For all the people who love deals and shopping, this post is for you. Black Friday is quickly approaching. Black Friday is one of my most favorite shopping days of the year. You may think I’m crazy, or that now most deals just as good or similar are offered online. So, you may say to yourself, whats the point of getting out and battling the crowds? Well my friends, it’s the not exactly all about the deals. And while, YES, the deals are the major point of the entire shopping day, its also about a tradition that I have created for myself, about finding deal seeking success.
Nobody goes into a battle for deals without some sort of planning. And its not about any kind of “battle” at all. My favorite thing about Black Friday, is about the planning and seeing that plan come to frutiion with success of obtianing the deal! I love it when a good plan comes together. If you are couponer, you know its about finding those perfect deal match-ups to get the best possible deal ever and the reward is that you spent less, keeping more money to be used for something else. Black Friday, is just one of those days in the year, that I look forward to because as a busy momma, its not always ideal to coupon or deal shop every week. And it is on Black Friday, that major items or big ticket items will actually be on sale at their best prices ever – so why not take advantage?
You Need A Plan
Whether you are a seasoned Black Friday shopper or not, you will need a plan if you want to attempt success. I am providing my 5 simple action step you can take now, even with just a few weeks to go, to ensure some sort of Black Friday Shopping success. Plus, I have created a FREE printable to help you organize your shopping list and budget objectives.
1). Do Your Research
Black Friday Ads, usually drop in newspapers Thanksgiving Day, with Black Friday deals beginning only a mere few hours later on Thanksgiving night. I know, I know, its not supposed to be about shopping that day. And the evil greedy retailers that they are have forced us to start shopping even sooner than Friday. However, this post is not about that, its still about the fun in savings and getting a deal. So I will focus on that.
In more recent years, If you google search you can find a current leaks of actual “pictures” of Black Friday ads that will be dropped in newspapers Thanksgiving day. This is probably the only day I actually buy a newspaper. So days before Thanksgiving, I search the ads online and websites like www.blackfridayads.com to see what sort of offers the reatilers will be offering. This gives me an idea of wheter or not the items being discounted or put on sale are “worth it”. It’s not just about getting a deal to get a deal. It has to be something I need, have been wanting, or is a good gift I will need for someone else. And I have to know who the gift is specifically for. Its not about buying things that “may” be good gifts for “someone”.
2). Make A List, Check It Twice
This is obvious, make a list and check it twice. Just like Santa, you will want to be sure you know whats on the list of items to get and look out for. This also works with #1.
Once you have an idea of what will be on sale, including household items you use everyday, to gifts or electronics, make your list of what the most important things to you are and for whom. You my FREE printable to oganize them by store. Now, one thing to pay attention to specifically on your list is the time. Yes, time. Bigger stores like Walmart and Kohls will offer exceptional deals on items, but at different times. Walmart does this specifically to reduce crowds – smart on their part, and they do sometimes even offer out tickets or vouchers on HOT or Popular items, to where you can get the ticket at the specified time, and purchase the item now, with a later pickup. Or you purchase and pick up the item(s) within a desginated time when crowds are reduced. If rules like this pertain to something on your list, I would make this the priority item, and follow it specifcally. Plan to be in line for it early, and wait to obtian your voucher. Also take note, that by in doing so, you may forfeit being in line for something else. If your lucky and have a buddy – you may get double deal success because you both can be in line for two different items. For all other types of items, look to see which store has the best price on your item, and the time they open. Indicate how long you plan to be in each store with wait times and plan your store list in order of opening times.
Lastly, stick to your list. Once you plan is made, do your best not to deviate and buy any additional items. This slows you down, thus preventing you to move on to the next store in time to either get in line or be available for that stores deals. This is fine if you have unlimited budget, but for most people shopping on Black Friday, this isnt always the case because its all about getting the deal with greatest savings which brings me to #3.
