It's an age old tradition started in 1966 that has thousands swarming to shopping centers and stores to get that first discounted item. The day after Thanksgiving, also know as Black Friday, is one of the busiest shopping days of the year drawing crowds of approximately 154 million last year alone. It may seem like a wonderful adventure you want to take with your friends or family but you need to think long and hard on whether you want to go down this road because once you do, there’s no coming back. I’ve been a black Friday shopper for a litter over 6 years now and though I may not go to the 5 am sales every year, I never miss shopping on that day. Since I started on this journey I’ve compiled a list for beginners for survival that I want to share with you today…
1. Make a List- creating an organized list of who you’re shopping for and any ideas of gifts you want to get them. This will help keep you on track as you go about your shopping day. Most stores have their Black Friday sale papers online by mid-October so you should be able to find them. I find it helpful to divide the list into a FAMILY/FRIENDS/YOURSELF list that way you can prioritize easily.
2. Budget- along with your shopping list add a column for price. This will help you stay on a budget so you don’t spend too much on one person and then have that awkward moment during present exchange where one friends/family members gift is way more than the others….
3. Destination- planning your destination is key! Depending on where you live you may have multiple options for stores and malls or if you’re like me, you have to travel a minimum of 30 minutes to get to a Walmart. Planning exactly where you want to go will help you establish a schedule. Some stores open as early as 5 am on Friday but others will open at 5 pm on Thanksgiving evening (if that’s your cup of tea, but personally I’m not a fan.) so you will want to refer to your shopping list and prioritize your stores based on that.
4. Maps- Depending on your plan of attack and if you’re planning on going to a mall you will want to find a map of it. Most malls have stands with maps outlining the stores and exits at each entrance that you could pick up but if you can’t find that then you can try doing a google search online for it (that’s how I found mine) and if all else fails, go one day and take a notebook and draw your own! Once you have your map it’s time for the fun part… coloring! You will want to write on your map the times each store opens and the time of the sale you are interested in. Also, give yourself a time limit at each store so as to optimize your shopping and to not allow for distractions and any extra spending you do not want. Highlighters and colored pencils work great for this step!
5. Packing- now that we have discussed the plan, we need to talk about the preparation. Now I know you’re probably thinking why do I need to pack anything to go shopping? Trust me, you’ll thank me for this tip later. Obviously, you will want to bring your purse/wallet but you will also want to bring a collapsible tote with you. This will be used for those small-medium sized bags that will start to pile up on your arm and make it harder for you to shop… this way you will have one larger bag rather than a dozen smaller ones you're trying to keep up with.
Secondly, you will want to bring a water bottle and a snack. Stores know that you get aggravated, tired, hungry and thirsty while waiting in line so they purposely put food and drinks at the registers hoping you will spend extra money. Bringing a water bottle and a snack not only will you save money but you will be outsmarting those stores!
6. Clothes- Now that we have our supplies we need to focus on our attire. Depending on where you live or are going to shop it may be very cold and you may need your winter coat that day but take it from me, you won’t want to deal with that heavy thing. The key is to layer. Wear a t-shirt, sweatshirt, and a light jacket over so that you can take one layer off and put it in your collapsible tote.
Shoes are another topic we need to talk about. Now I’m all for fashionable footwear but it must be comfortable for me when I’m shopping. On this day I prefer a good pair of Nikes over anything… your feet will thank you, I promise.
Another important thing to mention is to not carry a large or heavy purse. The will just slow you down and get in your way. A small crossbody or a backpack would be better.
As much as we can try to prepare and plan there will always be something we forgot or didn’t expect to happen… just go with the flow and remember it’s only shopping. Avoid any fights that may break out because I promise that pair of shoes is not worth a trip to the ER. Happy Shopping!