The Black Friday Shopping Game Plan

It’s time to get the countdown to Black Friday.  T-minus 9 days until one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  Retailers have already been gearing up for this day and the days to follow in order to make the most out of the shopping season.  I know you have seen the ads and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  As the day gets closer, everyone will be inundated with Black Friday deal ads that it might make your head explode.  Mine might, so come back and check on me after Cyber Monday (actually, check me after)! This time of year is one reason I don’t subscribe to promotional emails. It would fill up my inbox even more.

In an effort to help you out this Black Friday or even Cyber Monday, I’ve decided to put together a game plan to help those deciding on shopping and saving the most money.  My game plan is simple and will help you understand the easiest ways to score deals, no matter which shopping method you prefer.  You really only get to choose between in-store or online.  So, the Black Friday game plan will give you tips for both of those.  I will also provide you with which method I prefer.  Hint…..I hate shopping and crazy hordes of deal-driven people!

The Black Friday Game Plan

There are two types of shoppers on Black Friday.  The ones that will wait in line for a deal (or one as perceived as such).  They love the action and adventure.  They are bargain hunters through and through. They don’t mind pushing and shoving their way to savings.  Then, there are those that just want to relax, enjoy the day off and shop online.  Do you remember my hint above?  I am in the second group.  I am an avid online shopper and Black Friday is no different.

I would rather get out of my warm bed when I want to, grab a cup of hot coffee, sit in front of my computer, and let my mouse navigate me to savings. I don’t need anything “right now,” so why go out there when it’s not a need. All gift buying has gotten a little out of hand. I think someone told me this year people are planning on spending an average of $804 on gifts? Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t spend $800 on Christmas gifts. That’s nuts. This is especially true if you have kids. They love the new toy for three days and then it ends up broken, behind the couch, or lost in the abyss. That’s a waste of money!! How about we shave off several  hundred dollars and then put the rest in our savings account? Or just let Digit do it for you!

Either way, let me break down my game plan for you. I have used and seen these methods for years and they have never let me down.

What NOT To Do

Before I jump into the two types of shoppers, let me disclose what I think you shouldn’t do.  DON’T go out shopping on Thanksgiving.  This new trend with retailers opening up on Thanksgiving is just ridiculous.  When did Thanksgiving become a holiday shopping day?  This trend irritates me and I think if you can’t sit around and enjoy the company of your friends and family, then go spend it just sitting around by yourself. Shopping on Thanksgiving shouldn’t even be possible, unless it is online. Let’s give those stores who have planned to stay closed on Thanksgiving a little credit. They see the true importance of this holiday.

We really should stop and take a moment to enjoy each others’ company. While we might not have family around, don’t we all have a friend or two somewhere? We need to stop for a comment and turn off our consumer culture. If we can’t do it for one day, then we are doomed. You don’t have to agree with me, but I’m no fan of shopping on Thanksgiving. Give me turkey, green bean casserole, and stuffing, but don’t give me doorbuster deals!

Give me turkey, green bean casserole, and stuffing, but don't give me doorbuster deals! #nothanksgivingshopping #blackfriday Click To Tweet

I will also add on there that you should not go shopping without some prior research. How do you know you’re getting a deal? Do you just look at the price tag and what it used to be? If so, that’s not deal hunting. You’re probably just falling for one of the best marketing tricks in the book. It’s basically a method to tell you that you’re getting a deal, but you’re really just paying the same price as it was a few months prior. I’ve seen this method at a number of stores, but it still works. Everyone thinks they are getting a deal on Black Friday, but that’s certainly not true.

Black Friday is usually a record shopping day for retailers. They make so much money in one day that it could make your head spin. How could they become profitable if they were selling such items at a huge discount? Are we just talking volume here? I don’t think so. This is our consumer culture at it’s finest. I don’t blame retailers for this, I look at the people falling for these “deals” all around them. If you don’t research before you go, I can’t help you when you’ve paid too much!

The In-Store Shopper

If you are part of the group of people that love to get up, wait in line, and fight hordes of people, then I don’t know what to say.  Did you read my description of you?  Do you like to get up extremely early to wait in line (usually in the cold) and then push your way through a store to get the best new Elmo toy for you kid or a new gaming console?  Oh, sorry, I got a little off topic there.  Back on track! If you like to shop in the store, then here are some things that you can do to make your life a little easier.  Black Friday is full of deals to be had, but you really need to have a plan of action.  Mapping out your shopping day can really make your life much easier.

