Black Friday shopping tips abound each year but to really rake in the deals like a ninja, you have to have a shopping strategy. While casual shoppers might just guffaw at this notion, the serious deal hunter knows that there is quite a bit of preparation that goes into a successful trip. Make a mistake here, and you not only miss out on the best deals but probably end up paying more than you should as well.
Familiarize Yourself with the Deals (a week before Black Friday)
Deal News is an excellent website that helps you stay on top of Black Friday deals from a wide variety of retailers. Find out the items that retailers hope to make hot buys this season, and decide if they are something you need for your gift list. This is a great time to start making lists. Write down each gift recipient and the items that you will consider buying for the individual.
Comparison-shop Online and Verify Price Match Guarantees (three to four days before Black Friday)
Know what that hot Superman action figure or must-have computer cost at Amazon and other discount online retailers. Make screen prints of these items as needed. The Boston Globe reports that Staples has already gone on record stating that it will indeed match Amazon pricing for online and in-store purchases.
Visit the websites of your favorite brick and mortar stores to find out what their price-match guarantees and limitations are. Some will not accept competing prices from online-only retailers while others limit their match guarantee to companies that have a local brick-and-mortar presence.
Know the Lay of the Land (two days before Black Friday)
Even if you are one of the first shoppers running through the door in the middle of the night, you can lose precious time simply by trying to find the aisles where they keep the items that you want to buy. Avoid this quandary with a scouting mission that you undertake two days before the actual sale event. Do it earlier and there is a good chance that the staff might move end caps and change displays. Waiting until the last minute ensures that you get the lay of the land just as it might be on Black Friday eve.
Arrange Child Care and Enlist Shopping Assistants (two days before Black Friday)
Do not bring young children to a Black Friday sale. While preteens and teens might enjoy the hunt for bargains, toddlers and elementary-school-aged kids will probably find the whole experience boring and the waiting tedious.
As you make your child care arrangements, find likeminded shopping enthusiasts who will join your Black Friday strategy. Divide the list of stores among the group, and make sure that all group members have the shopping lists of their friends. For example, if you end up going to Staples, make sure you have everyone’s list of desired items. The friend who goes to Target will have your list – and everyone else’s for that store.
Arrive Early (we’re talking around 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving)
The early bird catches the worm, and the early shopper gets the door buster deals. Put someone else in charge of the after-dinner cleanup while you head for the stores. Although standing in line for three, five or more hours does not sound like a lot of fun, it can net you appreciable savings. By the way, arriving early at the mall also ensures that you get a parking spot that is not in the next Zip code.
Although no Black Friday shopping strategy is absolutely foolproof, there is a good chance that you will successfully hunt the bargains when you follow the five steps noted above.