If you plan to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, you need a game plan to find the best bargains. Back in the day, the planning began when the Thanksgiving newspaper filled with holiday ads arrived at your door.
Black Friday shoppers can plan their stops with the BlackFriday.com website. Download the Black Friday App to receive alerts for Black Friday ad scans to find the best deals. Organize your shopping by store or category with Wishlist. Compare prices and search by price or store to find the best deals. Save your favorite Black Friday stores to get deal updates and the latest information.
Whether you’re going to shop the big box stores, shop small local stores or do all of your shopping online, planning ahead will help simplify your holiday shopping experience. Many shoppers mix and match, shopping for unique gifts online, hitting the Black Friday sales for big ticket items and shopping local boutiques and stores for specialty gifts.
If you’re looking for unique gifts, you’ll find the perfect gift every time at Gifts.com. From stocking stuffers to personalized gifts, you’ll find something for everyone. Shopping online is perfect for those who want to avoid the crowds and shop at their convenience.
These tips will help you stretch your dollars and save time while you shop.
Black Friday Tips
Instead of waiting until the last minute, plan ahead by creating wishlists on your mobile device to find the best deals.
As you plan ahead for Black Friday, try to sort the stores in the order they are opening and also in the order of most to least important, according to your wish list. Many stores have time-specific sales so plan accordingly.
The biggest sales are on electronics and other big ticket items. If no big ticket items are on your list, compare prices at the stores to see if you can just hit one store for everything.
Big ticket items go quickly at many stores so if there’s a big item on your wish list, you may have to give up something else to make sure that item is number one on your list.
If you prefer pen and paper instead of shopping apps, invest in a small notebook that fits into your purse or handbag to keep track of what you want at each store and to mark off as you buy each item.
If you stuff stockings for your kids and grandkids, pick up small items as you shop. Using a separate bag for each family member, sort stocking stuffers as soon as you get home. This will keep you from buying too many items to fit into the stockings.
Go to bed early on Thanksgiving night or take a nap in the afternoon. Dress in layers to stay warm while you wait in line. If you’re camping out to take advantage of a big ticket item, bring chairs to sit outside. It’s a lot more comfortable than standing.
Bring your spouse, child or a friend to keep you company and pack some snacks to hold you over. Reward yourself after shopping with a meal together.
Money Saving Tips
Share gift ideas for your kids with grandparents and other relatives. This helps avoid duplicate gifts. Be sure to share clothing sizes and favorite colors.
If you’re cutting back on spending this year, share this information with family members so they won’t overspend on you. Remind yourself that Christmas is about more than gifts.
Set a total budget in advance so you don’t overspend. It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment, especially if you’re shopping the sales.
Set a dollar amount for each of your family members. Keep track of the gifts as you purchase them, noting the cost of each item. When you reach a person’s total, stop shopping for that person.
Decide in advance if you’re buying one big gift or several smaller gifts for each person. If you know what you want to buy for each person, make a list and stick with it.
Use your phone’s calculator to keep track of your spending in each store. This will help prevent sticker shock when you get to the register.
Get gift receipts for each item and keep all receipts together in your purse instead of leaving them in the bags. This will help if you need to return any items. A legal sized envelope works well to hold your receipts.
Anytime Shopping Tips
Organize your holidays and record family traditions. “The No-Stress Holiday Organizer” from Cedar Fort is a holiday planning guide and organizer. This handy book is a perfect choice to give yourself. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years planning, budgeting, recipes and to-do lists make this book the best guide to planning your holidays and saving the memories in pictures and words.
Carry the smallest bag that will fit your credit or debit cards, shopping lists and anything else you need. Be sure to bring some cash for small ticket items.
Bring along sales ads for each store. If you can’t find a particular item, ask a sales associate if there are more in the back or ask for a rain check.
Beware of playing Santa for yourself. If you have a tendency to buy things for yourself, limit yourself and keep an eye on your budget.
Know your limits and remember that you don’t have to finish shopping in a single day. Plan breaks during the day to avoid burnout.
Take the 20 percent pledge this year. Visit small stores in your community to find unique gifts, setting aside 20 percent of your holiday budget for shopping local.
On Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, many small stores will offer special deals and discounts. This is the perfect time to check out local stores you haven’t yet visited.
Search for local stores online and like their Facebook pages. You’ll stay up to date on specials and new products and will see photos of available products.
Ask a friend about their favorite local stores, especially if you’ve moved to the area recently. Look for ads in the local newspaper too.
Shopping local means the money you spend remains in your community. Supporting your local retail stores helps retain a variety of businesses in your city or town.
Some of the best online bargains will be found on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. Make a list of items you want to find before you start shopping.
Before you begin shopping, check each person’s list to see how much you’ve spent, how much remains of their budgeted amount and what you still hope to buy.
Use one-stop shopping sites such as Amazon.com, Gifts.com and Zulilly.com to shop for everyone on your list at once.
Check specialized sites for unique gifts. Try sites like HammacherSchlemmer.com, ThinkGeek.com, CollectionsEtc.com and WeMontage.com to find gifts for every taste.
Shop by category, top products or specific stores at CyberMonday.com. You’ll find the best deals from over 800 online retailers at this site, as well as coupon codes and shipping specials.
Shopping with Kids
If you’re like most parents, you probably have at least one horror story about shopping with kids. Planning ahead can make shopping with kids fun if you take your time and don’t overdo it.
Plan ahead for the best results. Talk to your kids about the behavior you expect from them in the stores. Remind your kids to look with their eyes, not their hands.
Shop early in the day. Kids are usually in the best mood early in the day. Don’t plan your shopping trips around nap time, lunch time, dinner time or other times you know your kids will be cranky.
Be realistic in your expectations. Infants and toddlers don’t have the energy that older kids and teens have. Make a plan for toddler meltdown and use it if necessary.
Help your kids make a list of items you’re planning to buy. Break up your day. Take a break after every couple of stores.
Eat before you go and pack snacks and juice boxes. Plan to leave your house right after breakfast so the kids won’t be hungry.
Find green spaces outdoors or other places where your kids can take a break from shopping. Offer snacks and drinks and ask your kids about their favorite store.
Bring along another adult. Two adults means four hands and that makes a lot of difference when you’re in a crowded store or in a busy parking lot.
Pack your stroller, even if your child has outgrown it. Use the stroller to hold your bags and let your child push it from store to store. If your child gets tired of walking, you’ll really appreciate the stroller.
Think small. Instead of planning a trip to a huge mall, visit smaller local stores. Kids are less likely to be overwhelmed in small stores. Shop local and you’ll also be supporting your local economy.
All kids have limits, so don’t try to do all of your shopping in one day. Your kids will be more likely to enjoy the day if it’s limited to a few hours or less. Plan a reward at the end of the day with a picnic lunch, a meal at a family-friendly restaurant or a small treat for each child from the last store.
If you make shopping fun, it will be a lot easier for the kids and for you. Enjoy your shopping trip, wherever you go.
These shopping tips will help you get organized, set a budget and stick to it, shop with kids and find the bargains on Black Friday and beyond.