Black Friday 2015 – The Strategy

Black Friday 2015 - The StrategyIt’s that time of year again.  Can you believe it?  Was I not JUST secretly eating all my kids’ Halloween candy (just the Reese’s and Butterfingers)?  And now it’s upon us.  Not only have I called off my diet for the month, but I’ve been secretly stashing funds aside for the biggest shopping day of the year.  All in all, I’m ready to get busy and hit all my shopping fav’s on this day!

There are many things to consider when planning for the big day.  Most of this is common sense, but I like lists so here’s an easy 3-step guide to follow so you’re prepared:

  1. Make a list of what you want/need.  Think ahead.  Is this your day to Christmas shop, or do you just want to see if you can get a good deal on a TV?  This is the most crucial area because it also helps you prioritize your funds.
  2. Consult the internet for deals or get a good old-fashioned printed newspaper on Thanksgiving day.  These days, retailers have been leaking their ads earlier and earlier, so this shouldn’t be too difficult to find.  Once you do, figure out who has what on your list from #1, and then you can better achieve #3.
  3. Make a list of stores to hit up.  This will help you develop a plan of when you want to get started, and help fight against the confusion of “where to go next”.  Also, if you’re going with friends, this will enable you to agree ahead of time on where you’re going so you can get the most out of your time and focus on the deals!

If you’re only going shopping on Black Friday for, say, good deals on clothes and shoes (which is what I’ll be doing, FYI), then there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. BEWARE OF PROMOTIONS.  Most of the time promotions try to draw you in by advertising a good deal on an item that is in-season, and appealing to Holiday shoppers (which is kind of the definition of “promotion”, but anyway).  However, usually if you’re patient and wait a couple of weeks, that item you’re buying for $20 off the regular price will go on sale anyway.  Just try not to let the promo’s suck you in.
  2. Head straight to the sale area.  Most retailers turn over merchandise every 4-6 weeks, so they’re in the process of trying to clear out some good fall/winter merchandise right before Christmas.  This is a great place to start and get some excellent sale items.  Also, many stores will have extra discounts that will extend to the sale/clearance priced merchandise.  Make sure to look at the fine print on all coupons or ask an associate in-store.
  3. When you do buy something, make sure it’s returnable.  You don’t want to get stuck with a final sale item that you bought on promotion.  That’s the worst!  And it happens.  And it’s annoying.  Just look at the tag, the back of the receipt or better yet ask the cashier ringing you up.
  4. Wait for a sale, but don’t wait too long.  In the same breath that I’m telling you to bypass promotions and wait for items to go on sale, don’t wait too long.  If it’s a seasonal item you want to get, and it’s specific, Black Friday isn’t a bad bet.  For example, I buy my three boys Christmas PJ’s every year.  Last year I wanted to wait until they went on clearance right before Christmas, but then they were sold out of most sizes.  I ended up spending a lot more money ordering them online to have them in time for Christmas Eve.  Lesson learned.  If it’s a specific item you want, find a price point you’re comfortable with, and just do it.
  5. PRICE ADJUST.  This is my favorite.  I wish I could tally up how much money I’ve saved over the years by price adjusting… it would be very satisfying.  Most retailers offer 7-14 day price adjustment policies.  Hold onto that receipt and call or go back into the store within the price adjustment period – if the item has gone on sale, they’ll give you the difference.  It’s a glorious little trick many neglect.  (Tip: set a reminder on your phone to go in/call the store to see if it’s gone on sale before wasting your time with a possibly fruitless trip to the mall.)

I will not be shopping on Thanksgiving Day, which may save others some money.  Honestly, I just can’t think of anything I want badly enough to skip out on the pie for… But that’s just me.  Happy shopping!

Do you have a Black Friday strategy to share?  Please do so in the comments section.  I’d love to know your tricks!

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