Having a budget is always a good idea. The next three things on this list are actually all about the budget and ways to increase the one you got. First and formost though, is knowing what the items you are wanting to get from your list will cost. You may not be able to afford them all. And if this is the case, cut the list down to a list that is affordable to you and your budget. Its pointless to have them on the list if you don’t have the funds to even purchase them. Only keep the items you can purchase. This helps reduce over spending or charging up your credit cards to only regret less than 60 days later, when you still have balances on them at the beginning of the year. Especially, if one of your news year’s resolutions is the same every year “to pay off debt” avoid that by not increasing it! If you do plan to use credit, then use one with rewards points, cash back or some other sort of incentive that is not counter inituitive.
4). Cut Current Expenses
Okay, we all have those little daily luxuries that we do like buying coffee at work, eating out, movie nights, etc. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, I count out about 2-4 paychecks ahead of time. And I cut out extra as much as possible in order to inflate my cash for Black Friday. This wasn’t always the case. In fact one fo my first Black Fridays was when I was in college, with no budget, no plan and little to no cash. Over the years I have modifed my Black Friday plan in order to be prepared for any good deals that may arise. And remember, I don’t just get a deal to get one, if it doesn’t have an intentional purpose of use, fo rme, my family, or someone else, then I don’t get it. I don’t buy 100s of DVDs for $2 just because I can. So my point to all that is, while I don’t do the uncessary shopping, I also work on the opposite end to increase my shopping funds. So in the weeks/days leading up to Black Friday, I become my most frugal self. I don’t buy Starbucks, I don’t eat out, I don’t purchase lunch, I use up my kitchen inventory for meals (except for what I’M bringing to Thanksgiving dinner) and I keep my life as cheap as possible. This also tends to help me shed a pound or two prior to the big day of feasting on Thanksgiving because I tend to eat less and healthier. So it’s a win-win on not only my wallet but also my waistline.
5). Holiday Fund Account
Okay, so this last tip may not be a tip that you can do for this year, depending on when you are reading this post. But if your job has a credit union or if you are a memebr of a credit union, check to see if they or even your employer offers some sort of Holiday, Christmas or Vacation fund account. My employer offers this through the credit union and typically, each paycheck I put away a few extra bucks that I don’t even miss into the extra account. This does 1 of 2 things. First, being that it kind of creates an emergency/savings account that I tend to forget about until there is a true emergency. And two, if I’m lucky where no major emergencies or crisis happen during the year where I “need” ( or break down and spend it) then I tend to have the little extra pocket change of funds come Black Friday time! I try to mostly use this money only for gifts for my kids and hubby. This is perfect because leading up to Black Friday, I check that account to see what the amount is, and beign to match it up to any deal items within the ads. It truly is a beautiful plan, and like I said before, I love it when a beautiful plan comes together.
Last Tip: Online Shopping
Okay I know I said 5 tips, but this one is kind of one on its own. One last thing that I want to share, is that with all the ads, and store items, don’t forget to check what deals may be on Amazon. Amazon is truly great – and I love my prime memebership. It may however require additional research.
Big Box online retailers may offer the same price or a price within $1-$2 dollars more of the Black Friday in-store Walmart, Best Buy, Sams Club, or Kohls price. And if that is the case, weigh your options on saving the extra buck or 2. If it is specifically for one of those higher priced/higher demand items, you may want to consider the online deal over the few dollar savings. It will free your time up from waiting in line, and it will guarentee you have the item reserved with your name on it. But, buyer beware.
- Check to make sure there is not some crazy shipping cost or fee because that will defeat your purpose.
- Make sure the items will be delviered within a reasonable time, especially if it is for Christmas,
- AND, use caution when buying something that is fragile or sensitive to shaky shipping carriers.
As a side story, I ordered a TV through Black Friday Walmart online. It was beautiful because I got the deal and avoided the line. However, it was doomsday when it was delivered a week later, and the box had a gashed in hole in its side. Sure enough, my TV screen was cracked and shattered, even with all the styrofoam packaging. It was a bigger hassle to return it, because the store no longer had that model for exchange, and wouldn’t honor the price on a similar TV. So, my final point is, when it comes to online – proceed with smart caution!
Do you have a Black Friday plan that you use? Leave me a comment and let me your tips. And don’t forget to download my FREE Black Friday Shopping plan list here.