Note: This is a partnered post with Shopular. All opinions are honest and are my own.
Black Friday arrives next week, and people will be out in full force searching for amazing deals on everything from televisions to pajamas. I’ve been a Black Friday shopper for over a decade now, and have picked up some tips to make your experience more pleasant. There will always be crazy people out there who fight over items, but in all the years I’ve shopped I’ve had a great experience 99% of the time. Here are a few tips to help your Black Friday shopping go as smoothly as possible:
- TEAMWORK! Trust me, don’t go Black Friday shopping alone. It’s pretty essential to have a wingman – or two, if possible. Ideally, have one friend (or your spouse) volunteer to be your driver, so you can be dropped off and picked up without having to worry about finding parking. The driver can also keep the car nice and toasty. I’ve seen some people stand in line outside stores, and then right before doors open their driver will swing by and pick up chairs, coats, and blankets so the shoppers don’t have to carry them into the store. Which reminds me…
- Come prepared to keep warm & comfortable. A couple of years ago my friend Chemese and I went to Old Navy for a free video game they were giving the first 50 shoppers. We got there and quickly realized that standing for an hour or two wasn’t going to be all that fun. I drove to my house, grabbed some camping chairs, blankets, and magazines, and then we were able to wait in comfort with entertainment at our fingertips. Since we were there together, I could run and put up all our items before the store opened while Chemese held our spot in line. It’s a great idea to have items with you – coats, blankets, chairs, magazines, hand warmers, snacks and drinks are all must-haves. We’ve even seen people come with a portable heater before! Also: Charge your phone while you’re driving because your battery will end up draining as you browse, and it will end up dying at the most inopportune time if you’re not prepared.
- Plan, plan, plan. Map out where you want to go. Prioritize deals so you can figure out which stores are must-haves and which aren’t as important to you. Shopular is a great app that shares deals year-round, but right now they have a special Black Friday section that makes it incredibly easy to see all the Black Friday ads on your phone.
With Shopular, you can save deals and coupons to easily access later, and one of my favorite aspects is people can comment – crowdsourcing can give you SO much information and answer questions you have. Take the Old Navy ad, for instance – you’ll see above that it has 34 comments – people asked questions and got them answered all within the Shopular app.
You can keep up with Shopular on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, too for other Black Friday details and for shopping info in general.
- Make a list. Sometimes two stores might have similar deals. If you buy board games at Target, and forget and buy them at WalMart too, you’ll end up having to make a trip back later for returns (which we all know is a pain). Make a list of everything you intend to buy, and then you can mark it off as you make purchases. You can also use the list to keep you on track. Let’s say you see a Keurig and are thinking about going ahead and spending $100 to get it; if you look at your list and see everything else you’re going to be spending money on, you might be more likely not to spend that extra money.
- Realize it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get an item. I think the thrill of the hunt is a lot of fun, but I never go in to Black Friday shopping with the attitude that I absolutely have to get something. There are some crazy good deals out there, but the items themselves will still be around after Black Friday, and there’s no point in getting stressed if items you want are all snatched before you arrive at the store.
- Random acts of kindness make the experience better for everyone. Black Friday shopping involves a lot of waiting in line. Bring snacks or drinks that you can share with people waiting near you to help make their wait a little better, too. Or better yet, bring something for the people working. Many of the store employees you encounter would rather be at home with their families, so brighten their day with a snack or a $5 Sonic or Starbucks gift card to use once they get off work. When so much focus is on buying, it’s nice to interject a little thoughtfulness and kindness into the mix, don’t you think?
I hope your shopping experience for Black Friday is great, and above all I hope your Thanksgiving is a day spent with those you love reflecting on all you’re thankful for!