A Savvy Shopper’s Black Friday Guide

Skipping down the aisles singing Christmas songs, holding hands, and smiling with strangers is the last thing people think about when they prepare for black Friday shopping. Instead images of no sleep, racing through aisles, and wrestling for the last item is what consumes their mind. You can be a savvy shopper on black Friday!

Black Friday is considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year. On this day, crowds of consumers are drawn to retailers by special offers, amazing discounts and early morning freebies. As Black Friday approaches, the CGS team has put together a Black Friday guide of a 6 tips to help you get through the day as stress-free as possible.

Plan Ahead

Black Friday can turn into mall mayhem! Avoid the unnecessary stress by planning out your trip ahead of time. Decide which stores you want to go to for yourself as well as for shopping for others. If you can plan your gifts ahead of time, that will also save you some much-appreciated time.

Also, it’s important to check hours for the places you want to go. Each store has a different schedule. It’s especially important to check hours for stores in the mall.

Often times the mall will open at midnight, while stores have different hours. Don’t forget to plan a good breakfast before you go! You will need all the energy you can get to tackle the crowds. The CGS Team has done their fair share of Black Friday shopping, and we’ve found the best time to go is between 4-5am. Most people go right at midnight or around 7am the next day.

Shop With Cash

While this tip may not make your time easier, it can certainly help you stay within your budget! It’s always a good idea to bring cash along whenever you’re doing major shopping. Using your credit card while making major purchases can easily make you spend more than what was in your original budget.

Not only will using cash for your Black Friday spending help you stay in budget, it also gives you an up-to-date account of how much you’re spending. If you’re buying gifts, make sure to stretch your cash!

Cash is also great to have in case the store technology isn’t working. With so many transactions taking place, you don’t want to run the risk of your card not working. Cash is the perfect backup.

Utilize Your Smartphone

Not that anyone goes anywhere without their phone anymore, but having a smartphone while Black Friday shopping is extremely useful. Bringing your cellphone along can help you keep track of the time, which goes by in the blink of an eye during intense shopping trips. More importantly, your cell phone can be used to look up additional deals and sales that stores may be having.

Often times during Black Friday stores offer different sales in person than online. With your cellphone handy, you can use the barcode that’s provided on the site to pay for items at a discounted price.

You may also be able to pull up additional coupons that are only available on the stores website. If you already know the stores you want to hit, check out their website ahead of time. This will give you insight into what to expect regarding sales, and let you budget accordingly!

Go in Groups

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. When Black Friday shopping, going in a group is a lot better than going alone! You’re able to enjoy good company while shopping for your loved ones, and more importantly take shifts when waiting in line, so you don’t lose your spot.

If you’re going into a store you don’t need to shop in, stand in line while your partner does their shopping. That way when they are ready to check out, the wait will shorter.

Take turns so that everyone has the opportunity to shop around. Another reason why going with multiple people is a good idea is because more eyes are better than one!

Have your company help you look for specific items, and you do the same for them. With all of the typical Black Friday chaos going on, an extra set of eyes definitely helps.

Stay Focused

Like a kid in a candy store, it came be overwhelming with all of the merchandise on sale. It’s important to stay focused and remember which items you originally you came for. Sometimes our eyes get so huge that we throw things in the basket and later realize the purchase wasn’t necessary.

Avoid hurting your arms, with the extra bags, and hurting your wallets, with the extra spending. With all of the shopper-crowds, it’s easy to get winded or frustrated. Remember that everyone is there for a purpose, so do your best to get in and get out.

If you feel tired or lacking energy, head to the food court. Often times the cafeteria and restaurants are also open during the crazy Black Friday hours.

Keep Receipts

Always ask for a copy of your receipt when shopping on Black Friday, or anytime. Most stores have stricter return policies during the holiday months, so it’s not worth forgetting to take your receipt. If you are buying gifts for people, make sure to ask for a gift receipt. Keep receipts in your wallet, instead of the bag, just in case something happens to your stuff.

It’s important to keep your receipts because when initially making your purchase you may think the item will make an awesome gift, but as your shopping trip continues, something better may come along.

If you find yourself having second thoughts on the item you can always return it with a receipt for a full money-back return. If you are buying stuff for yourself, the CGS Team suggests keeping receipts until the day after Christmas, that way you have more than enough time to decide if the item is worth keeping.

Related: 6 Ways to Maximize Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday is definitely a great day to get the most bang for your buck, so why not make it worth your while? Our tips should keep you on track and let you maximize your Black Friday experience! Have fun, be safe, and remember it’s the season to be jolly! If you can’t stand the thought of crowds, then hold out for Cyber Monday. It’s the Monday after Black Friday and almost every online store has amazing sales!

Have you ever participated in Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping? Was the experience a good one or were you stressed out? What tips do you have for shopping on Black Friday? We’d love to hear the community’s experiences, so leave a comment below to share!

-The CGS Team

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