A lot can be debated about the true savings potential of shopping on Black Friday versus the potential to overspend, but I’m not going to bother. If you’re shopping on Black Friday, the chances are that negative opinions of participating in the largest shopping day of the year aren’t going to change your plans. There are, of course, ways to save more money online during the epic shopping weekend, including Cyber Monday, but the Black Friday shoppers are – let’s face it – addicted to the hype of scoring that amazing deal in spite of the crowds and long lines. If you are someone who just plain enjoys the experience of Black Friday, here are some ways to make the day smoother, more efficient, and money-saving so you can spend a little more on those must-buy items and come away unscathed.
Fill up your gas tank well ahead of time. Just as gas prices go up before the weekend and holidays, you’d better believe they’ll be a little higher before Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Filling up now will probably save you a few cents per gallon while giving you more time at home with your family on Thanksgiving or in the stores Friday morning. Using a store-brand card such as the Kroger card or Wal-Mart gift card can also save you $.10 or more per gallon at the right gas stations.
Pack a purse or bag full of snacks and drinks. Stopping for food or getting ornery because you skipped breakfast isn’t ideal when you’re trying to move efficiently from store to store. Be sure to start your day off right with a nutritious breakfast and/or pack snacks and water to keep you fueled all day long to save both time and money.
Wear comfortable clothes. This may seem silly, but you need to treat Black Friday like a sporting event – get plenty of rest, refuel regularly, and wear appropriate attire. Your enjoyment of the event can be significantly hindered by achy feet or too tight clothing. At the same time, please have a sense of decency and consideration for others and don’t wear your pajamas.
Don’t get sidetracked. Good retailers know how to catch a shopper’s eye. You may have only gone into a store for one item, but end up with much more on impulse. Stick to the items you’ve researched and price-compared ahead of time. If you see something you really want that’s not on the list, determine to come back after another stop to make sure you’re thinking clearly and not caught up in the moment.
Don’t neglect common courtesy. Stay calm, be polite and don’t get pushy. We’ve all heard stories about customers fighting like children over electronics and toys. Determine to be ‘above’ rude and obnoxious behavior, even if you are the victim. If someone cuts in line or snatches your item, let it go. After all, it’s just ‘stuff.’ Be the adult so you won’t have to be embarrassed about your behavior later on when the frenzy is over. Also, be cautious when driving, parking, and walking into buildings since there is more potential for distracted driving.
Black Friday is a phenomenon that will only continue to gain momentum as retailers find new ways to lure shoppers in for one of their most profitable days of the year. Be smart, plan ahead, and use these tips so you’ll be able to participate without succumbing to the craziness, overspending, and materialism associated with it. Happy shopping!