Black Friday. It's the annual wind down of Thanksgiving and official start to shopping season. Traditions have cropped up that include everything from pulling all nighter parties until the stores open to creating tag teams that divide and conquer. So what are the best tips for getting the most out of Black Friday shopping without going totally overboard with more STUFF?
Black Friday Shopping Tips - Have a Plan
Make a List - Who will you be buying gifts for this year? What are some gift ideas you are considering? What is your budget per person? It is important to answer these questions before you even begin to do your Black Friday Shopping so you stick to a budget and stay focused.
Check the Ads - Black Friday ads traditionally come out the day of Thanksgiving. However, you can now often find the ads "leaked" through websites like bfads.net and BlackFriday.com. Use the ads to compare to your lists and find items in advance that fill the specific needs.
Organize - Now determine what you will purchase and where. Create the game plan for the day. Which stores will you stop at first? What items are most likely to go faster and need to be grabbed ASAP? Also remember that the best deals don't always happen on Black Friday any more. Verify what day different items will go on sale when making your plan.
Preload Apps - Many stores offer Black Friday Shopping coupons through their mobile apps. Be sure to have these downloaded and working before you hit the stores.
Do Reconnaissance - Most stores begin setting up their Black Friday Shopping specials the few days before Thanksgiving. For those items you truly want, be sure to scope out where they will be located in the stores so you can plot your path in advance and not waste time looking.
Black Friday Shopping Tips - In the Trenches
Now that you've arrived, here are some tips to help you stay focused and on budget.
Bring Cash - The best way to stick to a budget is to bring cash and leave the credit cards at home. If you've planned out your Black Friday shopping in advance, you should know exactly how much you need to bring.
Bring a Snack and Drink - Look, shopping isn't easy and you may have left home without grabbing breakfast in an attempt to get to the stores as early as possible. Be sure to bring a snack or two and some hydration to keep you calm and thinking straight.
Skip the Upsells - Buying a new TV? Most of the time extended warranties aren't worth the money spent and extras like hdmi cables are often purchased for far less online.
Divide and Conquer - Do you have friends or family that also likes to go Black Friday Shopping? Recruit them as part of your plan and decide who will go where to buy what. This reduces the number of stops you need to make and increases your odds of getting the in-demand items.
Stick to the Plan - It is easy to fall prey to the excitement of items being grabbed and emotions getting high. Only buy what you intended to buy and skip the rest. Black Friday shopping isn't the time to complete your entire gift shopping needs. Get in, get out and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
When done effectively, Black Friday shopping can be a great way to save money and get many of your gift giving needs taken care of in one morning. Follow these Black Friday shopping tips and you'll be well on your way to making the most out of the experience this year.