Black Friday Survival Guide!

by Her Happy Balance on November 25, 2013

You guys, it’s quickly approaching that time of year again. That frenzied, wonderful, champagne-y, merry time of the year! I’m just a little, teeny bit excited. Okay fine, I’m super, ridiculously STOKED that the holiday season is nearing. After you’re done stuffing yourself with extra servings of your mom’s homemade mashed potatoes and you’ve eaten your fair share of pumpkin pie…it’s time to let it all digest while scheming. Yup, you read that right. It’s time to scheme and formulate a plan.

Black Friday survival guide

A Black Friday shopping plan!

It probably comes as no surprise to you whatsoever that I am one of those wackadoodles that gets out of bed at the butt crack of dawn and gets my booty over to the mall to brave the masses. In fact, this is right up my alley! I’ve been a devout Black Friday shopper since high school. Because once you reach high school age, you’re actually expected to give people legitimate presents. The days of giving “World’s Greatest Dad” keychains and macaroni necklaces to mom are over. For the record – my macaroni necklace days ended in grade school…but you get the point. Real presents. Thoughtful presents. Gifts that say, this reminded me of you OR I really thought this would be great for your [insert hobby here]. But picking out those presents on a high schooler’s budget with tests and homework and rarely enough money for a tank of gas to drive to the mall is rough. Enter the glorious day of Black Friday.

On Black Friday, not only can you get some outrageous deals, but if you work it right, you can get all of your holiday shopping done in a day! We’re all about time-savers, right? Right! But you can’t just show up at the mall without a plan. Oh no, no, no my shopping friends. You must plan!

Black Friday Shopping Guide

Step 1: Make a Shopping List.
Who do you have to buy for? What item do you plan on purchasing each person? What’s your budget? Figure it out and write it down. Leave space next to every item, you will be adding to this later.

Step 2: Determine Where to Buy.
Which stores carry the item you need to buy? If you do your research, you can usually find out the Black Friday deals about a week or so in advance. There are phone apps to help you with this, or a good ol’ Google search will get the job done as well. Determine where you want to buy each item and write it down on the list you made in step one next to item. Having a clear and focused list will be the key to a successful Black Friday shopping spree.

Step 3: Cut Coupons.
After you’re finished inhaling enough tryptophan for a small village, get out the Thanksgiving day newspaper and look through all the ads. Department stores almost always have extra 20% coupons that you can clip. Consult your shopping list, check the stores you need to go to, and cup those coupons, baby!

Step 4: Check Store Hours.
Black Friday shopping has gotten super, ridiculously intense these past couple years. Instead of stores opening at 5am like the good ol’ days of yore, now they don’t even close! Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain Walmart employees never sleep, yikes! Check your ads and see when each store you need to go to opens. Again, write it down on the list. You are going to have one monster of an awesome list when you are finished. Some stores are tricky, too. Occasionally stores, like Target, will offer a specific deal – say on a certain brand and size of TV – during a specific time window. If the deal you want is only available from 10pm-12am or 5am-7am you best be writing that down!

Step 5: Make a Game Plan.
Now that you know who you’re buying for, what you’re buying them, where you’ll get it from, and when that store opens, it’s time to figure out which store to hit up first! Consider how “hot” of an item each thing you need to buy is, go to the stores with big ticket items first. Usually a store will only carry so many of each big item and they will assign you numbers when you get there. If you don’t show up to a store early enough, you won’t get a ticket. So save the cheap DVDs and books for last, go for the electronics and appliances first.

Black Friday Shopping List

May the shopping forces be with you!

Are you a Black Friday shopper?
What do you usually do after Thanksgiving dinner? Any family traditions?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake November 25, 2013 at 7:26 am

Love your ideas! I usually go Black Friday shopping with my mom, but we rarely have a game plan. We like to just browse and see what we can find! I might try to be more organized this year and knock a few people off my list right away!

kathy @ vodka and soda November 25, 2013 at 7:48 am

i used to be one of those crazy shoppers lining up for hours to grab deals…but those days for me are over however, my hubs sometimes still does that.

although i might check out online stuff….

