It’s crazy to think about, but Halloween is just around the corner. Naturally, we’re already thinking about the next holiday. The fourth Thursday of the month of November, we celebrate Thanksgiving. However, it also marks the beginning of Christmas holiday shopping season and the countdown to Black Friday.
This pseudo holiday traditionally has the best deals. However, taking advantage of the deals requires dedication and planning. In this article I’ll cover the ins and outs of surviving your holiday shopping experience and how to take advantage of the most deals. As an added bonus, I’ve built the clock below to see just how many days you have until Black Friday hits.
Black Friday Survival Guide Tips List:
- Research beforehand
- Write down all deals for comparable items
- Find multiple items in one location
- Know the store hours
- Dress in layers if waiting in line
- Bring entertainment
- Bring a blanket
- Know where the nearest bathroom is!
- Enlist friends and family
- Take advantage of insider help
Do Research on Black Friday Deals
It comes as no surprise to Black Friday veterans, that you’ll need to start planning your shopping in advance of the holidays. I have no doubt that your inbox (virtual and otherwise) will be flooded with advertisements for deals on electronics, toys, and other hot commodities during the countdown to Black Friday. Use these to map out your game plan.
Map Out The Items You Want
Alright, time to put those pamphlets and emails to work! Go through and find the big ticket items first. Electronics, like video games, gaming systems, tv’s, and sound systems are typically the most sought after prizes come Black Friday. Because these are the biggest draw, they are the most likely to be sold out first. Quantities are usually limited, because the store can’t keep a large number in stock, and they take up a ton of shelf and/or floor space.
Next you’ll have the latest craze in toys. But due to their size, stores can keep a larger quantity on shelves and in storage, your odds are better for picking these up later. Everything else from books to clothes is unlikely to sell out quickly, so I wouldn’t worry about those too much.
Once you know the items you are targeting, it’s time to take notes on the cost and location. This will help with the many comparisons you’ll need to do afterwards. Don’t just make note of the best price, write down all of the prices for all comparable items. As an example, if you are looking for a 32″ Samsung HDTV, write down the price and location of any TV in the same size regardless of brand or definition.
Make Your Comparisons
Since you have a list, it’s time to start organizing all of the items on your list by store. You’ll likely have found deals on a bunch of different items you want to get. The problems is they may be scattered across a bunch of different locations. However, if you can find multiple products in one store, then this is a store you’ll definitely want to plan on hitting.
Even if the price of one or two of the items is slightly higher than a competitor, you’ll make those dollars up because you’re more likely to get both deals. This is why I suggested making a list of all comparable products. You won’t be wasting time traveling to multiple stores only to discover the item you wanted was sold out at 7 AM.
Another benefit to getting the second to best deal is that everyone else will also be trying to get the premier deal on Black Friday. Your odds of purchasing may increase by targeting a slightly more expensive model, or “worse” deal, since it may fly under other people’s radar. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be competition; it just may be slightly less.
If you’re finding that you can’t find multiple items in one store, then try to find locations that are in close proximity. Perhaps you can find deals at two stores in the same shopping complex or only a short distance away. Any time you save on traveling is time you can use to save some money!
Map Out Your Game Plan
Alright, now you know what stores you’re going to hit and the items you need to get there. Now it’s time to recon your target. Recently, stores have been opening earlier and earlier. Sometimes deals will even bleed into Thanksgiving Day. You’ll need to know when the deals begin so you can plan to be there well in advance.
Timing Is Everything
If the deals start on Thanksgiving Day, you’ll likely have to postpone doing the holiday dishes if you want to get a jump on Christmas. However, if the holiday hours push into the wee hours of Friday morning, you’ll need to make sure you get to bed earlier.
For those who need to rise early to get the deals, plan out your morning in advance. Get the coffee pot ready or have those Starbucks cans on ice to grab and go. Don’t overlook a shower, it’ll help wake you up.
Plan For The Long Haul
Because it will be November, it’s probably a good idea to bring layers if you have to wait in line. Waiting in line for hours (yes, I said hours) can be boring, so bring some entertainment for you and your partner(s).
