Monday, November 21, 2011

MrsDrPoe: Black Friday Tips

Happy Money Monday to all!  We are so very close to "the most wonderful shopping day of the year," and I can't wait!  As promised here are some tips to help you have a productive, safe, and stress-less Black Friday experience...

Plan Ahead

As with any shopping adventure where saving money is the goal, planning before you go out on Black Friday is crucial.  Make a list of the people left on your Christmas-gift list and their interests, hobbies, and/or needs, and make a list of some items you've been looking for (clothing, furniture, decor, etc.).  If clothing is something you're looking for, make sure you note everyone's sizes.  Then scour through sales fliers, trying to match great deals with people/items on your list.  Stores have already started putting out ads online; hard copies will come out in your local paper later this week.  

Once you've found some deals you'd like to take advantage of, group the deals by store, and list the stores in order of importance (i.e. deals that will likely sell out fastest).  Also check your coupon stash and email for any additional coupons that can be coupled with store sales (for instance: if you've bought anything from JCPenny in the last week, find your receipt and take the store survey to get a 15% off coupon to use) and enroll in any available rewards programs.

If you're going with a buddy (or several), compare your store list with his/hers, and plan your group's route keeping in mind store opening times and deal limits per person.  You may also have a tentative meal-plan in place so you don't end up at a store far away from any affordable food options at lunch-time.

Don't let your Thanksgiving day turkey's tryptophan get the best of you- forgo your after-turkey nap and try to hit the sack (for good) extra early.  If your first stop opens at 4, you'll probably plan to get there around 3 to get a good spot in line, which doesn't allow much time to sleep if you keep your normal bed time on Thursday.  And speaking of standing in line- even in the deep south the temperature on Black Friday are around freezing before the sun comes up, so dress appropriately and in layers.

Stay Focused

When there are monster deals to be had and you've planned your trip well, it's often easier to get in and out of a store purchasing only what you planned to; however, more and more stores are filling up the aisles where you'll be standing in line with outrageously priced stocking stuffers and nick-knacks.  Keep your eye on the prize and stick to your list or the $20 bucks you just saved on the crock-pot for your mother could be quickly blown on something actually worth $1.50.  And always remember, just because something is "on sale" during Black Friday doesn't mean it's the best deal you can get...or even that it's a good deal at all. 

Have Fun

This is perhaps the most important Black Friday tip.  Chances are (especially if you're list is huge) you're not going to be able to take advantage of all the deals that you wanted to.  Instead of stressing out or going crazy (people have literally died because of over-zealous Black Friday shoppers), be polite and enjoy the time with your friends/family, holiday decor and music.


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