My wife and mother-in-law have a tradition of waking up at an absurdly early hour the day after Thanksgiving to brave the crowds for the best deals of the season. I’ve never taken part in this tradition, mainly because I really don’t enjoy shopping and these days I do most of my shopping online. I have become more understanding of this tradition in the last few years since about 90 percent of our holiday shopping is completed with about a month to spare. It is the Band-Aid strategy to holiday shopping, fast and a little bit painful.
My wife adheres to a strict regimen when doing the holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving, and these are her rules:
- Always make a list of what you are planning to buy and for whom.
- Check out all the holiday ads for the best deals and what time these deals end.
- Plan your day. After looking over the advertisements, plan your shopping agenda.
- Remember to eat. After hitting up the early morning sales it is good time to go eat breakfast.
- Don’t buy just for the sake of a deal. This leads to unnecessary purchases. (Remember to stick to your list. See #1.)
- Be sure to conceal your purchases in your car by covering them with blanket or putting them in the trunk. My wife, after meeting my dad and me for breakfast, gives us her early morning purchases to make room in the car for new purchases.
- Be sure to have all of your coupons organized and ready, ($10 off at Macy’s, 10 percent at JC Pennys) don’t take all those sales ads with you, but do keep them in the car.
- Clean out your purse and/or wallet the night before and have cash or credit cards ready. Don’t hold up the check-out line digging through your purse.
- Be sure your cell phone is charged. If you’re shopping with a friend and you spread out and need to locate each other, a low battery could cost you that special purchase.
- Don’t limit your purchases to just Christmas, if friends or family member’s birthdays are around the corner, add them to your list.
This year, due to the poor economic climate, the Black Friday deals are supposed to be especially enticing. Remember #5 from the list above when going about your shopping and try not to buy for the sake of a good deal.
Black Friday isn’t for everyone, especially me, but it is an efficient way to get your holiday shopping finished in a timely manner. Just remember to be patient and try not to get in a scuffle. No one said shopping on Black Friday was painless or even very enjoyable, but the process will get a bulk of your shopping out of the way in a span one day.