To make the wait more comfortable, some people bring tents, chairs, and a bunch of other convenience items. This can all be cumbersome to lug around or have to pack up before entering the store. Instead, bring a blanket or two which you can sit on or use for an additional layer of warmth. You’ll be able to fold this up and stow in a backpack or carry on your arm until you can get a cart.
Finally, it’s inevitable that someone in your group will need to use the restroom. It’s best to know where the nearest bathroom is while waiting in those long Black Friday lines. A full bladder isn’t your friend, and coffee can do more than increase your alertness. Know where to go…pun intended!
Enlist Family or Friends
Enlisting friends and family to help will drastically improve your odds of scoring the items on your Black Friday list. The more people you can enlist, the better your odds of snagging premium items. Of course you’ll have to instruct them on what they need to do, but in the end it will be worth it.
Waiting in line can be a bit boring. Sharing the burden with a family member helps to pass the time. Bringing along some kind of entertainment will make the wait until the doors open bearable. Having an extra body around to hold your spot in line is a must. When nature calls, and you have to answer, you don’t need to worry about getting booted to the back of the line. If you’re hungry, send them to grab food while you hold the spot. It’s a give and take, but you’ll be glad they’re around.
In case you weren’t aware, Black Friday shoppers can be downright mean. For some reason, this “holiday” brings out the worst in people. Take your eyes off of your cart for a minute and “BAM!” the cart and/or it’s contents are gone. Congratulations, you have to fight your way through the masses a second time to get the TV you had your eye on.
Having someone dedicated to being at the helm of your cart is a great way to ensure its safety. Ideally, it will be an imposing figure to discourage unruly youths from trying to pick a fight. However, no amount of savings is worth a trip downtown to jail or worse a hospital visit. Generally speaking, you probably won’t end up a YouTube sensation for a fight on Black Friday. Still, sticky fingers abound, so keeping an eye on your cart and your belongings is strongly advised.
With proper instruction, the man (or men) in your life can be a valuable asset. If you know the layout of the store prior to door openings, give them instructions on where to go and what item they are looking for. Then set a rendezvous point where they can bring the gift.
Your rendezvous point should be somewhere nearby their destination, but hopefully less populated. Things like infant clothing sections or automotive and hardware sections are generally good. Doing this means you won’t be maneuvering your cart through a herd of people to reach the deals. If your scout is strong and burly enough, they’ll be able to lug the gift back to you while you guard the cart.
Another reason for this is because the person can bring you valuable intelligence about deals. For instance, if they scurry back to the rendezvous and tell you that your item is sold out, move onto the next item on the list. Or, you could send them back to look for another deal on a similar item. Use these runners wisely to save time, and money!
The Spy (Insider Help)
This is war, ladies and gentlemen! I’m kidding, but you can definitely exploit aspects of warfare in your Black Friday shopping endeavors. Especially if you have a high school or college age son/daughter who has friends who work at the store you are targeting. Have them send a text or call, and ask them to stow away one of the items (if they can manage it) until you get into the store. If they say they can’t do it, no problem. All you can do is ask, but don’t push. Remember it’s their job, and they might not be able to afford getting fired.
Divide and Conquer
If you manage to get a group of people, you can really do some Black Friday damage. Divide up locations and deals. Send one team to Store A, while you and your teammate tackle deals in Store B. However, keep your lines of communication open. You might have a shot at that TV even if it’s sold out at your location. Team Bravo is just a phone call (or text message) away, and you can tell them what they’re looking for and maybe score a deal even when you aren’t at the store.
Don’t fret if you can’t get all the deals you were hoping to score on Black Friday. It’s definitely not worth getting killed over. Plus, you’ve always got Cyber Monday as your fallback plan. There are undoubtedly great deals on Black Friday; with a little planning, luck, and perseverance you can capitalize on them for your Christmas gift shopping. Any other useful tips and tricks I may have missed? Please leave me a comment, and consider signing up with us to receive any cyber deals we can pass on.
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