Twelve tips to conquering Black Friday shopping

By Jordyn Burt and Rachel Quinn


Black Friday has grown into a sport. The day after Thanksgiving is not a day of leisurely shopping for Christmas, but a holiday itself. An increasing amount of families are incorporating the massive shopping day into Thanksgiving plans, looking through ads ready to conquer the sales awaiting them.

If you are one of those people, or want to start, here are 12 tips to make Black Friday an adventure without letting the chaos take over:

1.) Look at the advertisements ahead of time.

The biggest mistake that people make is going into a store and blindly shopping. That is acceptable on any other day of the year but not on Black Friday. If  you don’t have any idea of what you want, looking at ads will help. Stores purposefully leak their ads weeks early to make them a “must stop spot” on everyone’s list. Take advantage of these ads.

2.) Think laterally.

It’s probably in your best interest to think about some alternative items you might substitute for items you’re seeking that have already sold out, especially if they are very high in demand.  The odds that you won’t always get the items you’ve planned to buy are fairly high, especially when they are popular, so have an idea of a satisfactory replacement.

3.) Plan your shopping attack with the precision of a general planning a battle.

Decide where the best deals on the items you want are and hit those stores as soon as you can. The more popular the item, the faster it will be sold out. Prioritizing the items you want is an important step to being prepared and ready to getting items you want.

4.) Check store hours ahead of time.

With Black Friday, timing is everything. Stores are opening sooner, with deals starting late on Thanksgiving. Make a list of all the important stops and what times they open. Keep in mind that some stores are less popular than others. While Walmart is crawling with shoppers, you can make a trip to a less popular store until the crowd dies down.

5.) Visit or download the app.

Coupons on top of Black Friday sales is a combination that no one should deny. RetailMeNot has coupons for almost every store for online and in-store shopping. Specific stores can be searched, making it customized to your location. The coupons can be printed or scanned at the register from your electronic device. RetailMeNot also allows its users to favorite stores, making the coupons easier to find.

6.) Make it a group event.

While Black Friday is about the sales, it is also about having an adventure with others. Having a group of friends will make it more fun when it’s an experience that you can share.

7.) Know the return and exchange policies.

Each store has specific return policies for the holiday shopping season. For example Walmart’s holiday return policy states that electronics bought between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 have to be returned by Jan. 10. If you are not liking the purchase, make sure it is returned by the date or you will be stuck with it.

8.) The Internet is your friend.

Use Google or Amazon to compare store ads to everyday prices. The ads might claim that an item is on sale when it is actually normal price. Don’t be afraid to make sure you are getting the best deal.

9.) Don’t forget about online sales.

If you don’t get a thrill from shopping on Black Friday and crowds are not for you, there are options. The majority of Black Friday doorbusters are available online. Don’t forget about Cyber Monday where there are enormous deals that can only be accessed online.

10.) Use the 40 percent rule.

If something is not at least 40 percent off the regular retail price, don’t buy it. The price will most likely go down to at least 40 percent during another sale before Christmas. It is OK to not get everything you need for Christmas during Black Friday, the sales will continue and you might find a better deal at another time.

11.) Keep all receipts.

Even if the purchase is an item you would never dream of returning, keep the receipt. The price may drop within a few days and according to some company policies, they will adjust the price or give you the difference. Always keep an eye on the lowest prices so you get the best deal.

12.) Keep your sanity intact.

Step back and take a breath every once in a while. This is just shopping, folks, just shopping. It is consumerism at its best, and while participating in it in an orderly and considered way can reap you benefits, behaving like it’s a race to the death is neither civil nor sensible. If you feel exhausted or angry with your fellow shoppers, or feel as if you’re about to physically or verbally lash out, your body is telling you it’s time to head home.