My family and I go to Myrtle Beach each Thanksgiving with our friends. It is nice to take a four-day weekend to relax before all of the hectic holiday chaos begins in December. The one tradition that my friend and I have is shopping on Black Friday. We get up before the hotel staff even comes on duty to drive to our chosen store to begin a 15 to 18 hour shopping day in and around Myrtle Beach. With so many outlets and specialty stores, we never run out of places to shop on Black Friday. We have developed a system for making it through Black Friday without giving out early or missing any bargains but it has only come from years of trial and error.
In addition to being patient, you stand in lines all day, these Black Friday tips will hope you survive the day and find the best bargains.
1. Dress in layers – I made this mistake last year when I stood for 2 ½ hours in front of Target dressed in blue jeans, a long sleeve sweater and sandals when it was only 44 degrees. Normally that would not bother me; however, I did not anticipate the bitter winds. Dress in layers if you are going to be standing outside for hours waiting to get into the first store so that you can shed them during the day.
2. Wear comfortable shoes and take a spare pair – On Black Friday you stand in line more than you actually shop, whether it is the line to get in the store or the line to check out. Comfortable shoes are a must for Black Friday so never, ever wear a brand new pair of shoes – – they need to be broken in and worn. Furthermore, I take an extra pair of shoes (tennis shoes if I start in sandals and vice versa if I start in tennis shoes) so that when my feet get tired I can change shoes to help them feel revived.
3. Comfortable clothing – In addition to wearing layers, make sure those layers are comfortable. This is not the time for tight skirts, super skinny tight jeans or a skirt. Pockets are also a great accessory because I stick my driver’s license, cash and credit card in a pocket so I do not need to carry a purse. If I do carry a purse, I use my small purse that slips over my shoulder. Your hands need to be free for grabbing bargains.
4. Plan your day – My friend and I begin downloading Black Friday ads from websites as soon as they are released (Search “Black Friday ads” and you will find dozens of websites with the ads already posted). We begin making our list of items we want to purchase this year. Beside each item, we note the stores and prices as we shop the ads. Thanksgiving Day we purchase a local paper, go through the ads, and pull coupons and double check our lists. After we are finished reviewing each ad, we look over our list to see which stores have the lowest prices and the most items on our list. We compare the opening times of the stores to see which one we will hit first (usually the one opening first) and then plan our day by listing the stores in order of priority.
5. Take breaks often throughout the day – My friend and I usually take a break to eat a late breakfast and then snack throughout the rest of the day. By breakfast, we have usually hit at least four stores and been shopping for seven hours. Instead of eating another full meal, we take breaks to have coffee and a pastry or an appetizer while we listen to a band at the local bar.
6. Combine purchases for more savings – My friend and I will usually check out together and then split the bill later to take advantage of coupons or bargains on larger purchases. Watch for coupons in the ads for money off a certain amount and then combine your purchases to save money.
7. Plan for the impulsive purchases – I always take an extra amount of cash that I have saved for a purchase that is not on my shopping list. Black Friday is a great day for finding deals on items that you may want but have not decided to purchase. For example, last year I was able to grab a 48″ flat screen television for only $248 because I found one of the boxes that had been left sitting in the back of the store, abandoned by someone who had decided not to purchase it after being one of the first 100 in the store to get one. It was a great purchase and definitely worth standing in the freezing cold that morning.