Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the retailers’ dream. Shoppers have mixed feelings. Some lock themselves in their homes and avoid the maddening crowds. Others stand in lines for hours waiting to get one great sale item. But how do you know if the deal you’re considering is the best one? What if there are multiple stores offering great deals on limited quantities of stuff you’ve just got to have? How can you be everywhere on Black Friday and get the best deals?
Plan Your Shopping
Make your shopping list. Include all the people you plan to buy for from family and friends to teachers and the mailman. Include a dollar amount you are willing to spend for each person. Be realistic. You can’t buy for everyone you know. Nor can you spend a fortune on your daughter’s flute teacher and your son’s basketball coach. Unless you can afford a professional shopper to do this for you (in which case, you don’t need to worry about finding the best deals), you’ll drive yourself crazy and end up broke.
Review the Ads
Traditionally, the big chain stores didn’t announce their sale items until a week or so before Black Friday, creating a heightened frenzy. Now, with a down economy and the internet taking the people away from these big sale events, retailers have had to change tactics. Some start selling schemes earlier in the month with slogans like “Black Friday Every Friday” or “Don’t Wait Until Black Friday To Cash In On These Deals.” The internet offers shoppers a plethora of options.
I use BlackFriday.info. They have been around for a few years and seem to have a pretty good handle on all the sales. They post the Black Friday sale ads as soon as they receive them and with the companies’permission. You peruse their site at your convenience or sign up to receive emails as new companies place their ads on the site. It allows you to do your comparison shopping at your convenience. Some places allow you to order online.
Now that you’ve finished your strategy planning, you have a problem. You want items that are limited quantity from 2 or more parts of a giant superstore. Or worse, the items are at different stores across town. This where your planning goes into overdrive. Gather a group of your closest friends and family members. Find out which stores everyone wants to hit. Then divide the shopping amongst yourselves. Timmy will get everyone’s stuff in electronics while Jane will focus on housewares. Or send Tim to Wal-Mart and Susie to Toys R US. Make sure you plan how the money will be handled. Give the person cash up front to cover your items. Keep receipts so you can verify what you paid for specific items. Meet up for lunch or dinner to share war stories and swap packages.
With a little planning, some self-control and the help of a team, you can turn your Black Friday shopping experience into a holiday dream come true.
Sources: Personal Experience