Black Friday 2012 is just days away and it’s a great opportunity to bag the best bargains of the shopping season. On the other hand, it can also cause the hardiest shopper to lose their cool because of long lines, too few sales clerks, and a shopping frenzy unlike any other. The best way to bag Black Friday’s best bargains in 2012 is to develop a survival plan well before you walk into that first store. Below are some survival tips, from one experienced Black Friday shopper who has pretty much seen it all.
Plan your shopping trip
- Make your list and set a budget. Decide whom you need to buy for and set a budget. Then stick to it. Write down everyone’s name and a few gift suggestions. Be sure to include size information for apparel purchases.
- Check the Internet. Most major retailers have already leaked their Black Friday ads. BlackFriday.com is a great online resource for hunting for the best Black Friday deals and comparing prices before you hit the stores.
- Check the newspapers. While the Internet is great, it’s far easier to compare the sale items in print. Take some time on Thanksgiving, while your turkey is digesting, to leisurely browse through the ads. Go through each retailer’s ad, circle the items you want, and write them down on a master sheet.
- Plan out your route. If you want to hit Walmart, Target and Sears, figure out the opening times, and decide upon the order you want to hit the stores to maximize your shopping time. For 2012, Walmart and Toys R us open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Target opens one hour later at 9 p.m.
Pack the essentials
- Maps and lists. Don’t forget your maps or GPS, shopping lists and a plan of action. Put everything in the car on Thanksgiving night so they’re ready to go on Friday. Black Friday apps are also a great way to stay organized during the shopping frenzy.
- Water and snacks. Shopping can be very tiring, so make sure you have protein snacks, breakfast bars, and plenty of water in the car to drink between stops. Too much coffee in the morning on can cause a caffeine drop early in the afternoon.
Survival tips for Black Friday 2012
- Leave the kids at home. Leave the kids with Dad (if he’s off from work) or find a sitter. Nothing will slow you down more than cranky kids.
- Shop with a friend. It’s important to find a shopping buddy so that you can “tag team” on Black Friday. One person can scour the aisles, while the other stands in line. This will save you valuable time, so that you can move onto the next store more quickly. A shopping buddy also means that you will only have to find one parking space, instead of two.
- Lock your car and hide your packages. Thieves are out in full force on Black Friday. Make sure to lock your purchases in your trunk, or at least hide them from plain view.
- Keep your handbag and wallet close by your side. It’s easy to leave them on a store counter while checking out.
- Take a break. When you begin to tire, take a break at a local coffee shop. Too much fast and furious shopping can take a toll on even the most seasoned bargain hunters.
- Skip the heels. Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll do a lot of walking and standing in lines.
- Buy more than one item if it’s an especially good deal. Have you found the deal of the century? Why not buy 2-3 in case you’ve forgotten someone on your list?
- Use Black Friday apps. If you own a smartphone, there are quite a few apps to help your search on Black Friday. The crown jewel is TGI Black Friday. Users can view ads from all major retailers to compare prices right in the stores. You can also search for week-long deals that are available prior to Black Friday.
Final Black Friday survival tip
Unload your car, hide your bargains and rest assured that you got the biggest bang for your buck on Black Friday 2012. Then treat yourself to a nice glass of wine or a warm bath. You deserve it for surviving the chaos of Black Friday.