Black Friday is one of the best shopping days of the year – and it’s also one of the craziest. Yes, there are extremely low prices to take advantage of, but the hoards of people and late night hours can be overwhelming and potentially dangerous for many. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. This year, you can approach Black Friday in a calm and organized manner, turning a potentially chaotic experience into a relaxed and potentially fun one. Thus, we present you with this guide to surviving Black Friday so you can take control of the madness (and escape with your sanity).
Plan Ahead. Retailers start advertising their Black Friday deals a week or two before the actual event. Research them and make a plan on what you want to purchase. This is also the time to cut out any coupons offered and to check websites for more information on sales.
Make a List and Check It Twice. Put a list together of who you are buying gifts for along with possible gift ideas for each person. Having a specific list will help save time so you can move on to the next store.
Do Your Homework. Visit the stores you are targeting for Black Friday ahead of time to locate where your desired merchandise is placed around the store. Once you know where you are going within the store, list out all the stores you want to visit throughout the day and put them in order based on when they open and their proximity to each other.
Location, Location, Location. If the store you usually go to is packed on a normal day, find another location that is off the beaten path. It can help your chances to score a good deal and a few less people to deal with.
Start Early. The early bird catches the worm or, in this case, the “doorbuster deal.” Plan to be at the store a few hours ahead of time to be as close to the first person as possible. While it stinks to wait outside in the cold (at night!) for hours, it’s much better to do so to get the desired deals and get out before the checkout lines start wrapping around the store.
Leave the Kids at Home. The hours are late, and the crowds can get rough, so it’s best to leave the children at home. Not to mention they can slow you down and run the risk of getting lost or abducted. According to Forbes.com, if you do have to bring children, then make sure they know their phone number and address, and if not, then put that information in their pocket.
Parking. Parking can be a huge problem, so see if you can rope a buddy into dropping you off and picking you up once you’re done.
Protect yourself and your merchandise. Since there are masses of people gathering to spend money, it’s inevitably going to attract thieves. So before you get wrapped up in the thrill of discounts follow these safety tips:
- Wear a cross–body (messenger) bag and keep your cash and credit cards in pockets that zip.
- Walk on sidewalks
- Be aware of motorcycles and cars coming up close. Thieves can drive up right beside you to steal your purse and/or merchandise.
Check online. Before you make the decision to participate in Black Friday, check online first. Often times stores offer free shipping and additional discounts to order online rather than coming into the store. Not to mention, there are always Cyber Monday deals to check out just a few days later. So do some research on the stores’ websites to see if you can find the same deals online without having to leave your home.
Whew! Just typing that guide is exhausting, but I know it will help my friends and me (and hopefully you!) survive the intense excitement that is shopping on Black Friday. Are any of you experienced Black Friday shoppers? Share your tips and tricks for savings and survival in the comments!