For shoppers, Black Friday is Game Day. It’s like the World Cup for shoppers worldwide and if it were a sport, those scoring the biggest and best deals WIN. But getting up and out the door on the biggest shopping day of the year can be too overwhelming for some people, which might explain why Black Friday now has its online counterpart - Cyber Monday, with online traffic rivaling Super Bowl Sunday TV viewing!
Whether the hustle and bustle is like honey to your inner bear or kryptonite to your inner superman, we’ve got tips that will guarantee to help you get your game face on!
PREP FOR GAME DAY
The most important part of Black Friday shopping happens before the big day. By prepping and planning in advance, you’ll be ready to make the most of Black Friday.
- What is Winning Worth – budget now to save later. Make sure to budget for last minute deals and steals – that’s part of the fun!
- Map Your Plays – whether you shop in person or online, mapping where to go, and when, will pay off. Make sure you know which stores are only offering early-bird door busters and which stores have sales all day long.
- Know Your Stats – pay with plastic for bonus points; today’s smartest credit cards get you cash back, airline or hotel miles or store brand coupons. Be sure to pay down your balances and/or pay off high interest cards in favor of these top-rated cards.
- Review the Field Rules - price matching is one of the best kept money-saving secrets on Black Friday. Some retailers match competitor pricing, giving the ability to cut down on the number of stores you visit, saving you both gas and time, and by taking advantage of product price discrepancies between stores.
OFFENSE: BRICK & MORTAR PLAYS
For those who look forward to taking on the crowds for the chance to run away with the big in-store door busters:
Be the Early Bird
If you feel the need to get off the couch on Thanksgiving evening, go shopping! In years past, I just relaxed at home after enjoying a day of eating. But now, with many retailers opening on Thanksgiving night, I can capitalize on great deals and avoid the long lines. Plus, many Black Friday discounts will be in effect on Thanksgiving night.
Study the Playbook
Before you head to the stores, always compare your in-store deals to online deals. While Cyber Monday technically doesn’t start until the Monday after Thanksgiving, many online retailers kick off sales early. You may find better prices online that negate the need to fight Black Friday crowds. Just be sure to factor shipping costs and retailer ratings into your online purchases to ensure that you’re getting a great deal from a trustworthy source.
Get in the Game
There is nothing wrong with buying a gift card for someone who is hard to shop for. That way, the person can get what they really want, without feeling guilty. Just make sure to purchase a card that has no expiration date, no inactivity fees, and no usage fees, that way there’s no worry! Some experts recommend photocopying gift cards in the event the recipient loses the card.
Avoid a Yellow Card
Although you feel like you have chosen the perfect gift for everyone on your list, it’s still possible that you’ve missed the mark. Don’t fret! By asking for a gift receipt, you’re covered. Just don’t forget to include the gift receipt in the package before wrapping or shipping. This makes it easy and acceptable for the recipient to exchange or return without the hassle.
Get More Rush Yards Per Carry
Have ads handy in case you need to reference a sale or if you’re planning to take advantage of a retailer’s price matching policy. Remember, many retailers offer price matching, but taking advantage of these guarantees involves a lot more than mentioning a better deal from a competitor. Be sure to at least stow paper copies in the car if you haven’t downloaded an app that stores Black Friday ads for you.
Since many sales now start on Thanksgiving night, there’s less need to stand outside and wait for stores to open. This cuts down on the time spent out in frigid temperatures. That said, it’s important to dress appropriately for the day. Transitioning between a cold parking lot and a packed store can result in overheating, so dress in easily removable layers. I like to wear a lighter jacket with a scarf and gloves for added warmth.
Tailgate – invite friends to join you!
Shopping with friends makes Black Friday more fun, and teamwork can give you more coverage. By working together as a team, you improve your chances of nabbing every item on your list. Start a group text to share found deals or seek help for items not easily found. And, don’t forget to set your phone alarms so you all meet up for lunch or cocktails.
DEFENSE: ONLINE SHOPPERS SECRET WEAPON
For those who prefer to shop in comfort; clad in PJs at the kitchen counter with a cup of coffee (or two or three) in hand, you can find many of the same steals and deals online.
Time to Pass
When a friend invites you to join her at pre-dawn to visit a flurry of shopping destinations in record time, take a pass. Your favorite brands and stores will have online sales, the best and biggest scheduled for Cyber Monday. Look for free shipping codes online ahead of time and go over your plays before the big day.
Nowadays you can shop at any U.S. retailer and ship overseas with ease. For help consolidating purchases made in the states that you want to ship overseas, look no further than A+ rated Stackry. Their handy shipping calculator is an absolute must-have during the busy holiday shopping season!
Partially adapted from Money Crashers Black Friday Tips.