Black Friday can be hectic and stressful, but a little planning and know-how can improve your Black Friday experience.
Be the (wo)man with the plan
Don’t just show up at Wal-Mart with your credit card and expect everything to go smoothly; have a Black Friday plan:
- Decide which stores you’re going to hit first.
- Compare prices and decide which items you’ll buy in which store.
- Get in line as early as you can if you are shopping for toys and electronics; these hot items are available at deep discounts, but quantities are extremely limited.
- Make a shopping list that includes gift recipients, items you want and what you’re willing to spend.
- Bring the Black Friday Ads along with you (on your phone is the easiest way) so you never forget which sales are happening where.
Don’t give in to temptation
Black Friday deals, doorbusters and other specials are designed to get you into the store. Once you’re there, your plans can go awry if you start giving in to on-the-spot temptations. Remember your list and, more importantly, your budget. You don’t want to end up in a financial crisis once Black Friday and the weekend is over.
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Get dropped off
Parking at the mall (or even at big-box stores) can be a nightmare. Think about transportation and traffic. Have someone drop you off and pick you up, or consider taking a taxi or even public transportation in bigger cities; just remember to add any extra transportation costs into your budget. If you don’t want to haul all your purchases home at once, ask about layaway or delivery options.
Go with a buddy
Consider hitting the mall with a friend. You might even split lists, with one of you tackling electronics and furnishings, and the other taking on toys and apparel. Go out to breakfast beforehand (at an all-night diner if you are starting at midnight) and fill up on fiber for energy. If you plan to camp out to wait for the doors to open on Black Friday, dress in layers and bring some snacks, drinks and a good book.
Make it an event
After a busy day of waiting in line and searching for bargains on Black Friday, throw a post-shopping party and kick back with friends. Plan to meet up at your home, a restaurant or other location to have a few drinks, unwind and share stories about your best Black Friday finds.