  • Understand what deals you are looking for beforehand.  Most stores send out a plethora of ads to allow people to see the deals that will be on Black Friday.  If you don’t have any gift ideas, then check out the great gift guides put out by Amazon. They have them for almost every type of person and it could really come in handy. Using those guides will also allow you to price compare before jumping into the store. Remember, not all deals on Black Friday are deals. They could just be marked up and then marked down to look like a deal. It’s done each and every holiday shopping season.
  • Take the deals with you.  With the explosion of technology, there are  a wide range of ways to get deals right to your phone.  The best part is that some of them will know where you are and tell you the deals that pertain to your location.  If you are looking for mobile coupons while shopping, then use the RetailMeNot mobile coupons app.  I have it on my phone and it works wonders. You can also check out the site Dealspotr, which is more like a social network for deal hunters. It’s entirely run by their community and the deal finders within. You can find their app and look for deals as you travel the madness of Black Friday.
  • Know the store’s Black Friday policy.  Many stores out there now have certain policies that pertain to Black Friday.  Some places hand out tickets to keep the trampling to a minimum.  I think Walmart might be handing out tickets in some locations as there have been issues with people stomping others to get in the door.  You should understand when your favorite stores open and how long their deals will last.  There are many deals to be had just when the doors open and then some you can get all day long. You can either check their websites for this information or wait for their deal circular.
  • Last, but certainly not least, please be safe. We are shopping for goodness sake. Why do we have to hear about stories of people dying on Black Friday just to get a deal? This is shopping people, no one should be dying trying to get the latest toy for their kids. No one should be getting arrested or even fighting. If I see this junk again this year, I might have to give up on our society. I’ll just shake my head and walk away!

The Online Shopper

Do you like to sleep in and take your time with your morning coffee?  Do you enjoy your days off and don’t like to be pushed around?  Yeah, me too :)!  I am an online Black Friday shopper (if I shop at all).  I will get up, jump on the computer and then get my shop on.  I don’t have to get ready for the day until I want to get ready.  I usually have my shopping done before most people are even up.  I love online shopping!  According to a recent study, 84% of holiday shoppers plan to do some of their shopping online. That is a pretty big number.  While shopping online is pretty easy for me, I know there are some that could use some helpful hints, so here we go.

  • Check out the Black Friday Deals beforehand.  Just like how in-store retailers provide the print out advertisements, online retailers will provide their upcoming deals.  You should look through the best deals and then find which online store you want to shop at.  It just makes it easier to know which stores you want to visit.
  • Here is a tip that is similar to in-store shoppers.  If you don’t know what to get, then don’t wait until Black Friday.  You should get some gift ideas first.  Check out Amazon and their gift idea finder. It’s really useful. You don’t have to buy on Amazon, but it can give you some awesome ideas.
  • Sign up for some of your favorite retailers newsletters in order to score some exclusive deals.  Many retailers will send out great deals only to their subscribers, so you can get some great deals that no one else will get.  It goes out weekly and only sends the best of the best.
  • Don’t forget about taking advantage of cash-back sites. I use Ebates almost every time I shop online. Why? It’s the easiest way to earn money back on your shopping. You can sign up for free, look for deals and coupons, and then head to their online store you want to purchase from. If you do it through their platform, you can earn as much as 40% cash back! There are a number of cash back sites, but I’m a fan of Ebates.
  • Scour the coupon and deal sites to make sure you’re finding good deals. Also, if you plan on shopping on Amazon, then check out my guide to save the most money there. I have over 25 tips that most people didn’t even know about. Head on over to Dealspotr, RetailMeNot, FatWallet, and any other coupon/deal site you want. You can even check out the coupons we have listed. Make sure you know you’re getting a deal.

No matter your shopping flavor, you should certainly come up with a game plan.  Black Friday can be a day of great deals, but you don’t need to waste your time and money just searching for deals.  You should know about them before you head out or log on.  While you won’t find me waiting in line in front of a store on Friday morning, you can be certain that I will be scoring some great deals online, probably on Amazon with my Prime membership.  No matter how you like to shop for deals during the holidays, just be safe out there, be courteous to one another, and save some money!!

What is your Black Friday game plan?  Do you like to get up early and shop in store or do you prefer to get up when you want and score some deals online?

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8 Comments

  1. Grayson, I am preparing for a game plan for Black Friday sale. As of now, I have already gathered coupons or great deals I may use later on. And, I am most likely wouldn’t head out but would just log on to avoid you know crowded place.

  2. Hi Grayson,
    Excellent ideas. Black Friday is a great shopping season for USA, but we should take care of the deals and the game plan we make. Thanks for sharing the ideas. I will implement too.

  3. Black Friday shopping is a day to shop shop and drop till your finances allow. not only offline but online deals also saves your money. We must create a game plan and a strategy to maintain the shopping expenses. Good Ideas.

  4. While we don’t have such amazing deals in Romania, so people are not killing each other in our stores, we do get some big retailers here joining the ‘fun’. We usually just ignore the event, most of the time we purchase items we need, not because they’re on sale and, when we need them, we can’t wait for months for a smaller price anyway. Since we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, we just spend a regular day at home. Of course, trying to avoid all the affiliate link spam we get on all social media outlets (this is how some people try to earn a buck :))

  5. I am just so excited about the Black Friday. I actually have a game plan and I hope it works to save much money and time at the same time.