DON'T STRESS OR MISS OUT: Survival Tips for Shopping Black FridayMonday, November 23, 2015
** THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE 2016 SURVIVAL TIPS**
I love Black Friday! I may be in the minority on this one, but I love the thrill of getting up early, hitting the stores, being in the crowds, and finishing up all of my holiday shopping before noon! I'm pretty sure some of you hate it, and talking to most of my friends, the consensus is they hate Black Friday shopping as well. They hate the crowds, afraid of fights, hate the lines, etc. I've been shopping Black Friday for as long as I can remember and in different locations and every year I leave unscathed and satisfied. How do I do this? Well, check out my Black Friday Survival Tips below:
- MINDSET - The first step to conquering Black Friday is your mindset. If you go in with an aggressive, everyone is out to get me attitude, then you will end your shopping experience pissed off, or worse...in a fight. Remain calm, and go into the day, knowing the scene will be less than ideal. Recognize that lines will be long and people will be everywhere. Your toes may get stepped on, or someone may bump into you or vice versa. Stay cool, apologize and move on. No item is worth a fight, going to jail, or killing someone over. If someone gets aggressive with you, it's best to walk away and if they continue find a store associate, manager or cop. Even if something sells out on Black Friday, odds are the stores will restock, and you may have to pay full price but it's not worth fighting over the last item. It will cost you more in the long run. Please understand that you'll be parking at the back of the parking lot. In fact just go right to the back and park! There is way less stress arriving at Target and automatically going to the back of the parking lot instead of feeling aggravated, & annoyed, trying to get a spot in the front. Let it go...park in the back. And finally, recognize that you may not get everything on your list. It happens. You can't be in two places at once, someone grabbed the last one. It's ok. If the item is that great it will return I promise you, or you can find it online. If you expect these things to happen then you won't be mad when they occur.
- GAME PLAN - While it may sound like an adventure to just get in your car and go, the most success I've had with Black Friday shopping is a plan of attack aka a route. Your route will depend on how ambitious you are in the number of stores you plan to visit. Between now and Friday, check out the Black Friday Day sale listings. Most websites are already listing their deals and what time their doors will open.** Pick which stores you'll go to first based on the time they open, and the importance of the item you want. Please note that you can't be everywhere at once, so choosing one store to start at will cause you to sacrifice getting a deal somewhere else, if they sell out fast. I also base my route on location. Start with either the stores that are closest to you or furthest away and do your route in a circle.
- MINIMAL BAGGAGE - Ladies, this is not the time to carry your biggest designer handbag. If anything, less is more! In fact, while shopping Black Friday sales in Pennsylvania, I frequently sported a hoodie, and kept my credit card in my front pocket...no purse. And then I'd have my cell phone in the pocket of the hoodie. Yes ladies, I shopped without a purse. Black Friday is not the day to be stylish, it's a day to get things done. Shopping Black Friday and in general is so much easier without a cumbersome bag:
- No bag to get in the way
- Ability to grab more things off shelves and carry
- No fumbling at the cash register looking for wallets and the right card. One card, swipe, and go
- No heavy bag on the shoulders or arms
- DRESS CODE - I touched upon this briefly in step 3, however now that I live in Houston, it's not always cold on Black Friday and the hoodie is too hot. If you're like me and are targing deals on clothes, you'll want to spend as little time in the fitting room as possible. If you know your sizes in the items you want, just grab and get in line. If not, wear a camisole and leggings that you can leave on under the clothes you try on. Comfortable flats are not only great for a day of running around and standing in line, but will be faster for trying on shoes over laces and straps.***
Yosi Samra Flats
- SNACKS - More than likely you'll get caught up in the rush of everything, and forget to stop and eat. Even more likely, you won't want to stop and take time for a full meal. Put a pack of crackers or peanuts in the glove compartment of your car, that you can snack on between stores. I guarantee you, if the stores are crowded all of the eating places will be as well.
- SHOPPING LIST - I also have the most success not going after what the majority of the store crowds are going after; i.e. Flat Screen TVs from Best Buy. Unless you camp out over night you will not be getting a TV. I don't even know if the TV deals are that great anymore since TVs are relatively cheap the rest of the year as well. I go for clothes, CDs, books, musics, and then target what I want to buy people for gifts. There also may be things you stumble upon just walking around the store. Not everything is advertised, and it may be that one item that you've been needing to buy for awhile, but kept putting off! I keep my list on my phone. No need for fumbling with papers and pens. I'm sure there's a Black Friday shopping app for that!
- REWARD - Things start to slow down around 11 am/12 noon. If you've made it, reward yourself with a hearty lunch for refueling and then go home and go to sleep!
- PRE-BLACK FRIDAY SALES - Something that I noticed this year is that a lot of stores are pomoting Pre-Black Friday Sales. They're essentially lighting fast daily deals (Amazon), or a couple day to week long sales (Target, New York & Company etc.) leading up to Black Friday. This is a great way to get a lot of the stuff you want early! I will say the deals aren't AS good as Black Friday. For example, New York and Company promoted 50% off everything in their store up until Nov. 24th, but on Black Friday everything will be 75% off. So you can weight the pros and cons of paying a little bit more but avoiding a crowd, or waiting for that extra 25%. I personally bought things already with these pre-black friday deals, especially on Amazon!
- WAIT - Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are also great days to go shopping. Small Business Saturday isn't as crazy as Black Friday, and Cyber Monday you can shop from the comfort of your own home! Please check out my Shop Local, Shop Small post, featuring some of my favorite boutiques in Houston!
- BUDGET - It will be very tempting to grab everything under the sun that you see on sale, but that's the fastest way to blow your budget. This is kind of related to the game plan. Know what you want to spend and where you want to allocate your funds. Every year I know how much money I want to spend on Black Friday, and it stops me from going over, and helps me make better decisions when in the stores!
**Between now and Black Friday you can try on clothes at the stores you plan to shop to find your size ahead of time for quick grabbing on Friday.