Here is an article I wrote for an online magazine last year (L-Allen.com)! Thought it was too good to resist reposting for this year.
How to Survive Black Friday
By Christy L. Pagoni
It’s Thanksgiving, you’re laying on the couch, stuffed to the gills in buttery mash potatoes and mouthwatering turkey; it’s then you feel like you can’t muster up enough energy to sit up, let alone get up for a single last taste of Aunt Sheila’s decadent puff pastries and pumpkin pie. Just then it hits you, tomorrow is the ultimate day of sales and purchases, long lines and no parking, it is not only the first day of the Christmas season but it’s…it’s…it’s… Black Friday!
In this entry, I’ll give you my personal tips and tricks on how to survive of the of craziest shopaholic days of the year. With these simple ideas in mind, you’ll be able to not only walk off that Thanksgiving feast but be able to make some great purchases without getting sucked into Black Friday retail insanity!
Let’s begin with some Pre-Black Friday preparations…
1. Who are you shopping for?
For starters, who are you shopping for? Is it your family? Friends? Boyfriend? In my past experiences, I began to realize just how much shopping became easier once I established a physical list of all the people I needed to buy presents for. Simply jot it down; I’m a sucker for a fresh black sharpie and a plain sheet of paper where I can list everyone that I need to remember for the holidays. What is good about the list is that it keeps your shopping organized instead of running around the mall or Target like a chicken with their head cut off! Which leads to my next tip…
2. Where? When?
I would have to say that where is always my biggest flaw, I want to always go EVERYWHERE! But my best advice is to keep your shopping limited to only one or two different locations for Black Friday. It’s so easy to want to wake up at 4AM and hit up Best Buy, then the mall, then Costco, then Target, and the “where” could go on and on. But the truth is, you’ll be less stressed as a shopper by keeping it limited instead of trying to win the World Series of retail sales! Then after you figure out where you’d like to go, when is the next question. Stores and malls will usually begin to open at midnight or even as early as 8PM on Thanksgiving day. Truthfully, I have experienced every possible time from beginning to end on this particular day; my best advice would be to go at 8AM or anytime after 6PM. The mornings will always be hectic but usually if people haven’t staked out all night, they’re probably not rolling out of bed until almost 10AM. Then nights are always less chaotic; items maybe slightly picked over but sometimes that might be better then being bombarded by highly caffeinated mothers with freshly cut coupons!
3. Check the mail and E-mails!
Read the E-mails people! They send them for a reason! I get all my best deals just by reading all the E-mails that stores send me or checking the mail for retail ads or magazines. Even if you’re not subscribed to any of the E-mails but there are stores you are interested in going to, go online and search for the Black Friday deals. This way you know exactly what to expect and know how to utilize your time wisely.
Ps. Don’t forget to check any store social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter). This may seem excessive but generally stores will give you more information, pictures, or discounts just by looking at their social media accounts! Check it out!
4. I know it sucks but, Budget?
A budget is so key to a successful Black Friday! It is so easy to max out that credit card or walk out with just pennies in your pocket. Once you figure out where your going and who to shop for, a budget is essential for the last piece of the puzzle. What I found best and most helpful for my Black Friday Budget is to have a limit for my credit card and a limit for my cash. Basically I give myself two small budgets from my two sources of income and once I run short of my spendings then I know it’s time to cut the purchases. I try to think of it like gambling; most people set aside play money to gamble with and once they run out, then they’re done playing the game. So try to give yourself limits and not go crazy over the bright sale signs waving in your face.
Alright…it’s the BIG day! Black Friday! Now what?…
5. What to wear?
Keep it simple. There is nothing I find more entertaining then to see shoppers dressed in 5″ pumps, with big winter coats, long fluffy scarves and big beach bag purses. As great as that might be for another occasion, l would not recommend it for Black Friday. Be cute and comfortable, such as leggings with a loose top, scarf, small cross over bag and flats. All you need is your list, wallet, keys, phone, and maybe some Chapstick and holiday scented hand-sanitizer; therefore, keep it light with the extra baggage because you’re going to need all the room you can get if you plan on going all out on your holiday purchases.
6. Coffee anyone?
Coffee, coffee, coffee, where’s the coffee? Here’s my recommendation: try to avoid the mall Starbucks, brew at home or if you have to, go to a stand still Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. The wait will not be worth it, and guarantee your drink won’t be to perfection when the line is wrapped around the mall and all the way down to Sears.
7. Bring a friend!
I’m definitely someone that enjoys shopping on my own. I’m that girl that’s at the mall at 9AM, Starbucks at hand, looking at every single item on every single rack (extreme retail therapy). But my best memories are going shopping with my best friend on Black Friday! It keeps the stress down, the excitement going and it doesn’t hurt having someone rescuing you from a rack mosh pit fight for that last perfect cardigan.
8. Oh wait, isn’t shopping fun?
Just always remember that Black Friday is meant to be fun and exciting! Don’t get caught up in the SALES SALES SALES and people who feel like they’re in a buying rush!
Keep in mind:
– Department stores (JCP, Dillard’s, Macy’s, etc)
usually have the best sales
– There are sales all day, so don’t try to hurry and rush to
stress yourself out just to save that extra 10% discount
– If you can’t make it to Black Friday, more than likely the stores
will be probably doing if not the same, then similar sales for the
Also…if you missed out on an item or couldn’t seem to buy something for whatever reason, don’t forget about Cyber Monday! Do all the joys of holiday sales and shopping festivities right from your comfy couch at home!
I hope these simple tips and tricks will help all us shopaholics out there enjoy the shopping extravaganza and to be safe and smart through the busy weekend!
And of course..
Happy Shopping 🙂
Want to see my October Favorites?
Check out my last blog post right here —-> http://thechristyleigh.com/2014/11/05/october-favorites/