That time of the year is here! Halloween, Thanksgiving, then Black Friday…and Cyber Monday! If you are a saver and a planner, you likely skimped on the shopping to take advantage of the extra deals and steals that come with Black Friday. If not, all is not lost. Regardless of where you stand with your holiday shopping plans, there are a few ways you can make the most of your Black Friday shopping to have the best experience. The CGS Team is sharing 6 ways to maximize Black Friday shopping without seriously hurting your bank account.
Maximize Black Friday Shopping
Start Planning Now
If you haven’t started thinking about where, when and what you want to buy on Black Friday, start thinking about it now. Write out the list of gifts you want to get your loved ones, as well as anything you need for you or your household. Black Friday is a time to get a lot of the necessities out of the way, for a good price.
As you are making your list of things to buy, write out where you are likely to find the item and how much you would reasonably spend for it. After you have completed your list of things to buy, where and their prices, tally up the prices.
What number do you get? Is it reasonable for your budget? Can you get everything without using credit? If anything is too expensive or pushes you over your spending limit, re-evaluate those things.
Now that you know what you need to buy and how much you can afford to buy everything, refer to the list of places where those items will be. Look at their website, read ads in the paper, and check for any newsletters. You want to get a good idea of what the sales will be like at those stores and if your items will be available. This step also gives you a clear indication of what price you will be paying.
Consumer Reports says Get Social
“The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Those retailers will often reward customers who “like” them or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And, of course, texts, tweets, and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping intel with your friends.”
Have a Back Up Plan
With the number of people shopping, the limited quantity of specific items, and the possibility of short timeframes, you may not get everything you planned on. Have a backup plan in place in case you can’t get the item that you need.
If the item is a gift for someone, is there something else they would like instead? If the item is for you, can you wait until Cyber Monday or a later date to get the item?
You should have a good idea of quantities available from your planning, but having a backup plan will make sure everything is covered. Also, Black Friday deals happen online too. If you didn’t get what you were looking for, try online shopping when you get home. You may be in luck!
Get an Early Start
From my experience, the best time to shop on Black Friday is the 2am-3am timeframe. Everyone who got out there at midnight (or earlier) is tired, and the 5am rush is still sleeping. This is a great time to have some breathing room while shopping and not have to worry about crowded places. You will want to make sure you get to bed early – although, after all of that yummy Thanksgiving food, that should be no problem!
There’s nothing worse than feeling drained before you even start your shopping, so a goodnight’s rest is a necessity. You will also want to make sure you eat and have a cup of tea or coffee.
Going on an empty stomach opens the door for time to be wasted buying food, and doesn’t put you in the best of moods. If possible, shop with a friend who is prepared. Leave the kids and significant other at home, especially if they will pose as a distraction.
Keep a Level Head
Speaking from experience, it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of Black Friday shopping. With all of the signs, discounts, and excited shoppers, who wouldn’t go a little overboard? Proper planning can help you keep a level head when you’re shopping. You will want to make sure you stick to your list.
Don’t purchase things just because the sale sounds good. You have a budget to follow, and anything outside of your list can hurt that budget.
It’s also important to remember that not every sale is a good deal. According to Clark.com, “Often times, retailers do not have to offer their lowest prices until closer to December 25. That may mean the item on sale 30% off might drop to 40% off or more the closer you get to Christmas.
Always check the original sticker price on the product or the shelf. Compare that to the discount to see if it is really a great deal.” Check out 5 Items to Snag on Black Friday for good purchases.
Keep Your Receipts
In addition to asking for gift receipts for every item you buy (even if it’s an item for you), you will want to keep all of your receipts. Make it a habit to put them right in your wallet after every purchase. You should also ask about the store’s return policy.
Some stores have very good return policies for holiday shopping, while others may only offer store credit. Know the return policy ahead of time can let you know if that purchase is a good idea. If it’s an iffy purchase to begin with, the fact that you (or the person you are buying it for) can’t return it may be a deal breaker.
Related: A Savvy Shopper’s Black Friday Guide
Black Friday can be fun, productive and exciting when done properly! Follow my tips above to really maximize your Black Friday shopping and have the best experience possible, given the circumstance! Do you have any Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping tips to share? Post a comment below to fill us in!