For those of us serious Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, the thrill of the hunt is at least as exhilarating as the right purchase at the right price. With just over a week to go before the big weekend begins, the time is now to start prepping for your shopping experience. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure you are purchasing what you really want and that you are best able to fight off your fierce consumer competition.
Know the Lingo
If this is your first time attempting a Black Friday shopping spree, you have to know the lingo used by everyone. First, Doorbusters are the best deals with the biggest discounts. Nearly every store ad will highlight these for you and the deals are usually good until about noon. However, store inventory is severely limited with doorbusters. They are discounted to get you in the door. Be prepared to get there early, and I mean early for these.
This sounds easy enough but its not, especially if you’re a parent or serious shopper in need of several different stores’ doorbusters.
Decide what you need: Are you buying a new TV? If so, do you want Plasma, LCD or LED? PCWorld has a great article explaining the differences .
Know where the deals are: Now that you know what you want to buy, its time to see what and where the deals are. You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving Day newspapers to find out the deals. There are two really good Black Friday sites I’ve followed for several years that already have most ‘ad scans’ up already (Black-Friday.net and Blackfriday.com). I prefer Black-Friday.net since they allow you to keep a ‘shopping list’ and tends to get ‘leaked ads’ before the other deals.
Shop early. No, don’t buy. Shop: Most big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart already have their doorbusters available (just not at the discounted price). Go, see the product you want. Touch it, feel it. Is it still what you want? Good. Now you’ve solved two problems. Buyers remorse and tactical maneuvers of where the product is in the store and the fastest way to get to that product or products.
When do doors open?: One of the easiest ways of making Black Friday shopping into serious war games is to strategically plan your attack. Some stores like Old Navy are open on Thanksgiving Day, so you can shop there early. Toys R’ Us usually opens around midnight, Best Buy between 3 and 6 in the morning depending on the store.
Doorbuster? Some Camp Out Required
If you want that doorbuster laptop from Best buy, I’m afraid you will have to get your feet cold. The last 3 years running, we wanted laptops from Best Buy. We started to wait in line at 8pm the night before, and we were not first in line!
Camp like a pro. We brought hot cocoa, a bottle of wine, a dome tent, hibachi grill, and sleeping bags. You do what you can to stay warm and have fun. Pretend you are waiting for a concert. Think of it this way: Last year my wife and I saved $700 from doorbuster deals. Divide $700 by 2 and then the number of hours we camped out and we each made about $50 an hour.
Store to Store Schematic
If you need a doorbuster from Best Buy and some great deals on clothes at Kohl’s, camp out at Best Buy (otherwise you won’t get the doorbuster) and as soon as you’re done, drive over to Kohl’s. If you are only interested in doorbusters at your first stop, trust me, once the door opens, you will be in and out within 30 minutes.
Avoid the Cold and Avoid the Lines
Many of the big box stores are providing the same doorbuster deals online in the early hours Thanksgiving morning. Best Buy did this last year. We bought one of our doorbusters via their website late Wednesday saving us at least some hassle on Friday. If you can get away with these online deals, do it. The only negative is that these online specials go very quickly and are announced closer to Thanksgiving Day than the leaked out scan of store ads.
To be true, Cyber Mondays are for TigerDirect.com, Newegg.com, Amazon.com, and shoppers unwilling to fight the crowds. If you don’t want computer parts or books from Amazon.com, and you are willing to fight the crowds, Cyber Mondays are nothing more than a last ditch effort at stores gaining Black Friday holdouts.
In all, Black Friday can be very fun, very long, and very cost effective if done right. Follow these steps and you will get what you want and be happy with what you buy. Happy shopping.