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10 Tips for Surviving Black Friday

Posted By Tara Kuczykowski On November 25, 2013 @ 11:30 am In living on less | No Comments

Black Friday Shopping Tips

Can you believe that Black Friday is only four days away?!? If you're planning to hit the sales, it really pays to do some prep work ahead of time to ensure that you walk away feeling like you got the most for your time and money. In fact, some retailers are offering deals throughout the week, and many retailers, like Staples, will be open on Thanksgiving, so you can get a head start on those deals and shop right after Thanksgiving dessert!

10 Tips on How to Successfully Shop for Black Friday Deals:

1. Make a list.

There is little time for browsing on Black Friday. To maximize your time and savings, make two lists -- a shopping list of the deals you want to take advantage of and a gift list with the people that you still need to buy for.

Start by scanning the Black Friday ads and writing down any deals that are within your budget for yourself or as a gift on your Black Friday shopping list. Identifying these awesome deals in advance is a key first step to help you not only save money that day but lots of time, as well. And, if you’re really looking to take advantage of all the great deals out there, you may want to head to the stores right on Thanksgiving day! Many retailers, like Staples, have already released their Black Friday deals and will be open starting at 8 p.m.

Before you head out, make a separate gift list to take with you with the people that you still need to buy for. This way you can keep your eyes peeled for unadvertised specials that are the perfect gift that you may not have considered before!

2. Prioritize.

Once you have your shopping list done, decide which items are your highest priority. Prioritize both by store and by item so that you start with the deals that are most important to you.

3. Be realistic.

Realistically, you're going to have to choose just one doorbuster item at one store as your top priority because you simply won't be able to wait in line to be the first person at each store. You'll also want to be realistic about how much you can get done in the amount of time you have to shop and how long your energy will hold up.

4. Take a shopping partner.

Taking a shopping partner who is interested in the same deals as you is a great way to score multiple deals at your first stop. Split up when the doors open and each head for a different section. Pick up two products instead of just one and then split them between you!

5. Research prices ahead of time.

It's important to remember that not all advertised deals are as great as they seem -- beware of inflated retail prices that make a sale price seem better than average! Spend some time researching the low prices of any items you're hoping to score so that you know what's really a deal and what's not.

Brush up on stores' return and price matching policies at this time, as well. You may not need to drive clear across town for that must-have gift when you realize that Staples is right next door and will match their online sale price!

6. Carry the sale ads with you (or at least your smartphone).

As I've mentioned before, carrying the sale ads sounds like a pain, but they can be a huge help in a pinch. Say you're planning to buy a Keurig at a specific store, but it's sold out when you arrive, you'll be able to check to see what the sale prices are at the other stores on your list. Or you might come across a deal that you hadn't noticed in the ad and want to compare the price to the other sales to make sure it's a good deal.

Smart phone users can just access the weekly ads directly from their phones while shopping. How convenient is it to just pull up, for example, the Staples weekly ad to cross check prices and compare features while you're out and about?

7. Set your expectations.

While it's important to have a list of the items you'd like to get so that you don't end up wandering through a store, don't expect to get everything on your list. Some items may be sold out, shopping at a certain store may take longer than you planned, or you may just run out of steam. This is when the time you spent creating a priority list really pays off. Work through your list in order so that you get the most important gifts taken care of first.

8. Wear layers.

If you're planning to stand in line outside early in the morning, it may be chilly. Dress accordingly so that you're not miserably cold while you wait, but be sure to wear appropriate layers so that you can shed them as the day warms up and as you race around the stores!

9. Bring snacks and water.

Pack plenty of snacks and water so that you have something to eat and drink while you wait in line or drive between stops. Waiting too long to eat because you're afraid you'll miss a great deal will affect your mood and energy level, so don't do it!

10. Leave the kids at home

Dragging young children around on Black Friday will most likely just make you, them AND everyone around you miserable. If you're like me, you'll probably end up spending more than you intended, getting less of what you want and feel frustrated and overwhelmed in the process. Leave the kids home so you can focus on your list, your budget and the deals. You'll enjoy your day much more!

Are you planning to shop on Black Friday? Share any other tips you have in the comments!

I'm thrilled to be on the Staples Holiday Council this holiday season, bringing you fantastic deals to assist you in finding the perfect gift for every person on your list. Staples will be offering great deals (including exclusive offers!) throughout the holiday season, helping you get more for less! For more holiday tips be sure to check out the Staples Holiday Center.

This post is brought to you by Staples. All opinions are 100% mine.

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