Whether your holiday lights are already up or you’re in the mad dash to get ready, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official start of the holiday season—and the craze that often comes with it. Prepare ahead of time and you may be able to get your holiday shopping done on one day, for a fraction of full price. To help you from getting caught up in the pandemonium here are our six must-have tips for getting the most of the holiday discount days.
Shop Ahead of Time
Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be high-stress times to shop. This can sometimes lead to impulse purchases. The best way to get the best deals is to do some pre-shopping. Make a list of all of the items you need. Then read through each store’s brochure to get an idea of what will be discounted. Make a list of stops, and purchases to make at each stop. Then really try to stick with it.
After Thanksgiving dinner, consider spending some time clipping coupons. A coupon organizer may be your best friend, or maybe even a great gift idea for a Thanksgiving meal host. When you’re fighting crowds and exhaustion, it may also remind you of what you want to buy.
Look for Big-Ticket Items
Many retailers use Black Friday to sell items that aren’t selling well. It is easy to fall for this marketing ploy, eager to get a deal and come home with something. Let’s try not to fill tote bags full of scented lotion we really don’t want, or double our purchase because the second of two items we don’t really want is 50% off.
Black Friday isn’t the time to buy small items like scarves and lotions. Even when these items are 50% off, you won’t save much. The big ticket items are the biggest source of savings, even when the percentage discount is relatively low. So look for DVD players, phones, laptops, printers, televisions, and other pricey items.
Check the Web for Sales on Black Friday
The divide between Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t as clear as you might think. Many online retailers unveil massive sales on Black Friday. If you wait until Cyber Monday, you could miss the discounts. So take advantage of the long lines if you hit the malls on Friday. As you wait in line, peruse your favorite websites for discounts. And don’t be surprised if you find better discounts online than you ever could have imagined in stores.
Know that the Sales Often Last Well Beyond the Morning
It happens every year: people line the block to get in the door at their favorite store. If you’re dying to get something that is truly limited in quantity, this makes sense. Otherwise, you may be better off staying home. Most Black Friday sales last all or most of the day. Some even extend into the weekend. So if you’re not a morning person, take your time. Drink some coffee or hot cocoa, bundle up, and then go out after the sun comes up.
If you truly plan to spend most of Black Friday shopping, you may come home exhausted, stressed, and with an achy back. So concoct a plan to take care of yourself. Some strategies that can make Black Friday shopping easier on your body and mind include:
Eating a big, healthy breakfast so that you don’t get hangry.
- Dressing in layers so that you’re not freezing or frying.
- Wearing comfortable shoes. Now is not the time to debut your new boots.
- Carrying a small bag or wallet. If you intend to lug around a giant tote, you’re going to end up with a backache.
- Making frequent trips to the car so that you don’t have to carry lots of heavy bags.
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Scheduling something relaxing, such as a massage or a coffee date with a friend, for the afternoon.
Don’t Fall for Black Friday Marketing Ploys
In the popular imagination, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and the best day to get sales. But that depends on what you’re shopping for. Christmas decorations and winter clothes are often steeply discounted in the week after Christmas. New Year’s sales may be a great time to get electronics. So don’t commit to shopping only on Black Friday, especially if you’re in the market for something for yourself.
Your best shopping opportunity may be right after Christmas, when you have gift cards and holiday money at your disposal. So prioritize your purchases. Black Friday is indeed a great sale day, but only if the item you want is on sale.