Black Friday 2014 is just days away and it’s the perfect time to bag some of the season’s hottest deals. However, because of extremely long times, swarms of anxious shoppers, and overworked store employees, Black Friday can also result in the perfect storm to lose your cool. According to the Huffington Post on Nov. 25, retailers do offer deep discounts on Thanksgiving and the day after, but quantities are limited, making it difficult to snag a truly great deal. So, how can a busy parent with a limited budget walk away with great Black Friday deals?
In years past, Black Friday actually started on the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, several years ago, stores began opening on Thanksgiving night. In recent years, retailers have opted to open their doors earlier and earlier. As pointed out by USA Today this “holiday creep” will begin even earlier in 2014. Best Buy is open on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m.; while Target and Walmart will open their doors at 6 p.m.
The good news is that there are great deals to be found almost everywhere. The bad news is that shopping on Black Friday can test the nerves and patience of even the hardiest shoppers. By planning ahead and following a few basic tips, parents on a budget can and will score hot Black Friday deals without losing their cool. Here’s how…
Plan your Black Friday shopping trip
- Make your list and set a budget. Decide whom you need to buy for and set a budget. Then stick to it. Write down everyone’s name and a few gift suggestions. Be sure to include size information for apparel purchases.
- Check the Internet. Most major retailers have already leaked their Black Friday ads. BlackFriday.com is a great online resource for hunting for the best deals and comparing prices before you hit the stores.
- Check the newspapers. While the Internet is great, it’s far easier to compare sale items in print. Take some time on Thanksgiving, while the turkey is cooking, to leisurely browse through the ads. Go through each retailer’s circular, highlight the items you want, and write them down on a master sheet.
- Plan out your route. If you want to hit Walmart, Target and Sears, figure out the opening times, and decide upon the order you want to hit the stores to maximize your shopping time.
Pack the essentials
- Maps and lists. Don’t forget your smartphone or GPS, shopping lists and a plan of action. Put everything in the car beforehand so that they’re ready to go on Thanksgiving night or Black Friday. Mobile apps are also a great way to stay organized during the shopping frenzy.
- Water and snacks. Shopping can be very tiring, so make sure you have protein snacks, breakfast bars, and plenty of water in the car to drink between stops. Too much coffee in the morning on can cause a caffeine drop early in the afternoon.
Black Friday 2014 survival tips
- Leave the kids at home. Leave the children with Dad (if he’s off from work) or find a sitter. Nothing will slow you down more than cranky kids.
- Shop with a friend. It’s important to find a shopping buddy so that you can “tag team” on Black Friday. One person can scour the aisles, while the other stands in line. This will save you valuable time, so that you can move on to the next store more quickly. A shopping buddy also means that you will only have to find one parking space, instead of two.
- Lock your car and hide your packages. Thieves are out in full force on Black Friday. Make sure to lock your purchases in your trunk, or at least hide them from plain view.
- Keep your handbag and wallet close by your side. It’s easy to leave them on a store counter while checking out.
- Take a break. When you begin to tire, take a break at a local coffee shop. Too much fast and furious shopping can take a toll on even the most seasoned bargain hunters.
- Skip the heels. Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll do a lot of walking and standing in lines.
- Buy more than one item if it’s an especially good deal. Have you found the deal of the century? Why not buy 2-3 in case you’ve forgotten someone on your list?
- Use Black Friday apps. If you own a smartphone, there are quite a few apps to help your search on Black Friday. Users can view ads from all major retailers to compare prices right in the stores. You can also search for deals that are available prior to Black Friday.
Final Black Friday survival tip
Unload your car, hide your bargains and rest assured that you got the biggest bang for your buck on Black Friday 2014. Then treat yourself to a nice glass of wine or a warm bath. You deserve it for surviving the crazed, uncontrolled chaos of Black Friday.