By Jessica J. Wilson
Believe it or not, hot cocoa, gingerbread houses, decorating the Christmas tree and, of course, gift shopping are right around the corner. What better way to knock out all your holiday shopping than participating in Black Friday. Some of the best deals on products show up right after you stuff yourself with tons of turkey and dressing.
Here are some tips for smooth shopping on a day that can otherwise be hectic and frustrating:
1. Scope out the deals early. Ads for the upcoming sales start surfacing online in mid-October. Paper ads come out in the local paper on Thanksgiving. Most papers sell out fast, so I recommend buying one early Thursday morning.
2. Once you have all the ads at your fingertips, start preparing a list of each store you intend to shop at as well as the items you are looking for and their sale prices. That way there is no
3. Make a game plan of what time each store opens, so you aren’t missing any of the items you want to purchase. Many stores have started opening as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and are staying open through Friday. If you are hoping to snag some of the big ticket items on Black Friday, I suggest you shop when the doors open.
4. For respect to other customers, be prepared to use cash or a debit/credit card. Checks take too long to fill out and will end up backing up the lines.
5. If you are shopping with fellow family members or friends, have one person stand in line while the others shop for a specific item. Lines on Black Friday usually take an hour or more to move through.
6. If an item you want is sold out in the store, ask if they offer a rain check. If they don’t, try searching for the item online or
during Cyber Monday, which happens online the Monday after Thanksgiving.
7. Remember to bring water and snacks. During the rush hours of holiday shopping, it is easy to forget to hydrate. Make a game plan to stop and have a snack between sales. Many restaurants, including Steak ’n Shake and IHOP, stay open all night and are in close proximity to all the big stores with sales.
Once you have finished shopping, keep all your receipts in a safe place, in case you need to return anything.
The most important thing is to enjoy shopping this year. The better you plan for Black Friday, the less frustrated you’ll be once you hit the stores. Make a night of it, and have fun with your family. I hope you score all the gifts on your list.