5 Black Friday Shopping Tips

Attention Ladies and Gentlemen! Black Friday is just days away. The time when perfectly civilized people suddenly transform into complete animals. Seriously, it’s like a battle zone out there, and when that door is unlocked, it’s every (wo)man for him/herself. Only the strong will survive, and no one can be trusted. The people you think are your friends will now push you to the ground for that $200 flat screen TV. And, that sweet little old lady will run you down on her motorized scooter for that last copy of Grand Theft Auto V. Okay, maybe I’m being just a tad bit dramatic, but it still is rough out there. So, if you want to make it out alive, check out these 5 Black Friday survival tips, and make sure your shopping trip is a huge success.

1. Plan Your Attack

Going in blind will likely lead to failure. Planning your Black Friday trip is always the best course of action, but how far in advance should you start? The sooner, the better. Although, most print Black Friday ads will not be sent out until a few days before, many retailers will release their ads online starting at the beginning of November. Take advantage of this and start planning now! You can find these ads online at the store’s website or on Black Friday deal sites(The Black Friday, BFAds). Can’t find a particular retailer’s ad? Sign up and have your favorite store’s Black Friday deals sent right to your email, when they become available.

Planning tips:
– Make a full list of all the items you wish to purchase, along with store names, prices, and sales times. This will help you decide what stores to hit first, and help you compare deals.
– Know the quantities of the items that you wish to purchase. Of course, those with smaller quantities will always be the first to go, so you’ll want to hit those stores first.
– Always familiarize yourself with the store’s layout. Knowing the layout of the store will help you quickly find what you’re looking for, giving you an advantage over other shoppers.
– Make a budget. With all the great deals Black Friday has to offer, it can be very easy to spend more money than you had originally planned on. Setting a budget will ensure that you have enough money to buy everything on your list and more importantly, it’ll keep you out of debt. If you’re someone who likes to buy things on impulse, be sure to give yourself a little extra cushion room in your budget for unexpected purchases.

2. Bring Back Up

Chances are most of your friends and family members will also be shopping this Black Friday, so why not go as a group and tackle it together? This will save you a great deal of time and energy, plus it makes a great bonding experience. There’s nothing quite like helping your grandma steal that last Xbox One system from an unsuspecting kid, or elbowing a guy for his big screen.

Benefits of shopping in groups:
– Divide and Conquer. Split up your list and have friends look for specific items.
– Help with carrying the load. For larger items, such as big screen tvs and fitness equipment, you’re probably going to need a little help getting it loaded into your vehicle.
– Watch the cart. If you need a quick bathroom break, have to run out to your car, or need to grab something from a crowded aisle, a friend can stay back and guard the cart.
– Keep entertained. Standing in line for several hours can be a very miserable experience. Having a few friends there to keep you entertained, will make the wait a little more pleasant.

DO NOT car-pool. By the end of your shopping trip, your car is going to be packed full with gifts. So, you probably won’t have room for extra passengers, much less their purchases too.

3. Arrive Early

Arrival time can make all the difference between having a successful trip or coming out empty handed. Being just a few minutes too late could mean losing out on those big ticket items, so it’s always best to arrive early for Black Friday sales. How early should you arrive? That will depend on the retailer’s popularity and the particular deals that you are interested in. For popular retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Toys R’ Us, don’t be surprised to see people starting to line up several hours before opening. So, if you’re planning to shop at one of these stores, especially for electronics and toys, you may find yourself camping over night.

Camping Tips:
– Dress appropriately(heavy coat, gloves, scarf, hat), and wear comfortable shoes.
– Get plenty of rest the night before. You’ll need all the energy you can get.
– Bring a tent or sleeping bag to help shelter you from the wind and cold weather.
– Pack plenty of snacks and drinks.

Black Friday Sale Store Hours:
– Lowe’s opening at 4am Thursday.
– Kmart opening at 6am Thursday.
– Toys R’ Us sales starting at 5pm Thursday.
Walmart and Best Buy sales starting at 6pm Thursday.
– Target, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Sears sales starting at 8pm Thursday.

4. Watch Your Back

It’s not really a secret that crowded areas pose a huge safety risk. Credit card fraud, identity theft, muggings. When you are caught up in the moment of getting a great deal, you may not always pay as close attention to your surroundings as you normally would. Criminals will feed off this vulnerability and strike when you least expect it. To keep your belongings safe, always carry credit cards, cash, wallets, debit cards, etc. in your front pant’s pocket. If you plan on bringing a bag or purse, make sure that it has a long shoulder strap. Place the shoulder strap over your head so that it rests diagonally across your chest, like a messenger bag. This will keep your bag secure and decreases the chance of it getting misplaced.

Safety tips:
– Never place your bag or wallet in your shopping cart.
– Leave children under the age of 12 at home.
– Shop with a buddy, especially at night.
– Always place your purchases under the seats or in the trunk of your car.
– Park in well lit areas of the parking lot, and get your keys out before leaving the store.
– Be extra cautious when driving and walking through the parking lot.

5. Shop Online

Don’t want to deal with the crowds? Maybe you don’t have to. Many popular retailers will be offering a good number of in-store Black Friday deals online, as well. Just like shopping in-store, these products will go fast, so be sure to find out what time the particular item goes on sale. Remember, not all Black Friday deals will be offered online, therefore you should always check with the retailer prior to shopping. Online deals information can usually be found in store ads and online at the retailer’s website.

Sources:
www.theblackfriday.com
www.bfad.com
www.walmart.com
www.kmart.com

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