Bargain Hunting Basics (For Black Friday and Any Day)

Lately I’ve been spending lots of time sharing great Black Friday deals with you…and getting excited about gearing up for the upcoming shopping holiday.  While many shoppers prepare themselves physically by stocking their purses (or backpacks) with food, water and a valid credit card, it’s crucial to prepare yourself mentally as well so that Black Friday Black Friday shopping tipsdoesn’t live in infamy as the day you landed yourself debt.     Here are 7 ways to succeed in your Black Friday shopping without breaking the bank.  Good luck!

  1. Make a list. The most important thing to bring to your Black Friday shopping spree is a shopping list.  Check out the circulars of your favorite stores in advance whenever possible so that you’ll be able to determine what you’ll be buying as gifts and what you’ll want to pick up for yourself.  It may be hard to buy things for yourself when you’re spending money on gifts, but if something is a really good deal, it may be a good idea to pick it up now to avoid overpaying later.
  2. Set a budget. Budgeting may seem like a killjoy, but it’s a critical way to ensure that you don’t overspend on Black Friday (or during any other shopping spree).  Think about how much you want to spend on each gift and don’t exceed that amount.  If I may be so bold, I’d also suggest adding a few extra dollars to your budget above what you plan on spending so that when you see a great deal that you can’t pass up you will be able to pounce on it without feeling guilty.
  3. Pack snacks.  For many shoppers, Black Friday is more exhausting than any triathlon.  Make sure that you bring enough food and drinks to keep you calm and focused.  When you’re hungry, you may be tempted to overbuy ‘just in case’ so that you can get out of the store faster.  And, while you may be able to pick up nourishment at a store, but wouldn’t you rather be spending money on long-term purchases instead of unhealthy or overpriced food items?
  4. Carry circulars with you. Can you get a circular in the store?  Probably.  Will you want to battle the crowds for it?  Definitely not.  If you have advance copies of your local store circulars, bring them with you.  Not only will this help you stay focused on your shopping goals, but it’ll enable you to ask for help simply by pointing to the item in the circular, which will spare you from wandering aimlessly around the store.
  5. Take a friend.  The benefits of shopping in tandem are numerous.  For starters, you can split up the store in search of deals, which will shorten the shopping time and prevent you from throwing unplanned items in your cart.  What’s more, having a friend whose opinion you trust can help you decide which purchases are truly worthwhile and which items you can live without.
  6. Save your receipts.  It’s easy to lose receipts during the shopping frenzy, but it’s important to make sure that you keep your sales slips organized and accessible.  You may find the same item for cheaper in another store, or you may decide to replace a purchase with another one that you find later in the day.  You may also decide that something you’ve bought isn’t quite as great as you thought, and you just want to return it.  No matter what the reason is, having the receipts handy will make your life much easier.
  7. Rest up.  It’s a well-known fact that exhaustion leads to poor decision making, and since many Black Friday shoppers shop in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning, resting up in advance can give you the energy and clarity of mind you’ll need to avoid making poor choices.  Luckily for you, Thanksgiving is a national holiday so you should be able to sneak in a nap before you shop.
  8. Wear comfortable shoes. If you plan on spending hours on your feet, you might as well be comfortable.  Just keep in mind that if you plan on trying on dress shoes, you may want to bring dress socks or stockings so that you won’t have to try them on with sport socks or barefoot.

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