Black Friday brings on all kinds of emotions that I can’t even begin to describe. It is definitely a love/hate relationship for me and even more so now that I have a child. This year, JR and I have decided to NOT do Black Friday shopping (GASP!) as we were able to find what we wanted, notice I didn’t say ‘needed’, the week prior to Thanksgiving for LESS than we could find it anywhere in the Black Friday sales. That was the only thing that was on our “we want it really bad” list so we decided to kick back for a night at home and some actual sleep with maybe an occasion glance at amazon’s site. For those of you who plan on taking on the madness, I wanted to share some tips and advice with you as a Black Friday expert. After all, JR and I have went religiously the last 7 years and feel like we have it down to an art. Let me share my tips with you. Be sure to think of me while you’re out and about on the craziest shopping day of the year!
*Remember what is really important. One year, we went Black Friday shopping and we watched two parents get arrested for fighting over a $39 gaming chair for their children. Seriously? They got brought away, in handcuffs, over $39. I think it would have been cheaper to pay the full price than the fine they paid for their public dispute. At the end of the day, NONE of these gifts matter. What matters is family. What matters is the remembrance of what Christmas is all about- the love of Christ. Not possessions. So, I’m not saying don’t have fun. I’m not saying don’t buy gifts. I am saying don’t let it become your idol.
*Set boundaries. JR and I decided last year that we would only do our Black Friday shopping while Emma was asleep. Luckily, she was going to bed at 8pm and waking up around 7-8am so we knew we had quite a bit of time with stores opening at midnight. If we got in line around 9-10pm, we would have plenty of time once we got in the stores. This year, a lot of stores open at 9pm, some even at 8pm, meaning that most lines will be starting around 4-5pm on THANKSGIVING DAY. Let me just tell you, in case you’re wondering, I think this is RIDICULOUS. In fact, I’m steaming over it a little bit as I’m thinking about it. My brother has to leave our Thanksgiving dinner at 6pm because he has to be at work by 7pm. On Thanksgiving Day. Because people can’t wait until Black Friday to do their Black Friday shopping. To me, this just doesn’t make logical sense. To be honest with you, I’m hoping our society will think twice before leaving their family behind to go by a new flat screen tv or iPod. It’s one thing to go while everyone is asleep, but right in the prime of Thanksgiving festivities? I don’t think so. JR and I had already decided that IF we went, it would be later. We just wouldn’t compromise our time with Emma for “stuff”.
*If you’ve still decided to go Black Friday shopping after points one and two, let’s move on to point three: have a game plan. Seriously, people that go shopping on Black Friday know how to shop and they know what they’re going for way before that night. If you wait until you get to the clothing aisle to decide you want a kindle, it’s too late. You’ve missed the train. It’s always good to begin browsing sales and buy a copy of the Thursday paper, too. When you get to the store, if it’s a bigger one like Target or Walmart, ask for a map of the store. They usually move some of the bigger items to other areas to keep congestion from happening. TVs may be in the frozen food section. No joke.
*Go in groups of two or more if you’re shopping for more than one thing. It’s always good to do teamwork. JR and I always bring our list and split up the items we need from different stores and put them in order of importance. For the past few years, I have gone to Old Navy while he has gone to Target and we’ve gone with other couples so we’re not alone. If it’s easier to kill two birds with one stone, then do this on Black Friday. You’re more likely to get the things on your “we want it really bad” list if you’re willing to split ways and make a list to take with you.
*Don’t forget your budget at home! Keep track of what you’re spending and what you have left to spend. Don’t overdo it just because you found the best deal. If all you have left is $20, don’t buy the item for $50, even if it’s an AMAZING deal. Let your budget set your boundaries and don’t budge. Trust me, you don’t want to come home with an empty bank account and a lot of regret!
*Consider Cyber Monday deals, too. The thing about Black Friday is a lot of sales go on all weekend but sometimes they don’t, or sometimes they run out. You can usually find similar deals on Cyber Monday so be sure to watch your favorite stores as well as sites that will share information, like Southern Savers. I’ve never found anything I couldn’t live without on Cyber Monday but I know a lot of people who have got some amazing deals then so I would check it out if you have the budget and if you still have stuff on your list.
*Lastly, be willing to take other routes to get the items on your list. The only thing we didn’t get last year was our travel dvd players for the car. We were really bummed out. We knew we were planning a trip to Disney in the near future and really wanted to have this option. As we planned to returm home, we checked Amazon and found the EXACT same deal as Target and they had them in stock! We bought them right away and are so glad we did. We only use them on road trips that are 5+ hours, but we’ve taken about 3-4 this year and it has really come in handy. They are also battery powered so if we go on a plane somewhere, we’ll be able to use them there, too. We went ahead and bought the two pack as we have plans to have another child at some point in life. If not, it only cost us about $15 more so no big deal. I can always enjoy the movie with Emma, too.
*Before I leave you, I wanted to share some of the “hottest” deals I’ve found for Black Friday this year. I hope this will help you as you plan and prepare for your Black Friday fun. Be sure, above everything, to enjoy your day with your loved ones, relax, and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with in this life!
1. Xbox 360 4GB with Kinect Bundle: $199.99 (regularly $299.99) at Target, Best Buy, and Amazon
2. PS3 250GB System Bundle: $199.99 (regularly $299.99) at Amazon and Best Buy
3. iPod Touch 16GB 4th Generation with $20 Gift Card $149 (regularly $199) at Target
4. iPad 2 with WiFi with $75 Gift Card $399 (regularly $399) at Walmart
5. Furby Doll $45 (regularly $75) at Walmart
6. Toshiba 50” LED 1080p $299.99 (regularly $1099.99) at Sears
7. FujiFilm S4250 Digital Camera $69 (regularly $200) at Walmart
8. Toshiba Smart WiFi Ready Blu-Ray Player $39.99 (regularly $99) at Best Buy
What was the best Black Friday deal you found? Do you have any advice for Black Friday shopping?