As Black Friday continues to gain momentum and the sales get bigger than ever, it’s impossible to resist the temptation to join in the first day of the holiday shopping season. Although Black Friday can be hectic, you can definitely make the day fun and rewarding. Take a look at this Black Friday survival guide and learn nine tips for getting the most out of your shopping adventures.
Don’t Leave Your House
If the widespread stories of eager shoppers lining up before dawn make you want to stay in bed and skip Black Friday altogether, don’t worry. To get some of the best deals, you don’t have to stay up all night and stand out in the cold, or even leave your house at all. In fact, you’ll find incredible discounts and specials online, as many retailers have started debuting their best online deals on Black Friday instead of waiting for Cyber Monday.
Concerned that shopping from home will make you miss out on the best part of Black Friday? Shopping online for home improvement products, seasonal gifts, and other must-have items can actually improve your Black Friday experience. Not only is online shopping more convenient, especially if you’re still recovering from overindulging on Thanksgiving, but filling your cart online also offers impressive variety, fast and easy price comparison, and a chance to avoid the huge in-store crowds.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Even if you’re shopping online, you won’t want to approach Black Friday as an opportunity to browse casually or to start getting ideas for holiday gifts. Instead, it’s essential to know exactly what you want. Long before the deals kick into gear, write out a Christmas shopping list that includes everything you’re planning to buy for friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and other important people in your family’s life.
You might not be able to purchase everything from your list on Black Friday. However, you’ll have a great starting point for researching deals and developing a budget.
Create a Shopping Budget
Once you’ve compiled your list, it’s time to map out your holiday shopping budget. Start by reviewing what you spent on gifts in previous years, but don’t stop there. Be sure to consider where your finances stand this year, any major expenses you’ll need to tackle soon, and the number of gifts you plan to purchase.
Once you’ve decided on an overall budget, think about assigning a gift budget to each individual person on your list. With this strategy, you’ll ensure you’re spending the right amount on your closest family members and friends without overdoing it on gifts for acquaintances.
Do Your Research in Advance
After settling on a budget, you’ll be ready to fine-tune your Black Friday shopping list. You can start to get a sense of which retailers will offer the best discounts and special pricing by beginning your research well in advance of this shopping holiday. Weeks or months ahead of time, check the prices for the big items on your list.
By doing this, you’ll establish what the regular prices are for everything on your list. In addition to helping you budget, researching standard price points will also help you identify drastic price drops and great deals quickly on Black Friday. Doing this research will also help you avoid wasting money on bad deals that might look tempting when you’re in the thick of the shopping frenzy.
Sign Up for E-Newsletters
While many retailers advertise Black Friday specials on their websites, you’ll typically need some insider information to score the best deals on this shopping holiday. The best way to be in the know is to sign up for e-newsletters from your favorite online outlets.
In most cases, subscribing to an email list couldn’t be easier. Navigate to your preferred retailer’s website and look for an email subscription box on the sidebar, in the footer, or in a popup. Double check that you’re entering the right email address, and subscribe. Be sure to check your inbox a few minutes later, as many retailers require you to click a link in an email to confirm your subscription.
Follow Companies on Social Media
Although most retailers send their best deals and biggest discounts to email subscribers, you’ll also want to mine social media platforms for Black Friday specials. Log on to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and follow the brands and stores where you’re planning to shop. Then, check their profiles regularly for special social media deals and promo codes, or opt to get notifications every time the brand publishes a post to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Bookmark Retailers’ Websites
Whether you have a long shopping list or you’re only planning to buy a few items on Black Friday, you’ll want to make sure you can complete purchases as smoothly as possible. Set yourself up for success by bookmarking retailers’ websites ahead of time so you can navigate quickly.
To speed things up even more, create an account and fill in your shipping and billing information on each site. When Black Friday arrives, you won’t have to waste time entering your contact details, and you’ll have a better chance of checking off everything on your list.
Understand Return Policies and Warranties
Don’t wait until Black Friday to start researching return policies for each store and warranties for every gift you plan to buy. Instead, make sure you understand them well in advance to avoid making any serious shopping mistakes.
As a general rule, you’ll want to check warranties for home improvement products and electronics to get the maximum value out of your purchases. You should also confirm return policies for anything in case you, or your intended recipient, change your mind.
Relax and Have Fun!
Getting the best deals of the season and completing your holiday shopping in mere hours can mean serious business. Keep in mind, however, that Black Friday is all about the thrill of the shopping hunt. No matter how long your list is, relax and have fun during this once-a-year shopping experience.
With this survival guide in hand, you can take your Black Friday approach to the next level. By doing your research, creating a budget, and checking your list twice, you’ll be ready to tackle your holiday shopping as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Black Friday.