Black Friday Shopping
A strategy to score the best Black Friday deals
Fortified by turkey, stuffing and the will to save big bucks on big-ticket items, 141 million Americans shopped last year on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday 2014 is poised to outdo all its predecessors, with the National Retail Federation predicting a 4-plus percentage jump in overall sales this Nov. 28.
Toys, appliances, tech — whatever’s on your holiday gift list will be on sale on Black Friday. To score the best Black Friday deals for the lowest price possible, dealing
with as little traffic from thronging crowds as possible, strategizing is crucial to ultimate shopping success.
- First, make a list and set a budget.
- Then do your research.
Read all Black Friday ads and sale circulars.
If you still get a physical newspaper, a few ads will appear on your doorstep during Thanksgiving week, but most will arrive with the T-Day paper. Clip all coupons, like Macy’s Savings Discount Pass.
Don’t get the paper? No worries, store websites post applicable info, plus coupons, even earlier in the month. In addition to sites like Target.com and Sears.com, which will list both online and in-store savings, there are numerous websites dedicated to providing up-to-the-minute Black Friday deals, complete with comparison charts and sale schedules: Blackfriday.com, Bfads.net and Theblackfriday.com compile ads in one place with timely updates. Start checking them now and revisit frequently, as real-time purchases alter the sales landscape.
Shop Black Friday early — earlier
Black Friday 2014 is predicted to begin earlier than ever this year, possibly the week before Thanksgiving. Although several are making the fact that they're closed on Thanksgiving, so that their employees can spend the day with their own families, into a marketing ploy, a few stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day and some will open on Thanksgiving night. Early morning openings will begin at midnight on the 28th and roll into the wee hours of Friday morning.
Early bird shoppers will be rewarded. Look for complimentary refreshments, coupon books, free merchandise, gift cards and tons of doorbuster deals. In years past, Sam’s Club and Ikea have offered free breakfast, and Burger King gave away free coffee. Search for perks like these when planning your day.
NEXT PAGE: Online shopping days, staying safe on Black Friday and more smart shopping tips
Shop Black Friday online
Last year, online BF sales increased to a record $1.2 billion, as shoppers took advantage of buying without having to venture out before the crack of dawn. Even better, online deals are sometimes deeper than in-store savings. Surf to find sales pegged to these shopping days:
- Thanksgiving Day
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Green Monday
Cyber Monday has established a foothold four days after Thanksgiving. But Green Monday? It's the second Monday in December, when major retailers post online deals at midnight. It is thought to be the last chance to order items in time for holiday delivery without expedited shipping. If you miss any of those virtual shopping days, Blackfriday.
com is forecasting an “offline shopping peak” during Christmas week.
Save with your smartphone
Even in-store in the thick of Black Friday shopping, technology can help you save in the form of mobile apps. Stores like Toys R Us and Walmart offer their own holiday-shopping apps. Scan items on the shelves with apps like ShopSavvy, ShopAdvisor or AmazonPriceCheck to make sure you're getting the best price available on the market; if you're not, the app will tell you where your next stop should be. Some apps will even help you map out a dedicated BF shopping route. Visit Appadvice.com to find the best Black Friday apps. Don’t forget Facebook and Twitter for real-time store updates. And sign up for email savings alerts from favorite stores and Dealnews.com.
Stay safe on Black Friday
Everyone's heard Black Friday–crowd horror stories. With so many people competing for the best deals, it's important to keep a level head — and perspective — for safety’s sake.
- Stay alert and shop with a buddy.
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially when shopping in the dark, before dawn or late at night.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
- Don't fight over items. A public altercation costs way more than you'd save from even the best deal.
More in-store advice
- Not every sale is a good deal. Research, plan and compare prices. Make informed decisions so you stay on budget, and don't be in a hurry to buy. According to Consumerworld.com, you might find a better deal on Cyber Monday or in mid-December. Netcredit.com advises shoppers to “take advantage of electronics deals” on Black Friday, “but beware of luxury items and clothing.”
- Shop your local drugstore. Stephanie Nelson, founder of Couponmom.com, suggests shopping at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid on Black Friday. “They have unbelievable sales that week, and you can get all kinds of free things, from medication to lotion to personal care items.” Stocking stuffers!
- Double your savings when you buy discounted gift cards at dedicated sites like Plasticjungle.com and Giftcardgranny.com.
- Take 5% off of all purchases at Target and Target.com, plus enjoy free shipping. Don’t forget shopping passes at Macy’s, Kohl’s Cash and buy-one-get-one offers.
- Furniture and appliance stores often have incredible deals on Black Friday, to counter the chain brands.
Janet Tumelty is a freelance writer and mom from South Jersey.