Shopping Tips for Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Allison Martin
Black Friday Shopping Bag with Christmas Santa Claus

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so you know what that means: family, food, fun, and of course, lots of shopping. With some helpful tips, you can master the art of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping.

Thanksgiving Day Shopping Tips

Do you want to begin shopping a bit earlier this year? Thanksgiving Day sales may be worth considering.

Get a Head Start

If you want to get a head start on your Black Friday shopping list, look for deals that surface in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. While it may force you to abandon visiting family early in the day, it beats standing in the long lines on Black Friday. Plus, you will be inclined to do all the hard work that goes into preparing Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time.

Wake Early

It is not necessary to stand in line days before the actual sale. However, you want to get there as early as possible so you can beat all the other anxious shoppers to the deals.

Black Friday Shopping Tips

The following suggestions will help you make the most of your Black Friday shopping experience.

Recruit a Shopping Buddy

Why go it alone when you can bring a friend along to help you expedite your store visit? To sweeten the deal (so they will say yes), communicate you are willing to engage in list-splitting so you can cover more ground faster.

Leave the Children at Home

This may require you to make arrangements, but it is best to leave the children at home to avoid getting sidetracked. In addition, you will not have to worry about purchasing items you had not intended to for your children.

General Shopping Tips

Whether you decide to take advantage of the bargains on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday, you may want to keep the following in mind.

Devise a Plan of Action

Make a plan with the following considerations in mind:

  • Which stores will you be visiting?
  • What items are you hoping to purchase?
  • What are your spending limits?

These are just a few of the questions you want to ponder before drawing up a plan of action for arguably the busiest shopping days of the year. Otherwise, you could risk missing out on irresistible deals or even worse, burying yourself in a mountain of debt by swiping away without thinking twice. Plus, there's always the possibility of incurring an excessive amount of overdraft fees if you spend more than your bank account can handle.

Manage Time Wisely

A bulk of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales are only held for a few hours at a time, creating time constraints for anxious shoppers. You should also know select retailers offer several deals throughout the day, so you may have to visit the store more than once to pick up the items on your list. Therefore, it is ideal to map your driving route and allocate time for traffic jams to ensure you will make it to the stores in time.

Use Retail Maps

Retailers tend to switch layouts for doorbuster deals. Instead of relying on your prior knowledge of store layouts, pick up a copy of the retail map as you are headed in so you will know exactly where to go.

Use Credit, but Wisely

Use credit only if you practice sound debt-management habits and vow to eradicate the entire balance prior to the accrual of interest. By wisely using credit, you can shield yourself from taking a financial hit if you are victimized by identity theft. Additionally, you will be able to rake in the points if you possess reward credit cards and take advantage of the protections extended to purchases.

Get Receipts

There is always a possibility you will have buyer's remorse or end up with an item that just does not work out for you or the intended recipient. That is exactly why you want to retrieve a copy of your receipts in case you have to return items to the store.

Purchase Discounted Gift Cards

Websites, such as Gift Card Granny and ABC Gift Cards, allow consumers to purchase unused gift cards at a steeply discounted rates. Consider using one of these sites to save even more on your Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping, as you will spend less money to acquire the same amount of items.

Finding Deals

Deals abound on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Here's how to find them.

Subscribe to the Mailing List

Along with loyalty program members, mailing list subscribers often receive exclusive discounts and promotional codes not extended to the general public.

Get Social

Follow your favorite retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day specials.

Weekly Sales Circulars

You can always wait until the circulars are released to scope out all the Black Friday deals. Even if you already have made your list based on information found online, grab a copy to confirm you did not miss anything and to retrieve any applicable coupons not found elsewhere.

Online-Only Deals

Long gone are the days of waiting in long lines in the wee hours of the morning hoping to score the deal of the lifetime. Now, you can shop online from the comforts of your own home and avoid the masses of supercharged, and sometimes irate, shoppers. Best of all, there are sites that will scope out the best bargains for you. These include:

  • iheartthemart.com: A deal site that shows you how to score the best deals at Walmart, with or without coupons
  • The Krazy Coupon Lady: One of the most comprehensive extreme couponing sites on the web
  • Totally Target: Reveals the best deals offered at Target each week
  • Deal News: Shares Black Friday predictions along with where to shop for the best deals once the sales circulars are released

You can also use smart phone apps, such as TGI Black Friday, Price Grabber, and ShopSavvy, to compare sale items across the board. This also comes in handy if you plan to take advantage of price matching offered by select retailers during holiday sales.

Research the Price Points

Do not automatically assume you are getting the biggest bang for your buck on any item. Before placing any item on your shopping list, take a look at the current sales price to determine if you are really getting a good deal. Retailers know how anxious shoppers are to hit the stores and eliminate their Christmas lists while saving money. Plus, chances are, you will automatically assume you are getting a good deal because the item is on sale.

Check Out the Return Carts

As consumers check out at the register, there is always a possibility a few items will not make the final cut. Since sales representatives more than likely will be inundated with requests from customers, the return carts will sit idle. Kindly request to scope out the carts in search of what you are seeking if the item is not on the shelf.

An Important Consideration

Even if you miss out on a deal, life goes on, as there will always be another sale. Also, bear in mind that stores often extend in-stock guarantees to all shoppers who wait in line. They are afforded the opportunity to take advantage of the specials on the more popular sale items.

Shopping Tips for Thanksgiving and Black Friday