As a former director of marketing of a local shopping mall, shopping is my sport and the “Super Bowl” is merely weeks away — Black Friday is Nov. 23. Being an expert Black Friday shopper was second nature to me before I had children. All I had to do was put on a comfy pair of shoes for what was an all-day marathon of shopping. However, having two toddlers throws a wrench in my Black Friday plans. I need a tactical plan to account for my shopping needs and my kids. Strategy, folks. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Have a plan.
Run an inventory on your family. Who needs clothes? Shoes? What do you need in your kitchen? Make a list of what you actually need and stick to it.
2. Be prepared.
Track pricing on big ticket items now so you know how big of a deal you’re getting. Most retailers will post their Black Friday deals online or in print the week before the big day. Take notes.
3. Beware of the doorbuster.
These are deals that are often available in limited quantities designed to get you into the store. If you don’t need a snow globe, don’t let yourself fall into the trap.
4. Know who is on your list.
This is the time to shop for nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors, etc. Toy retailers run super deals on hot items for the season. That $20 talking puppy could be $9 and you’ll look like a hero at the Christmas party.
5. Black Friday doesn’t begin on Friday.
Many retailers open on Thanksgiving night to begin their dealing. Before you axe the idea because of familial commitments, consider this: don’t leave your dinner table early to go shopping. In fact, get your kids home and in bed. And then, my friends, tag your spouse to stay home, pour some coffee in your largest Yeti cup and get out there. Many stores are open until at least 1 a.m. and the lines aren’t as long as they will be in the morning.
6. Don’t bring your kids.
Young kids do not want to go shopping: a) ever, and b) on Black Friday. Get a babysitter or your spouse to cover the tots.
7. Ask for a better deal.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower the price. It is common for big ticket items like appliances and TVs but it often works for clothing. You never know if the salesperson has access to a coupon code.
8. Don’t overlook online or local.
It’s a fact that retailers flash some pretty enticing deals on their websites or local stores throughout the whole weekend. Check back to your favorite retailer websites on Cyber Monday to get what you missed.
9. Timing is everything.
Consider what your time is worth. Is it worth standing in line for three hours to vie for a chance at that 50-inch flatscreen that is $100 off — and not even the TV that you want? If the answer is no, then save yourself the frostbite and get in the shorter line inside for the TV that you want.
10. Black Friday doesn’t end on Friday.
The deals are extended throughout the weekend and often are only slightly less than the Friday deal, so if you need to score something you missed, head for the sales Saturday and Sunday.