The long wait for incredible deals is over as its Black Friday time!
There’s no doubt that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a world-wide phenomenon and is generally the biggest shopping day of the year.
When you look at it, it should be a good thing; saving money, helping the economy, buying Christmas presents for friends and family…but far too often it can bring out the worst in people!
I’m not a big fan of shopping on a good day, but with all the extra people and pressure around Black Friday…I certainly try to be careful and smart about how I take part.
Here are 10 tips I found that are helpful to ensure the best success and positive experience during Black Friday.
Do your research/Create a plan
There is NO WAY I would step foot into a random mall or store just to “see what I can find” as that’s a recipe for disaster. You’ll either get so frustrated, annoyed, confused that you’ll just give up or you’ll end up spending way more than you thought as you get caught up in the excitement!
You need to do your research before you go. Look through the catalogues, flyers, coupons, and websites to create a list of what stores you’re going to and what specific items you’re getting in each one. It’s also helpful to have a “game plan” for each store. If one of the items on your list is in high demand, make that your first stop in that store.
***Click here for an incredible breakdown of the deals for each of the stores you may be visiting. It’s awesome because it’s in alphabetical order and breaks them into category which makes it really easy to navigate.
I know there is a lot of pressure to cross the border to shop in the US during Black Friday. Yeah, the deals can be better, depending on the product…but I find that it just adds unnecessary stress to already intense day. As we saw in the clips above, Black Friday seems to get more violent and chaotic down south than it does here. I don’t remember seeing anything like these scenes at White Oaks or Westmount malls here in London.
On the plus side, you can boost our local economy by staying local and even visiting locally run businesses. My wife and I LOVE to shop at small, local shops as you find unique and sometimes hand-made gifts…plus the personal interaction in the stores are always positive and warm.
Protect yourself online
Cyber Monday has quickly become a popular way to indulge in the deals, without having to get out of your P.J’s! Shopping online can be a great way to avoid all the chaotic crowds and parking nightmares, but you need to take some steps to protect yourself while shopping online.
Here are some online shopping safety tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are working and up to date
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card
- Ensure the checkout area of the site is encrypted
- Print or save a copy of your orders
- Use strong password
Remember, if it looks or sounds too good to be true…
Go with a friend
There are a few reasons why this would be a good idea. One, you could “divide and conquer” as you split up in the store, grab things for each other and meet back later with a better chance of getting everything you both wanted.
You could do the opposite and stick together for safety (always good to have someone you trust watching your back), but also to help carry or watch the cart while you grab something. Honestly, it would just be more fun shopping with a friend as they could keep your spirits up and have someone to talk to in those long lines at the checkout!
Bring music & entertainment devices
This is pretty obvious, but just a good reminder. Now I would NEVER stand or “camp out” in front of a store at 5am in the freezing cold…but if you’re that dedicated, then it might be good to have something to watch or listen to. Your favourite playlist, maybe binge-watch a show will all help pass the time and keep you relaxed, especially in those long lines outside or at the checkout.
Bring snacks, water & take breaks
It can be easy to get so wrapped up shopping that you forget to take care of yourself. I generally struggle with this as I just want to get done and get out of there, so it’s hard for me to take a break to sit down for a minute to eat and drink.
Small, healthy snacks that you can keep in your pocket, purse or small bag are a great way to keep your energy up and stay hydrated without getting in the way of your day.
This all depends on the kind of shopping you will do. Obviously if you’ll be standing outside waiting for a store to open, then you need to dress warm. Have an umbrella if it’s raining, you get the idea. If you’re going to a mall or a store you’ll be in for a while, it might be a good idea to take off you big coat and leave it in the car.
Don’t forget your feet! You’ll be doing A LOT of walking and standing, so having shoes that help your feet to carry the load for the day would be a big help.
Overall, dress for comfort…not style so wear things that are sensible and let you move freely. For comfort, safety and based on weather…especially your feet/wear the right shoes.
Only wear what you need, if you’ll be too hot with a heavy jacket on…leave it in the car.
Go with a wristlet or clutch
This one’s for the ladies! If you’re like my wife you have a purse for every occasion that range in size and functionality. I would go with a wristlet or clutch (she’ll be so proud that I know what they are) and avoid a big, bulky purse that will be hard to move through the crowds with. Also a safety thing, as you’re not going to be slamming people (unless that’s your strategy) and it will be harder for someone to run off with your clutch or wristlet!
I guess for guys, the best alternative would be rockin’ a fanny pack!
Avoid the big electronics
From my experience, I’ve never noticed a big enough deal on the “big ticket items” like flat screen TV’s, iPad’s or gaming systems during these sales. In my opinion, I would avoid these items as they are the items that cause the most madness/chaos over and they are big and hard to carry or ask a sales person to help as they are swamped…not worth it!
Stay home and unplug
Honestly, if you don’t think you can do everything above or would prefer not to worry about all these things…it’s okay just to stay home, unplug and enjoy some family time!