Black Friday and Cyber Monday Holiday Shopping Tips
It’s the retail industries biggest day! A day when their sales typically take them out of the red (loss) and into the black (profit). That’s how Black Friday got its name. Of course, with the invention of the internet came Cyber Monday, as stores wanted to capitalize on the holiday buying frenzy and capture shoppers who didn’t find what they were looking for on Black Friday or didn’t want to deal with the crowds.
Whether you’re a Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday shopper, we’ve put together some Holiday Shopping Tips just for you.
Set a Shopping Budget
Set a shopping budget. Decide how much you can afford and/or how much you’re willing to spend overall. You may want to consider setting aside a set amount as a cushion. That way, if you find an item that is slightly over your allotted gift amount, you have some wiggle room. Do your best to stick to your budget. You’ll thank yourself later.
Make a List of Who to Buy For
Make a list of who you need to buy for (family, friends, co-workers, etc.). Figure out how much you’re going to spend on each person, while still staying within your overall shopping budget. Keep in mind that you’re not going to spend the same amount on each person. Clearly, you’ll spend more on loved ones, than acquaintances.
Make a Family Wish List
Talk to your friends and family members to gather ideas of what they’d like for Christmas or consider putting together a family wish list. This is especially helpful when buying for youngsters because what’s in today, maybe out tomorrow. Be sure to bring the list with you when you head out to the stores.
Have Someone Watch the Kids
Have someone watch your kids, so you don’t have to bring them with you. There are many reasons why – (1) it will allow you to purchase their items without them knowing what they’re getting, (2) the crowds make it tough to keep an eye on your kids, especially if they’re young (3) you’ll spend more money when their around, as they’ll want you to buy something for them, and (4) if they get cranky, it will make you cranky and it’s already a crazy day.
Check the Store Ads
Check the sale papers and online ads. See which stores are open on Thanksgiving Thursday and which ones open on Black Friday. Some websites, such as BestBlackFriday.com, show a copy of the Black Friday sale papers for some of the major stores. Or you can pick up a paper Thanksgiving morning. Some stores limit their sales to a particular time frame, so you’ll want to be keep that in mind when planning your day.
Plan Your Day
Plan out the order of stores you want to go to first, second, etc. You’ll want to purchase big electronic items first, as supplies are very limited on these devices. Make sure you have the adequate trunk space and/or help because some of these items can be big and heavy. Consider driving home right away to unload the item(s), as you may need the trunk space for other purchases. Not to mention it can be a potential for theft.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Wear warm comfortable clothing and shoes. It’s best to layer your clothing, as the temperature may fluctuate, especially if you’re shopping in the wee hours of the morning. You may find yourself standing in a line outside of a store at 4am in the morning, so warm clothing and comfortable shoes are a must. It’s also helpful to look presentable, as you never know who you might run into.
Shop with Family or Friends
Go with (adult) family or friends. This can be especially helpful when navigating the electronic or toy section of a store, where the crowds can be overwhelming. Some stores block the smaller aisles due to increased inventory or to control the crowds. So it helps to have another person, as they may be able to get to the item before you can. Also, you can take turns standing in the checkout line, while the other one continues to shop. As you get close to the register, call one another, so you’re ready to check out when it’s your turn.
Charge Your Cell Phones
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you head out the door. If shopping with others, be sure to have their number and confirm their phone is charged. You can check the online ads, text, call, or check emails while waiting in line.
Place all the sale papers in one bag and bring it with you when you shop. This allows you to check the competitor’s pricing and timelines for certain sales. Some stores will match the price of their competitors for the exact item, so it helps to have the ad to show them. This is where paper ads may come in handy, as your memory is more apt to recall where you saw the sale item than if you were surfing the web checking various sites. Either way, be prepared to ask the cashier if they will match the price.
Be Aware of your Surroundings
If you find yourself shopping while it’s still dark outside, be sure to park where it’s lit. Place all shopping bags in your trunk to avoid theft. If you’ve got a vehicle where your trunk is exposed, cover your shopping bags with blankets or beach towels.
Pack a small igloo with drinks and snacks in the car for pick me ups between stores. Some fast food restaurants and coffee places are not open 24 hours, so consider checking their hours if you’re going to be out in the wee hours of the night.
Check the Return Policy
Search the internet for items to get an idea of prices, so you know if you’re getting a good deal. This way you can decide whether to buy online or purchase at the store. Be sure to check the store’s or website’s return policy. If purchasing online, be on the lookout for when your packages may arrive at your doorstep.
When All Else Fails
Don’t go! Beat the crowds and give everyone cash or gift cards!