5 Tips for Black Friday Shopping

5 Tips for Black Friday Shopping

The following post is from Madison of My Dollar Plan and Kids and Money at about.com:

Source: lululemon athletica

Black Friday is a time for shoppers to find and score bargains like no other time of year!

It’s also one of my favorite shopping days of the year. The stores open early with shoppers camping on the sidewalks and parking lots to get in before everybody else. Unfortunately, there always seem to be news reports of people getting into the stores resembling the-running-of-the-bulls with people getting shoved or bruised.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are tips to help you in your Black Friday shopping.

1. Make a list of desired purchases

Sit down and make a list of everyone you will buy for this season within your holiday budget. List three choices of gifts by each name. If the first item is not available, the second might be, and so on. Talking to the recipients will reveal what they desire. Be clever in asking questions and pay attention to subtle hints, such as magazines left open with items circled multiple times with felt marker.

2. Research the items

Next comes the detective part. In the circular ads, stores may have the items on the gift list at significant discounts or on the Black Friday freebie list. Determine which deals you can give to people on your list and try to get as many items on the list at one store as possible. This will save both time and money in trying to travel from store to store, and trying to find the elusive parking space on Black Friday.

Compare the prices with online deals. Sit down at the computer and research online deals for items. If you need to have the items shipped directly, look for free shipping, gift wrapping, and gift shipping. Instead of receiving the package, wrapping it, wrapping it again for shipping, taking it to the post office and paying for postage, let the merchant do it all for you with a click of a button.

3. Prepare for shopping

Shopping on Black Friday can be stressful. Plan to take along necessities. Take snacks stuffed in your purse or coat pockets so trips to the food courts do not distract from the mission of finding the gifts. Bring bottled water and sip while shopping. Do this outside the store, as employees may point out that drinking in the store is not allowed. Bring hand sanitizer, as bathroom sinks run out quickly with the throngs of shoppers.

4. Plan a travel route

Plan your travel route in advance. If two stores are relatively close to each other, plan to store purchases in the vehicle (covered by a tarp or blanket, or placed in the trunk), and walk to the second store. Riding the public bus to a second store is also a good option, as parking and traffic jams abound on Black Friday. Once back at your vehicle, place the items with the first purchases and continue.

If several stores are on the shopping list, use Google maps to plan a circular route that leads home after all purchases have been made. Take back roads instead of the main roads for the fastest travel.

5. Shop online and from catalogs

Shop online instead. This is the easiest way to shop, especially for those afraid of Black Friday shopping. Most items are available online, and comparing prices, shipping, gift wrapping, and so forth takes very little time. While I missed the frenzy, I also realized there were some years (when my kids were newborns), it just made more sense to shop online!

Editor’s note: Be sure to visit our sister site, Jungle Deals & Steals, for all of the best Black Friday deals from Amazon.com!

Have fun with Black Friday shopping and enjoy yourself!

Are you planning to shop on Black Friday?

Madison DuPaix is a mom to three young children with a background in finance and insurance. She loves retirement planning and taxes, and recently started her own tax business. Madison is the author of My Dollar Plan and is the guide to Kids and Money at about.com.
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