This is a part 2 installment of my guide to shopping on Black Friday. Last Friday I explained the rules to shopping on Black Friday and if you tune in next Wednesday, I'll give you the final chapter of last minute tips and reminders.
1. After all the dishes are done and the pie has been served, get Thursday's newspaper and pull out all the ads.
2. Get a pad of paper to make notes.
3. As you look through each ad, write on your pad of paper the STORE, the TIME the store opens and ITEMS you are interested in. This will save you a lot of studying time, trust me.
4. Look through the ad two or three times. These ads are so full, it's common to miss something you didn't see the first time.
5. Try avoiding big ticket items like TVs. Don't be lured or fooled by these big promises of savings. More often than not stores will have a very limited amount and hand out line vouchers for these type of items. It's all very LAME! I've come to learn which stores practice this and avoid them all together.
6. Decide right here and now what size and color you are going to choose on size and color choice items. It wastes precious time to make these kind of decisions standing in a crowded store. Most of the time you won't get a choice, you just take what you can get but in the rare instance you do get a choice, make it easy it on yourself and decide ahead of time.
7. Once you've gone through all the ads and you are confident you've got everything written down, now you can begin eliminating items/stores. This is how you do it:
Start with the earliest opening store and ask yourself,
· Am I willing to get up at (blank)AM?
· Are the items on my list must-haves?
If the answers are yes, then your Black Friday spree will begin 30 minutes BEFORE your first store opens.
If the answers are no, then scratch off that store and move on to the next earliest opening store. Repeat questions.
If you have 2 stores that open at the same time, you will need to weigh your items list and go to the better store. Going to both is not an option. Doorbusters are gone within the first 15 minutes of the store opening. You will become trapped in the nightmare called "checkout". It might be a tough choice, I know, but necessary. An easy decision maker could be the location of the store. My area has "clusters" of stores all within the same area. To drive away from the "cluster" to reach another store can sometimes be a fatal mistake. Then again, a store 15 minutes away may be carrying an items you can't live without. Weigh these options and decide.
Once you've determined your starting store, move on to the next earliest opening store. If store #1 opens at let's say 5AM and store #2 opens at 6AM, you must shop and checkout of store #1, drive to store #2 and be in line by 5:45AM.
Is this doable?
If it's possible then add the store to your schedule. Repeat this process till you have every store in your schedule.
If it's not possible then weigh your options. What is the next earliest store? How much time do I have between all the stores? In other words, do you have time to shop longer or wait at checkout for 45 minutes because the next store doesn't open for another 2 hours?
Once you have the schedule, it should look something like this:
4AM Khoel's - jewelry box and dish set
5AM Target - iPod and toy robot
6AM Old Navy - jeans size 12 and red sweater size XXL
7AM Bed, Bath and Beyond - coin counter, cookie sheet and green towel set
8AM Sports Authority - San Diego Padres jersey size L
NOTE: Do not throw away yours ads! Bring them with you to the stores. This can be beneficial in the stores that try to bait and switch.
Did you read last Friday's "Five Rules of Engagement"? After years of perfecting the art of shopping on Black Friday, this is the list of non-negotiables for my mom and me.
Tune in the day before Thanksgiving for "GO BIG OR GO HOME", last minute tips and reminders that could make or break your Black Friday shopping experience!