There was a time in my life where shopping Black Friday was fun and exciting. I went out with family members, stayed up all night, got a few great deals, and ended with a nice breakfast out together, sans kids!
These days, store competition, greed, and the ever-earlier start of Black “Friday” (which is really now Twilight Thursday) have turned it into less of a must-do and more of a you-couldn’t-pay-me-to-do. Instead, I’ve become somewhat of an expert in getting the same (or even better!) deals right from home in my comfy pajamas, free shipping included!
Sound enticing? I’m sharing some of my secrets with you! (And yes, you need them now. If you wait for Black Friday, you’ll be too late!)
Tip #1- Make Your Shopping List NOW
Almost all the stores have either released their Black Friday ads or are about to do so. Study your favorite ads online now and keep a list of items you are looking for and what price stores are offering that day. I have a notebook with four columns; the items I want go in the first column, and then the other columns list three favorite stores and how much the item is selling for (or any special offers that make me choose that store).
Tip #2- Don’t Wait for Black Friday
Now that you know the “best” prices, keep your eyes peeled for “Better Than Black Friday” sales and such. Often stores trying to beat the competition have great deals already! I often have most of my shopping list bought before Thanksgiving because of this tip.
Tip #3- Sign Up for Extra Deals Ahead of Time
First, make sure you are signed up for mailing lists or VIP lists from your favorite stores. They want you to shop with them, so you’ll often get “early access”, extra discounts, or some other reward.
Second, make sure you sign up for some sort of cashback deal to maximize your savings. I use Rakuten (formerly Ebates) to get cash back on my purchases. It adds up quickly when you’re shopping online a lot!
Tip #4- Find Out When Deals are Available Online
Almost every deal in the ad is available online. Yes, even the “doorbusters”! But you have to be online right away. Every store has a different time their deals will be available. It changes every year to be more competitive, so make sure your information is current. I use BlackFriday.com to keep up. If I’m after a high-demand item, I will be sitting at my computer, hot chocolate mug in hand at 12:01 am Thanksgiving morning if that’s when the deal goes live. So much better than waiting in an endless line at the store!
Then, stick to your list. Don’t get sucked in for the stuff that will go on sale again later with better deals, like bedding, Christmas decor, large appliances, etc.
If you miss it at one store, then try the next one. I’ve never NOT gotten what I needed online.
Tip #5- If You MUST Go Out, Consider These Stores
All the big box stores are crazy. Often stores like Walgreens, CVS, hardware stores, local shops, and even grocery stores have Black Friday deals many people don’t consider. I find great stocking stuffers, gift wrap, decor, and more in stores off the beaten path.
If you still love Black Friday shopping in stores, more power to you! I know a lot of people find great joy in this tradition with family and friends. I hope you get every deal you want and more this year!
I’ll raise my hot cocoa mug to you as I fill up my Target online shopping cart.
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