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Winning at Black Friday: A How To Story

It is that time of year again where you are able to be in a food coma on Thanksgiving and then get up in the middle of the night to go shopping the next day. Yes, that’s right, it is time for Black Friday once again.

Black Friday and all the hoopla surrounding it is every marketers dream. The toy books, the TV ads, and the circulars are all a part of the marketing genius. Here, at JUMP, we promote value as well as cost efficiency. Therefore, I am going to pass along some of my Black Friday shopping wisdom so that you can see value and cost efficiency in your holiday purchases too.

This is not an event for the casual shopper. Black Friday is for determined bargain hunters willing to do just about anything to save big. If you should decide that you want to forage into the shopping madness, I have a couple of tips that will assist you in getting the actual best deals and shopping smart.

First and foremost do your research!

Black Friday is not the day to browse the toy aisle at Target not knowing what you are intending to purchase. There are several apps and websites that have leaked the majority of the Black Friday ads for the main stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Macy’s. My favorite is the Black Friday Ads app where you can save everything to a wish list and use it while you are shopping.

Items on sale on Black Friday are not necessarily the best prices.

I know, I know: The ads are fancy and it says best sale ever, but it might not be. Many of the high-ticket items are going to be more expensive on when the sale is via online sites like Amazon or TigerDirect and they may go on sale at the big box stores on Cyber Monday. Be sure to price check before heading out.

Go for the three Ts: Toys, Tech and TVs.

The expensive toys, like ride on cars and play sets, are more than ½ off and TVs are sometimes up to $300 off. Tablets, smart watches and phones are also a good buy if you are lucky enough to find one in stock.

Don’t discount the gift card.

Target is famous for this. Last year, I got $100 worth in gift cards for buying the things I was going to buy anyway. You can spend them the same day in your next transaction. You can get $15 gift cards for Xbox and PS4 games and you can get a whopping $150 gift card for buying any iPad Air 2.

Think ahead and stock up.

Towels, bedding and some food is severely discounted at the big box stores. Even if you don’t need towels right now you can save them for later for $2 each.

Bring ads or make a list.

I use the Black Friday app, so my ads and wish list are always with me, but make sure you have a list or have your must-have items highlighted in the circular so you don’t get overwhelmed by all of the people in the store.

Know that there will be some standing in line and it isn’t even Disney World.

If you are shopping in teams (recommended), have a representative stand in line while you shop and vice versa. This is a tremendous time saver at stores like Kohl’s that have lines that wrap around the store. It also allows you to go to more stores before noon.

Leave your children at home or with a sitter.

I love my daughter, but Black Friday is not the place for her. Stores are crowded, people are grabbing everything they can get their hands on and you are getting pushed around in some cases. This is serious shopping business and kiddos will get bored so leave them at home (see number 7).

Make sure you know what time your “must have” items go on sale.

Many stores have multiple day sales, so make sure what you want is on sale when you get there. Again, this is not the day to argue with the people at the cash register because you didn’t read your ad. Also, stores like Target release items throughout the day throughout the store, so you might even check back later or visit another location if your item is not on the floor yet.

Be aware of the return policy at the stores you choose to visit on Black Friday.

This is good to know anyway. You can get caught up in the excitement and might buy something you want to return. The policies have become more strict on games and electronics at Wal-Mart and Best Buy, so make sure you save your receipt and know their return policy.

Now that you have the tools to shop with purpose go forth next weekend and save BIG!