Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Is it a coincidence that tomorrow’s Black Friday is also National Espresso Day? Probably not, but if you want to brave the stores on Black Friday it’s better to arm yourself with a game plan before you go (and a shot or three of espresso probably won’t hurt either).
Black Friday shopping is a whole different ball game today than it was 20 years ago. Sales spread through radio, television, and social media and stores bank on you coming to their store before any others to grab the doorbuster sales that no one else has. What’s more, many sales start before the day after Thanksgiving; some almost a full week before Black Friday in the hopes to bring people in all week long.
In order to score the best deals, try out these tips:
Make a List and Prioritize It
There’s no sense in even leaving the house if you don’t know what you want to buy. Expert shoppers suggest making a list and sticking to it. Don’t fall into the trap of putting something on the list just because it’s a deep discount. Your Black Friday shopping list should have items on it that you had planned to buy; regardless if they were on sale.
Use Social Media
Social networking sites like Facebook already know just as much about you as you do; from your favorite TV shows and movies to your shopping trends. Now might be the time to use what they know to your advantage. Take time to visit the business or store pages that you like and see what deals or coupons might be offered. Check some of your favorite groups to see what sales your online pals are most looking forward to. You might be able to snag not only a great sale but free shipping like the one offered from MomAgenda: 20 percent off and free shipping storewide with the code FEAST (and yes, we totally snagged that one).
And don’t forget about small businesses; Small Business Saturday is quickly becoming big business and a great way to keep commerce going in your community. Inquire about their Black Friday hours or what sales they’ll be having if the information isn’t readily available.
Get on Their List
If there was ever a time for signing up for a store’s email list, now would be it. Many stores and brands are offering additional savings and deals just to stay in the know about upcoming sales. Some stores even offer the option to join their SMS message list.
For instance, Sears is offering $15 off $15 or more in store when you text “Turkey” to 73277 and opt-in to receive texts you get. If you visit Sears.com and sign up, you’ll get $5 off of $50 or more or $35 off of $300 or more, and of course free shipping on orders $59 or more. If you’re not looking to add more inbox clutter, you can always check out BFAds; they’re updating Black Friday sales as they happen with one handy list for you to pick and choose the best deals from.
Take Advantage of Apps
Shopping apps like Target’s cartwheel hooks you up to the best deals while Ibotta connects you to your favorite stores and allows you to earn cash back on qualifying purchases. Productivity apps like Evernote help keep your list at your fingertips and save web pages, which is a must-have in order to keep all your coupon codes in check.
Ditch the Handbag
The ability to get in and out of a store quickly is paramount to Black Friday shopping success. A large or bulky handbag can not only slow you down and get in the way inside crowded stores, but it can also become a target for pickpockets. It’s best to use a small cross body bag, small backpack, a fanny pack, or this fashionable alternative by HipS-sister (who is offering 50 percent off for Black Friday)! They are much easier to access and keep your cash and wallet close and out of the hands of thieves.
Avoid Impulse Buys
A doorbuster is only a great deal if it’s something you had planned on getting in the first place. Sure, $5 hoodies seem like a fantastic idea but only if you have someone who needs a hoodie for every day of the week (and yes, we do know people like this). Impulse buys can be harmful to your Black Friday budget by taking money away from must-have items. An impulse item doesn’t have to come in the form of a doorbuster; it can be an add-on purchase like getting a deep discount on a tchotchke or kitschy item that you don’t necessarily need but would make a great stocking stuffer. Even dining out while you’re Black Friday shopping can take funds from your shopping budget if you haven’t already factored it in.
So strap on your running shoes and don’t forget to pack your patience because Black Friday shopping isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.