Black Friday is here! Of course now it’s more like “Black Week” or “Black Month” as the deals start earlier and run longer. If you want to really get the best deals, you have to shop like a Black Friday Ninja.
Over the years, I’ve figured out some tips to really finding the best deals. There are also some other tricks I’ve learned to make the day even better and less stressful for me (and others).
Now you get to learn my top secrets! Some of these you might already know about, but many of them might be completely new to you. Whatever the case, these ideas will help you navigate shopping on Black Friday (and even the few days leading up to this big shopping day).
- Prioritize Your Shopping List
When making your list of items you need to buy, list them first by store and then by order of importance. This will put the “must find” items at the top so you can first focus on finding them as you visit each store. When you get there, hit that department first
- Have A Backup Plan
With the number of people shopping, there will be instances where you will not find the item you want, which means you need to have backup plan in place. Add a second item to your list, just in case you can’t find the one thing you really want.
- Shop With A Friend
Not only is it more fun to shop with someone you love, but it can be helpful too! If there are a few must have items on your list, you can work together to find them. Your friend can visit the electronics section while the other set of hands is in seasonal.
- Leave The Kids At Home
Not because you don’t want to spend time with them, but because of the sheer amount of patience required. There is a lot of standing in line. No one likes to hear “I’m bored” or “Can’t we go home?” 1000 ½ times. Leave them with your spouse or a friend and enjoy the day as much as you can.
- Plan Your Shopping Trip
Once you have your list ready, decide which stores you will need to visit first. I recommend you start with the ones that has your must-have items. You can then figure out which ones to stop by after that. It might be based upon your list or a route.
- Don’t Even Try To Price Match
Most stores suspend all price matching policies on Black Friday. This includes Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. Don’t even attempt to match another store’s price.
- Shop on Wednesday
Sometimes, the Black Friday prices are not always the lowest price. Visit the store on Wednesday to find out. You might find that the price listed is the same as, if not lower than, what you will find in a couple of days. Go ahead and grab that item while you can.
This is also true with finding the hot holiday toys. If you find one in the store before the shopping frenzy hits, grab it to ensure you have one for Christmas. This is also the time to figure out the other items you want and where they live in the store. This way, when you get there on Friday, you know where to head to get find the gifts on your list.
- Score Early Deals
Many retailers now start to put items on sale online before Black Friday. This can mean amazing deals that won’t be available later in the week. Follow sites which share these deals in an easy-to-follow format. This way, you will not miss out on any of them being offered.
- Shop For Other Holidays/Events
I always make a list of the events coming up during the following year. For instance, if I know someone is getting married next year, I look for the appliances or household items they might want. I have even picked up smaller toys to set back in our gift closet for kids’ parties for the following year.
- Shop Online Instead
If Black Friday stores are not your thing, you are in luck! Many of the in-store deals will be available online. The only items you will not find are the doorbusters.
- Avoid Walmart
While they typically have some of the best deals, keep in mind that you and 5,000 of your closest friends also want the same one. That means mobs of people. I mean MOBS. This is also historically where the fights and trampling seems to take place most frequently. There is no deal worth having where you risk injury of any sort. Ever.
- Get Out Early
It means less sleep, but the sooner you can get to the store, the more likely you will find the items you want. Plan on waking up early (or staying up really late) to get the items on your list.
- Know That Doorbusters Are Few And Far Between
Retailers want to get you into their store to shop. The way they often do this is with the doorbusters. Make sure you read the ad carefully. Many times these are limited to 25-100 items at each store. That means if you are not in line super early, you will not get the deal. If you really want a doorbuster, watch for those which have a shopping guarantee, such as shoppers in the store at a certain time will be guaranteed to get that item.
- Remember Not Everything Is Really A Deal
Not everything on Black Friday is a deal. 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. Not all items will be deeply discounted, so don’t fall for the hype of the shopping season.
Another thing you need to check is for the inflated discount. This is when retailers will say an item is on sale for $89.99 — down from $149.99. In your mind, you see a deal. A little bit of research, however, shows you that the retail price was too high to begin with and everyone offers that item for that same price. It is not truly a deal and you might pass and wait for a better offer.
- Know The Return Policy (And Get Gift Receipts)
This one can really get you. Some stores have a liberal return policy for items purchased on Black Friday and during the holidays. However, it might also be valid for only 30 days. If you buy something and someone does not like it, there is a good chance they will not be able to return it.
In addition to this, get gift receipts for the items you buy. It will make it a LOT easier on your recipient, should a return or exchange be needed (and the store will love this too).
- Talk To People In Line
This is actually a fun one! Every time you are in line, chat with people around you. If you see something they have in their hand or cart and you want one, ask where they found it. I’ve tracked down unique gift ideas just by standing in line. And, if you have to dart out and get something, the majority of people will allow you to get back in line where you were before.