A New Shopper’s Guide to Black Friday Shopping

The idea of Black Friday can be daunting for anyone that has never been a part of the mayhem.  Stores around the country lure shoppers in with promises of low priced items and plenty of door prizes and giveaways.  The only catch is that in order for you to get that $100 laptop or $3 kitchen appliance, you have to show up early.  I mean, really early.  Try like four a.m. Even then, you are not promised these items.

Most advertisements boldly state that there are “limited supplies and no rain checks”.  So, what’s a girl or a guy to do when everything on their shopping list is the hottest item of the season?  He or she thinks ahead and plans out a Black Friday agenda.

Plotting Your Course

The first step in having a successful day of shopping starts with knowing where to go and who has the best deals.  Websites like Black-Friday.net give you a sneak peek at your favorite store’s advertisements before they are released to the public.  They currently have ads from Best Buy, Toys R Us, Meijer, Target, and Radio Shack on their website.  You can see which items have the lowest prices and check those off your list.  Just remember to pay careful attention to store hours as most of these items are sold at specific hours of the day.

Get Your Coupons Ready Ahead of Time

Money saving coupons can be acquired through flyers and the internet.  Make sure to have these items in hand when you set out on Black Friday to do your shopping.  There is no worse feeling than knowing that you could have saved 25 to 50% off an item that you plan on purchasing or that you could have received a free gift card with purchase if you weren’t so forgetful.

Keep Your Bag Well Stocked

Food Courts and restaurants are a nightmare on this day so avoid them at all costs.  Pack some snacks and bottled water in your bag and eat on the go.  This will help you avoid all the hassles involved with standing in line and finding a place to sit down so you can eat your sub or burrito.

Leave the Kids At Home

Kids require a lot of time and supervision.  Make it a point to have someone else watch them while you go out shopping.  This will give you ample opportunity to compare prices and select merchandise that provides more bang for your buck.  Having little ones in tow slows down this process tremendously.  When they are ready to go home, they let you know rather loudly.

Have a Back-Up Plan

Have a well charted plan of attack just in case the store runs out of your desired item before you get there. All it takes is one traffic jam to slow you down so that you miss a big doorbuster, so scope out your parking situation before the sale and plan your route carefully so you can minimize the chances of missing out on a deal.

Knowing where to go and what to buy makes shopping on Black Friday an easy feat to accomplish.  For more tips on preparing for the holidays on a budget, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website located at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt082.shtm.

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Filed Under: saving money

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About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.

2 comments
GeraldACavender
GeraldACavender

If you are really interested in joining the chaos, you better prepare. Make a list and try to think of an alternate plan in the event that the item you want to purchase is already out of stock. Let me tell you, the hottest items sold out so fast during black Fridays.

Gretchen
Gretchen

I'm constantly baffled at these 'doorbusters' specials. I mean, is there *really* any advantage to consumers and retailers? If stores open at 4am, employees have to be there by at least 3am (or not even go home from the night before), and consumers are up (or again, not even gone to bed yet, from the night before) at this hour. For what? Would these 3-4 extra hours of shopping really effect a retailers' bottom line?

Thanks for the tip on black-friday.net though, off to check that one out right now!

jaycedaniels
jaycedaniels

Don't underestimate "doorbusters" deals because they really bust doors. :D Yes, you can see campers outside the stores as early as 3am. Maybe they don’t sleep at all just to get there first? Who knows? I even wonder if it's amazing or, hmm shall we say, stupid.

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