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Savvy Christmas Shopping: Black Friday

Jamie Cline - November 23, 2010

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Nowadays we can usually pick our poison when it comes to Christmas shopping—online or in the store. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; however, knowing the pros, cons, and some tricks ahead of time will help you make the most of holiday shopping.

Black Friday
Many people think the name “Black Friday” comes from the un-Christmas-like spirit that fills shoppers on this crazy day. Or maybe it’s from the black eye you might get from picking up the last hot-ticket item. In truth, the name refers to the phrase “in the black”—many retailers make or break their yearly sales goals between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Either way, we all know how insane the day after Thanksgiving can be.

Checking It Twice
Make a list beforehand of who you want to buy for and what you want to buy for them, even if it is just a general idea. This doesn’t have to be set in stone—certainly you can still pick up “the perfect gift” if it is sitting on the shelf waiting for you. But creating even a rough list can keep your shopping trip more orderly and help you stick to your budget.

Preparation Makes Perfect
Plan for someone (a spouse, friend, or a sitter) to watch your kids on the big day. Children tire of shopping fast, especially if they have to wake up at five in the morning. Do everyone a favor and leave them at home. If you have to hire someone, think of all the money that you save by not wasting time, energy, and the great expense of multiple Kid’s Meals.

Ready, Set . . . Research
Before you start chasing those Early Bird Specials, research the make and brand of the items you want to buy. Some retailers will put low-end items at a really low price so that you think you are getting a great deal. Don’t fall for it! The money that you save now won’t be worth the price you pay later to replace your low-quality item. Check the reviews of people who bought the same item—if they take enough time to comment on the item, it is probably worth reading.

Get even more prepared by checking out the newspaper ads during your turkey stupor. You don’t want to miss the best sale! Pay special attention to information about when specials start and when they end.

Many stores also have a price-matching policy. If you find an ad for a higher price at one store, you can usually show them their competitor’s lower-priced ad and they will give you the same low price. If you plan this out in advance, it can cut down on how many stores you need to visit.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm
Being early is key—most doorbuster sales are limited, so you need to be one of the first people in line if you have your heart set on that particular deal. Don’t be surprised when you get to the store at 11 A.M. and the item is either sold out or listed at a higher price.

Keep Them In Mind
While shopping, try to think about who you are buying these gifts for. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Remember, the entire reason you are at Best Buy, waiting in line at five in the morning, is to share the joy of Christmas (hopefully). Keeping those loved ones in mind may be difficult while you’re continually shoved by crazed shoppers, but at least you will have some internal peace.

Make sure to visit us again this Saturday for our tips on how to navigate Cyber Monday.

*Do you have any Black Friday shopping tips or stories? Leave a comment below.

© LDS Living magazine Nov/Dec 2010
Comments 1 comments

caralee said...

06:48 AM
on Nov 23, 2010

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Have fun!! I live in Canada and have the privilege of living 90 min from both the NY and MI borders. Last year my sister and I ventured out for black friday shopping for the first time. We had a blast. I think if you go with the right attitude...fun can be had by all. While one of us waited in line, the other shopped. Then we would switch spots. We are heading to Birch Run Michigan on Thursday for another fun night of shopping from midnight to 8am...so excited!!
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