Black Friday can be a blessing or a curse. If you are prepared for the mad rush that is Black Friday, you are bound to save a ton of money on your Christmas or other holiday shopping. In order to succeed at Black Friday shopping you have to be tough and not afraid of standing in line for 12 – 48 hours to get the best deals.
You must plan for your Black Friday hijinks. There is no way around this and it cannot be repeated enough. Start looking at the online version of Black Friday ads as soon as they hit the internet. Many sites are updated with different retail stores ads on a regular basis. Look at not only the best price of an item but also where the store is located and what hours it will be open on Black Friday. If you will be out of town on Black Friday and still want to participate in the sales, you will need to print out or purchase a detailed map of your destination. This way you can plan your route between stores as the last thing you want is to get lost and miss the best deal at the next store.
The Day Before
Check for any last minute ads that come out on Thanksgiving. You may need to adjust your plans if you find an amazing deal that has not already been advertised in early Black Friday ads. Eat an early Thanksgiving dinner and take a nap before you head out. (Now if you are after one of only five items in a store you will need to take a tent and start camping the Tuesday or Wednesday before Black Friday) Pack snacks and drinks so that you do not need to stop for food during your shopping expedition. You will also need a camping chair, blankets, your newspaper ads, your written plans, cell phone and possible a book or mp3 player to keep you busy if you do not have a shopping partner.
Be prepared for a long wait at your first store. You may find that some stores will open late on Thanksgiving or at midnight on Black Friday. The earlier you get to the store, the closer you will be to the beginning of the line to get in. As soon as you are inside grab the biggest discounted item you were planning on purchasing. There will be plenty of other people trying to get that same item and supplies will be limited. Continue through the store getting each item you are purchasing from that store and getting to the checkout line as quickly as possible. Have an idea of how much money you will be spending at each store and take in $50 – $100 more in cash. While paying with your debit card is also a great way to stay out of debt, the last thing you want is for the store’s credit card machines to go down and you not be able to purchase your items. Leave the rest of the cash you need locked away in your glove compartment. Separating the money into envelopes for each store will keep you from sitting in a parking lot counting out cash and drawing suspicion to yourself. Remember to add in sales tax when deciding how much you will be spending at each store. The extra $50 – $100 will allow you a little extra for the surprise Black Friday specials that are not advertised.