So, there you are, stuffed full of turkey, another day off and nothing else to do…it can look mighty tempting to head out shopping on Black Friday and get everything on your list in one fell swoop. Is it really necessary? Probably not. The recession has prompted some incredible sales nearly every day of the year.
So if you’d rather skip the crowds, just wait till it’s closer to Christmas and you could see more doorbuster sales. You could even wait just a few days for “Cyber Monday” (Nov. 30 this year), when many retailers offer sweet online deals for all the office jockeys who shop from their desks.
In fact, 51 percent of Americans say they plan to hit the mall or the keyboard sometime between the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving. But if you love the idea of getting your shopping done and out of the way Friday, you’ll need to do some planning to maximize your success. Here are top shopping tips for Black Friday 2009, including some new social networking strategies.
1. Do your research. Try this great site, which has handily listed all the top Black Friday offers in one neat chart, complete with links to the actual sale ads: Shopper Shop
Or check out this Black Friday Excel spreadsheet of the deals, downloadable via Media Fire
If you’re looking for something specific, you can search Black Friday sale ads on Bfads.net
2. Facebook for fabulous savings. Here are a couple of great sites that will alert you to the best deals:
3. Twitter your way to Black Friday. Here are a couple of sites to follow on Twitter. Plus, if you get Twitter on your phone, you’ll be alerted to the deals no matter where you are.
4. Got an iPhone and want to use it to find Black Friday specials? Yes, there’s an app for that:
5. You could just do your research the old fashioned way and buy a newspaper on Thanksgiving. It will be packed with ads and circulars promoting Black Friday deals. It might come in handy to have a hard copy of an ad to bring with you while shopping, to help you locate the deal or to show the store employees if needed.
6. Be wary of the “limited quantities” problem. This seems to happen especially with electronics and appliances; a store may have only three to five of the items on hand, and they may not offer a raincheck. Read the fine print in the Black Friday ads carefully. If you want one of the limited quantity deals, be prepared to stand in line early in the morning, and even then you may come home empty-handed.
7. For limited-time offers online, be ready to log onto your chosen shopping site the minute the deal is available. Set an alarm if you need to – and make sure your computer’s time is set correctly. Visit Time.gov for the U.S. Government official clock.
8. No matter how you shop, set a budget and stick to it. Don’t start the New Year in debt from your holiday shopping.
9. Black Friday store visits are not for amateurs. Some do’s and don’ts – DO: set your alarm to get there at the beginning of the sale; dress comfortably in light layers; check your destinations with your GPS or Google maps; bring a tote bag or backpack to stash a water bottle, snacks and your smaller purchases. DON’T: bring kids or any other unwilling participants who will get tired, bored or cranky.
10. Create a backup plan. Your world won’t crumble if you miss out on a deal. Do your research to know where else you can get it and what you will pay. Or forego the malls altogether and spend Black Friday baking, crafting, building or sewing home-made gifts.
Photo credit via Flickr