I remember getting up before sunrise and driving to the nearest mall the day after Thanksgiving hoping to score the “deal of a lifetime”. The tradition was fun and the deals were the best of the season. Once stores started offering ridiculous deals like TVs for $99, (even though they only had a couple per store) the fun tradition turned into a madhouse. Every year it seems like stores offer better and better deals earlier in the season and not just on one day. Here are some shopping tips to keep your sanity over the holidays and won’t have you waiting outside of a store at 3am on Black Friday.
Plan Early- For the most part the recipients of your holiday gift giving aren’t going to change drastically year to year. So why not get a head start on shopping? Each year I make an excel spreadsheet with the names of the people I need to buy for and how much I want to spend. I also jot down a couple ideas of items to pick up and once I purchase a gift I update the list. This year I have already purchased my Christmas Cards from Shutterfly at 40% off and picked up a great deal on a toy for Toys for Tots. It may be tempting to wait for a “blow out” deal a couple days before Christmas but remember selection will be limited and you will most likely end up spending more than you intended too. Since I do enjoy visiting the mall around the holidays, I usually leave the week before Christmas to pick up a few last minute items and shop for some great bargains for myself!
Check Blogs for Hot Deals- One of my favorite websites is http://hip2save.com. This blogger has her finger on the pulse of internet bargains. She has partnered with the Today show so I find that some of the deals she writes about sell out quickly because of her giant fan base. For example today she posted about a 25% off promotion at the Disney Store. This deal would be a great opportunity to pick up some personalized items for the kids (young and old!) on your list. Year round the blog can get a little coupon heavy with groceries. However, closer to the holiday shopping season, her posts are geared more towards holiday gift giving.
Online Shopping- Not only do you save gas and the stress of circling for a parking spot at the mall. Online shopping can be done at any time of the day! You can also earn extra cash back with Ebates.com and know you are getting the absolute cheapest price by checking Retailmenot.com for coupon codes. Since my family lives in another state I ship all my gifts to my Grandparents house which is so much easier than checking additional baggage on the airplane. Don’t forget to price compare the Black Friday Deals with online prices. You may find an equally attractive price online on Amazon.com or another online retailer. Try clicking on the Shopping Tab on the Google home page. Enter in the item you are looking for and Google will bring up multiple online and local retailers and prices.
If there is a deal on Black Friday that you absolutely must go to the store for here are some additional shopping suggestions.
- Make a list of stores, items on sale and store hours.
- Devise a game plan of which stores to go to first.
- Fill up the car with gas the night before. Every minute of sleep is precious it’s going to be a busy day!
- Shop with a friend! There might be a really long line, so alternate who is waiting in line and who is shopping.
- Keep those receipts. Many stores will offer price adjustments if the price goes lower. There is a lot of excitement so holding on to those receipts isn’t a bad idea if you find yourself caught up in the hype.
- Stay focused and consult your list. There are a lot of good deals out there, but is it a great deal for you or someone on your list?
- Wear comfy clothes. Black Friday is not a fashion show, it’s shoppers on a mission!
- Bring snacks. You may find equally long lines at Starbucks or any place other shoppers are grabbing a quick bite.
- Be nice and relax. Remember Black Friday is an adventure. Some shoppers will run for items like their life depended on it. That doesn’t have to be you. Hopefully a positive attitude and some kindness will rub off on other shoppers.