Vodka and Soda

Caitlin November 25, 2013 at 9:03 am

What a great post, girl! I have never gone out for Black Friday and usually avoid it like the plague since huge crowds usually overwhelm me, but I am considering going out for a few things. We’ll see if I actually get the courage to go haha. I’ll definitely be using these tips if I go πŸ™‚

Caitlyn @ City and the Cubicle November 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

So not a Black Friday shopper because I can’t deal with the ginormous crowds and the frantic pace and energy. I prefer Cyber Monday πŸ™‚

Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne November 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

I’ve never been a black friday shopper before, but I want to get my dad these really expensive headphones, that I of course don’t have the money for (broke college student over here holla!), so I may very well be doing this, but I will now be doing my research this week!

Beth @ Mangoes and Miles November 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

LOVE this! I’m usually not a huge Black Friday shopper in the sense that I wake up at 3am to go shopping…I’ll usually go later in the day at like 11am…you know, normal shopping hours. πŸ˜› I’ve gotten a few steals in the past–I got what is still one of my favorite sweaters ever at Banana Republic for like $10. It was fantastic. But for the most part, I tend to do my holiday shopping online (oh Amazon Prime, you’re a magnificent thing).

Taryn November 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

I love Black Friday shopping, too! I don’t usually buy anything though haha.. I just love how crazy the stores are! Last year, I went to Target, snagged a bunch of stuff, and stashed it in a random aisle. I went back later in the day, found my stuff, and was able to skip all the lines. Yay! I need to check the circulars though – I need ideas for this year, and I’m sure that will help.

Suzanne @ hello, veggy! November 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I’m so impressed at your game plan! I’m not much of a shopper; crowds overwhelm me !

Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen November 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Great tips! I need to jump on the band wagon with my holiday shopping. Good call on the coupons!

Davida @ the Healthy Maven November 25, 2013 at 2:07 pm

How do you think my boss would react if I asked him to take Friday off to observe black friday? It’s not even thanksgiving here but I take black friday very seriously. I appreciate a lady who takes it as seriously as I do!

Also your captchas are legit hard for me. WTF is 7 x 3? Have to use my calculator for this one. How have I survived this long?

Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens) November 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I went Black Friday shopping once….by the time I got in the store and picked out a few things, I realized the line was around the whole store and said forget it! We went to a diner and had bloody marys instead!

Kristina @ Damn Ten Pounds November 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

You are so organized… can I pay you to be my holiday shopper? I hate hate hate the mall!!

Amanda @ .running with spoons. November 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I’m seriously bummed that we don’t have Black Friday in Canada. We have Boxing Day… but that makes almost no sense since it falls on December 26th… after everyone gets their presents already. Good call on that one, Canada πŸ™„ But you’re a lot braver than I am — I hide at home to avoid the crowds πŸ˜†

Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat November 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Great ideas; although, I have to say that I’m not a black Friday shopper. I hate being in the crowds and people seem to act kind of crazy to get a good deal. I’ll probably do some shopping online instead! πŸ˜‰

Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures November 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

Ahhh Leslee!! You love Black Friday?!?!
I can’t stand it.
I used to work retail and working it totally sucked.
Then I started shopping it and I hated it even more. I hate shopping, so that could be a reason… But also, all the people?! AHH! GET AWAY FROM ME!
One year I went and just bought a whole bunch of shit and got home and was all, “Um, who can I give this to?”
Your master list would have been super handy at that time, why didn’t you find me sooner in life?
Gross, don’t support WalMart, ever. Bleh.
Anyway, this year, instead of Black Friday shopping, I’ll be Black Friday flying to Seattle. Bye Bye retail hell. Hello freezing weather. πŸ™‚
LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Jessie November 26, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Fun & informative post. For the past few years I just can’t stand going out and dealing w/ the crowds. You can find me up at midnight on the computer scoring deals that way πŸ™‚

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