Is it us, or does Black Friday seem to creep into our lives earlier and earlier each year? Before the turkey has a chance to cool and the mashed potatoes have a second to digest, we’re out the door, standing in checkout lines trying to buy some holiday cheer — for a good deal, of course.
Whether you love Black Friday or wish to sleep right through it, there are perks to shopping this day of deals as well as ways to survive it. Never fear, we have a few tips and then it’s back to the turkey for us.
Black Friday survival guide
1. Plan ahead
While the bird is roasting in the oven and the pecan pie is cooling on the windowsill, make a game plan (a.k.a. list) of all the places you want to shop — e.g. Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and so on.
Whether your list is handwritten or typed in your phone’s note section, this is a good way to organize all of your hopeful purchases. Many websites such as Target, Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy have their 2018 Black Friday ads online right now. Most stores online will run deals from Friday, Nov. 23, through “Cyber Monday,” Nov. 26.
Another helpful website to keep open in your tabs is BestBlackFriday.com. This particular website has all the major retail store ads as well as the most recent ads/deals and discount updates.
2. App assistants
Apps can be your most helpful assistant. Today is probably not the day to go live on Instagram as there are other apps to assist you with your Black Friday shopping.
According to a recent article on the website Nerdwallet.com, apps such as ShopSavvy and Santa’s Bag can help you save some dough. For savvy deal-finders, ShopSavvy pulls and gathers prices and current deals from well-known stores, so you can compare and save. Like Target’s Cartwheel app, there is a barcode scan option so you can scan your chosen item and see the best place (and price) to buy it.
Santa’s Bag is your “Santa’s little helper” app! This magical app allows you to set a budget, and it will keep you in that budget so when the new year comes, you won’t be bogged down will bills.
3. Gift sets
Purchase gifts in sets. Frankie Scanlon, founder of Gustus Vitae, a gourmet salt and artisan spice seller/creator, exclusively shared his Black Friday insights with Metro.
Frankie says: “Black Friday will always be, in my opinion, something that is important for both retailers and consumers alike. While much shopping can be done online, there is still a thrill that comes along with snagging a great deal in the store. One thing I always am on the lookout for when out on Black Friday is gift sets.
“There are oftentimes unique pairings and offerings that a retailer has curated for an ‘easier’ gifting option. And typically, when you seek out these sets, they’re often priced out so you’re getting a better value for the goods in the package. For instance, when we put together a gift set from Gustus Vitae, we know our consumer is looking for the convenience of a thoughtful gift, already put together!”
4. Map things out
When prepping to shop, know what you really want and what you can possibly hold out for. If there’s a really good deal, get it, because once it’s gone it might be a while (past Christmas) before it’s back in stock.
Frankie says, “Do your homework. Know which stores are actually worth spending your time going to. What’s the point in going to a store on Black Friday that doesn’t have a deal you’re interested in to begin with! Lastly, always start with your must-have item first. If it’s a hot item that you’re after, there is a good chance others are after that as well!”
5. Save receipts
At some point, you may have to return an item for a lower price or just to get your full refund back. This is where your receipts come in handy. Apps like Expensify can digitally scan your receipts (yes, from your phone, a la something called SmartScan) and save all the details.
Shoeboxed is another receipt saver app that is your virtual receipt shoebox.
If you prefer to keep it old school, make yourself an envelope titled “holiday receipts” and have it be the place where you keep all your gift purchases. Keep the envelope in your purse, car, desk — you name it — for quick and easy return access.