**Check out the previous parts in this twelve part series here.
***Sorry for the late post, folks. To say I have been busy today is an understatement: I have been on (and off) hold with the gas company for the last 2.5 hours today, and in case you’re wondering, if the previous tenant of the unit you are living in passes away without paying his gas bill for two years, that might result in you having your gas turned off, even if you have paid your bill. The moral of the story is keep good records! The only reason they’re turning my gas back on today is because I have a bill from my previous residence proving I lived there and not here with the previous tenant. Seriously. Crazy times. I’m exhausted.
Ok, ridiculous stories aside, I am so EXCITED! Why? Well, aside from being able to use my oven and stove again (very soon), this is a very exciting week in the world of penny pinching!
No, not Thanksgiving… though I like that, too.
Over the course of the next week, you can take advantage of…. (drumroll)…
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday!!!
Oh boy, oh boy! Right?! Today I’ll address the crazy (and slightly intimidating) magic that is Black Friday; I’ll leave Tuesday and Wednesday for the rest. Don’t worry, you’ll be fully prepared for bargain hunting nirvana. I’ll make sure of it. :)
Black Friday: It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s considered the “official” first day of Christmas shopping (though if you’re smart GPP readers, you’ve been doing the Christmas shopping thing for a while now). The term first came into use in 1966, and it refers to this specific day when retailers turn a profit or are “in the black” (as opposed to “the red”).
Typically, retailers open their stores at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m., though some will open as early as 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m.. Very recently, some retailers have even pushed it back to midnight. As in, while you are eating your Thanksgiving dinner, stores are getting ready for soon-to-arrive customers.
This opening at midnight stuff has been met with much frustration, and one Target employee even started a petition against this plan, garnering over 190,000 signatures. It gets worse: Wal-Mart is opening their doors at 10:00 p.m., with most employees being requested to arrive at 8:00. Gross.
Clearly, I’m not the biggest advocate of the midnight sales, and I still believe you can get AMAZING deals by just going early in the morning.
That said, here a few tips from a veteran Black Friday shopper, i.e., ME!
1. Pre-Black Friday sales:
As someone who has worked in retail, I know that at some stores, Black Friday sales actually begin the Monday or Tuesday before. Seriously. One such retailer that has always done this in the past is the J. Crew Factory store. Random tip, I know… but you’re welcome all the same. :) This means if you don’t feel you’ll have the necessary game face ready for Friday… or if you are working or otherwise unavailable, you can still get some great deals RIGHT NOW. It’s totally possible. (In fact, my mother and I usually go Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, where she does the majority of her Christmas shopping. She refuses to be a part of Black Friday and “all those crazy people” as she says. I guess she forgets that I am “one of those crazy people.”)
2. Get up early!!!
This really does make a difference as a lot of retailers, particularly department stores, have “doorbusters” or “early bird” specials that are only available before 9:00 or 10:00. The crowd can be a bit crazy, but it will totally be worth it if you get a great deal (genuine leather Etienne Aigner boots for $40? Ok!).
3. Eat breakfast.
Many irrational decisions can be made when you’re hungry. Don’t let it happen to you (more on this in a future post scheduled for December).
4. Stay hydrated.
This is in the same vein as #3, but seriously, very important. Piggybacking on this concept, go ahead and bring your own water bottle, too. You may think you can just buy something somewhere if you’re really thirsty, but I promise, everyone else will think that as well, and while Black Friday is a big day for retail, it’s also a GREAT day for the restaurant business (read: a day for CROWDS/LINES everywhere).
5. Pack lightly and dress even more lightly.
Nothing is more frustrating than carrying a too-heavy purse when you’re on a serious Black Friday shopping mission. Just pack what you need, i.e., wallet, sales fliers, water bottle, a snack, and a first aid kit (just kidding… or am I?). The “dress lightly” part: Perhaps equal in frustration is having to carry around a coat or scarf while also trying to carry shopping bags and push through the crowds. Wear something where you think you’ll be comfortable both inside and outside (hopefully, you’ll be inside most of the day and it won’t matter beyond the trip you have in walking to your car).
6. Check out Black Friday deals BEFORE Black Friday.
Thanksgiving day is THE day to buy a newspaper if you want a tangible copy of the sales fliers, but if you’re wanting to plan even earlier – perhaps before you slip into a turkey induced coma – there are a few websites that feature the “leaked” deals, so you could know as early as NOW! Here they are:
Yeah, sensationalized is an understatement…
7. Make a list.
If you don’t have a battle plan going into Black Friday, you could fall victim to over-spending (eesh!) or overwhelm-edness. With the crowds and the general state of frenzy, it can be easy to just say “This is too much – I don’t need to shop this badly.” But… don’t do that, silly! Because… again, this is both the busiest shopping day of the year AND the best if you’re looking for great deals. For real. It’s not just mass hysteria (though it is that, too). Make a list, know what you’re looking for and where you’re looking for it, stay tough, and make me proud :)
Hope these tips help! Yes, Black Friday is a CRAZY day, but if you come prepared to do battle (I’m only sort of kidding in my tone), you’ll be fine (and maybe even slightly surprised to discover it’s not even as crazy as I’m making it out to be).
And, as always, please pass along any other tips you may have for Black Friday shopping in comment form below!
Coming up this week…
Tuesday: Cyber Monday
Wednesday: Small Business Saturday