Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday/General Shopping Tips & Tricks



It's Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge and I think this may be my favorite topic:  BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING!!!

This day marks the official beginning of the Christmas season for me.  It is a cheapskate shopaholic's favorite day of the year!  $5 DVD's??  Yes please!!  $10 sweaters & jeans??  Of course!!!  $20 luxury sheet sets??  You've got to be kidding me!!  Free coffee from Starbuck's just for being crazy enough to take on the crowds??  Now you're speaking my love language!!!!

If you've never been Black Friday shopping - you must go.  Seriously.  If you plan properly, you can purchase gifts for everyone on your list on this single day and save a TON OF MONEY!!!  So for all of you who have never dared to take on Black Friday, here are my secrets to surviving:

1) Make a List & Set a Budget:  Make a list of everyone you need to shop for during the holiday season and know exactly how much you are willing to spend on each person to stay within your overall budget.  Jot down a few gift ideas for each person on your list which will help to easily identify which deals to look for on Black Friday.  

2) Do Your Homework:  Get the Thanksgiving Day paper on Thursday evening.  Scour the papers for deals that match the gift ideas on your list.  If possible, have two or three good options for each person on your list.  Quantities are always limited on Black Friday, so it's a great idea to have a backup plan to ensure that you go home with a present for everyone.

3) Prioritize & Make a Plan of Attack:  If you absolutely must get your husband the super expensive TV or gaming system that he has been dying for and Target has it on sale for $100 cheaper than anywhere else - start with Target.  Make the expensive items on your list a priority as they will be more difficult to get.  Also, plan out your route throughout the day.  Most stores stagger their opening times - if you plan it just right, you can be at Kohl's at 3am, Target at 4am and WalMart at 5am.  This isn't your everyday shopping - you are on a mission - get your items, get out and move to the next store.  Stick to the schedule and you can be done by 9am and back in bed with almost all of your holiday shopping completed!

4) Choose Your Shopping Buddy Wisely:  This may be the most important step.  Everybody loves grandma, but she may not be the best choice to get the job done when WalMart only has 5 flat screen TV's for $200.  You need to align yourself with someone who isn't afraid to bust through the crowd.  Who won't grow weary when lines are long and temperatures are cold.  You need a partner who will tell you that YOU CAN get the digital camera for $75 and YOU WILL find the hottest toy on the market for a super steal.  Most importantly, you need someone who's got your back just in case the mob gets a little out of control.  

5) Follow The Leader:  If everyone is grabbing it - grab it.  Seriously - it doesn't matter if you don't want the Guitar Hero for $50, someone in that store will.  And they might just have an item that you desperately want - you may be able to barter.  As you run through the store toward the item of your choice, be sure to grab as much as you can.  You don't have to buy everything in your cart when you get to the checkout - but it's nice to have the option just in case.

This may seem somewhat dramatic, but I take this day of shopping very seriously.  For the past two years my MIL and I have been champions of Black Friday Shopping.  Seriously.  We saved over $1,000 at Kohl's last year and walked away with nearly $125 in Kohl's cash.  We enlisted my brother-in-law to drive us for the morning - dropping us off at the front of each store and pulling the car around while we checked out so that we could be certain to make it to each store as it opened.  We both knew what the other person was looking for so we could split up and be more likely to get our priority items and somehow we always got everything on our list and stayed within our budget.  Oh and did I mention we were back in bed by about 9:30 am?? We are Black Friday Rockstars.  

Sadly, we won't be Black Friday Shopping this year.  :( :( :(  Steven's little sister has a cheer leading competition that morning at 8am and Kathy is a coach. We will be cheering on Michelle as the Bronco's try to  make it to National's at Disney World.  My mom will be out that morning - I may just have to enlist her services to get me a few priority items for some difficult people on my holiday list!!!

22 comments:

Kelly said...

BIG bummer that you won't be able to go shopping this year!! Obviously it is "YOUR THING"! I love this post, such cute and helpful hints! I'm not a huge Black Friday shopper, though one of these years I should probably check out what the craziness is all about ;-)

Tiffany said...

This is hilarious, and so true!

Miss Chelsea said...

Amen to #5 - and if someone else in the store doesn't want it, you can probably sell it on ebay and make some quick cash!!

♥ Dani said...

These are AWESOME tips, thanks Amber! And don't forget... you can always shop the Black Friday sales online!

Ashley said...

Great tips! Thank so much, I am going this year for the first time and I can't wait. :)

An Inquiring Mind said...

I love Black Friday shopping! I bet we'd be awesome BF shopping buddies!

Miss Southern Vol said...

haha this is too funny! I have NEVER been black friday shopping- dont ask me how this is possible. I think the idea overwhelms me! We'll see! Great tips though :)

Kit said...

I love these! Thanks for sharing these tips!!!! Sorry that you are not going to be able to participate this year :(

Aly @ Analyze This said...

These were some of the best tips/tricks I have seen!! Tip number Five was my FAVE!! Haha!

I love the one about not taking Grandma. It's true!

OMG, you saved that much at the Kohlmine!?!? Shut up!!!

Mateya said...

You should have seen me reading this, my eyes were glued to the screen haha! I felt like I was reading this article on msn.com or something...you are a serious black friday shopper hahah!

You made me motivated to want to try it! I've never been BF shopping and my MIL wants me to go this year, so I just may have to!

Melissa said...

Wow! You are serious about this stuff! I wish I had you to coach me! I've never done Black Friday shopping. I've actually tried to get my family interested this year, but they are NOT having it! Have fun at the Cheerleading competition!

Jamie-Lee said...

Great game plan Amber!! To bad you can't execute it this year. I will defiantly keep it in mind for next year for my big trip down :) Thanks for the heads up!

agalandherdog said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm thinking of going for the first time this year bc Target is going to have 40" TVs for $298. We'll see what time we'll have to start lining up for that deal! Have a great holiday!

ty said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I'm coming to shop with you next year!

Stacey said...

Sorry you will miss it - I will have enough fun for you. But remember, Wal-mart will have deals at midnight and Old Navy, you could get in a few things!! I think I have only missed in 2 years ever since they have had it going on!

The Wife In Her New Life said...

Great tips!! Sad face that you won't be able to participate!
I LOVE Kohl's on BLack Friday it's always a MUST for me!!

Anne said...

Wow! You are legit! These are great tips and make me want to wake up early to score the really good deals!

Kendra said...

so sad you wont be going this year, this is a national holiday in the book of Kendra. I will let nothing come in between me and Black Friday.

LivKit said...

Great post! Tips are lovely! Too funny!

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh. You are my hero! Such great tips for me to take on Friday. Never heard the bartering tip before!

Neely said...

Wow you are serious! I love that yall had him drive you thats awesome!

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Hope you have a safe but Happy Thanksgiving



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