I have long arms and often find myself pushing my sleeves up because they hit at an awkward point where they just look too short — totally not the case with this slub cotton-blend jersey. And the velvet drawstring adds such a pretty feminine touch.
One last thing and then I’ll quit yammering on about prAna clothing… This is what really sold me on their brand. ALL of the tags in their clothing are sewed on after the clothing is constructed, instead of into the seams. The itchy tags that come in most clothing irritate my skin. Even the remnants left behind after cutting them out annoy me. With prAna clothing, snipping a couple of tiny threads with a pair of embroidery scissors allows me to remove the tag completely. Sometimes it’s the little things, you know!
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7. Bring snacks and water.
Pack plenty of healthy snacks and water so that you have something to eat and drink while you wait in line or drive between stops. Waiting too long to eat because you’re afraid you’ll miss a great deal will affect your mood and energy level, so don’t do it!
8. Take a shopping partner.
Taking a shopping partner who is interested in the same deals as you is a great way to score multiple deals at your first stop. Split up when the doors open and each head for a different section. Pick up two products instead of just one and then split them between you!
9. Leave the kids at home
Dragging young children around on Black Friday will most likely just make you, them AND everyone around you miserable. If you’re like me, you’ll probably end up spending more than you intended, getting less of what you want and feel frustrated and overwhelmed in the process. Leave the kids home so you can focus on your list, your budget and the deals. You’ll enjoy your day much more!
10. Set your expectations.
While it’s important to have a list of the items you’d like to get so that you don’t end up wandering through a store, don’t expect to get everything on your list. Some items may be sold out, shopping at a certain store may take longer than you planned, or you may just run out of steam. This is when the time you spent creating a priority list really pays off. Work through your list in order –this way you get the most important gifts taken care of first.
11. Be kind.
Some people approach Black Friday like a contest and consider everyone else their competition. They become so focused on their goal — to save money and buy more stuff — that they forget to take the time to be kind. Try being friendly instead, building a camaraderie with the shoppers and store employees around you. A little smile goes a long way!
Bonus Tip: Wait until Cyber Monday
While many people find the challenge of Black Friday stimulating and fun, it can be stressful and frustrating if your heart’s not really in the game. If you’re looking for great deals but don’t want to deal with the hassle and the crowds, plan on shopping online on Cyber Monday instead. Even though the savings might not be quite as good as the Black Friday doorbusters in stores, the extra sleep and low-key day following Thanksgiving may be worth it!
Do you usually shop on Black Friday? Share your best Black Friday shopping tips in the comments!
This post is in partnership with prAna.com. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site possible!