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Each year, retailers have been opening their doors earlier and earlier for Black Friday with many opting to open up the night before on Thanksgiving.
While many will claim to be outraged by this behavior, hordes of people will shop anyway. Everyone is looking for a great deal, but you don’t need to lose your salvation over it. Here are some great tips to keep perspective.
Do Your Research Now
A number of websites are dedicated to Black Friday. Most of them feature “leaked” sales ads from many stores so you can start mapping out your shopping route. They are also good sources for “breaking news” stories, product guides, store hours and more. Perhaps the best site is Brad’s Black Friday as it is easy to read and is also a source for additional discounts at retailers before Black Friday.
Should You Stay or Should You Go?
The great thing about dealing with today’s Black Friday deals is the option of purchasing online. If you hate crowds, online shopping may be just the ticket for you. While many stores offer “doorbusters” to get you into the physical shops, many of these deals are limited to a small stock on hand and without rain checks.
Some stores offer many of their clearance items as a disguise for sale items, so they may only have one or two of the advertised item. Many online stores offer doorbusters as well, but in larger quantities. However, you’ll want to order these items as soon as possible as they will sell out as well.
Know the Better Deals
According to Matt Granite from WKYC-TV in Cleveland, online deals tend to be better than those at the physical stores on Black Friday. They are also better than the deals you’ll find on Cyber Monday. He also points out that some of the best deals to purchase before Black Friday include holiday treats and gift baskets, space heaters and furnace installations, luggage, winter generators and Bluetooth speaker docs.
The worst deals to be had before the big day include televisions, appliances, bedding and towels, anything made by Apple, games, movies and multimedia.
As for the actual day, he says to refrain from making purchases on toys, holiday décor and non-bundled electronic games, as they will all be selling cheaper two weeks before Christmas.
Keep the Kids at Home
Many parents drag their kids to Black Friday sales and by the end of the day, everyone is crying. Heavy crowds, crazy traffic and lack of sleep can affect everyone, but especially the kids. Instead, shop with a buddy while your spouse watches the kids or consider doing a co-op with one of your neighbors. Strike a deal that you’ll watch their kids for a couple of hours while they do the same for you. Offer to pick up sale items for your friend as well.
Look for Freebies
With so many presents to buy, you might as well take advantage of some of the free giveaways offered by many stores. Usually these are limited to the first 100-500 customers. Dealnews.com has a list of stories offering extra incentives. If getting free stuff isn’t important to you, than don’t bother with the extra stress.
Plan Your Attack
Whether you shop with a buddy or by yourself, you need a plan of action. Go through the ads ahead of time, marking the better deals with a highlighter and then writing down the same offers on separate sheet of paper. Bring the ads with you so you can make sure you are getting the deal the store is advertising. Write out a plan on which stores to hit first by going to the stores that open the earliest first. Pack some granola bars or snacks and hot coffee. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. Don’t forget your cell phone!
Divide and Conquer
If shopping with a friend, consider splitting up the shopping duties between the two of you. Travel to opposite ends of the store and then meet at a neutral location at a certain time. Before rushing to the check lines though, look over your wares thoroughly and decide if you really need or want them all. It’s easy to get caught up “saving” money only to spend more than you intended. After you get home, do it again. There’s no shame returning items to the store in order to keep your budget in line.
Consider Shopping When Others Aren’t
If you aren’t too concerned about “doorbusters” or freebies, consider shopping an hour or two after the stores open to miss the morning crowd and to beat the coming onslaught of afternoon shoppers. If you really feel adventurous, shop after midnight if that is an option.
Focus on having fun, rather than getting all of your shopping done (it won’t happen anyway) and learn to shrug if you “just missed” that “fantastic” offer. Try to remember, it’s only a day of shopping, not heart surgery.
Be a Light
As silly as it might sound, consider praying before you go. Not that you’ll get the best deals, but that you’ll remember to be kind to others. Be gracious to those who are not. Be friendly to the store staff – they have a long day ahead of them and would probably rather be somewhere else. Let this be an opportunity to be a good Christian witness and share Christ’s love.