Frugal Friday (Black Friday!)

Black Friday. Do you know it? Do you love it? Maybe not as much as I do. I look forward to this day all year. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, I peel myself out of bed around 4am, and head off to find those bargains! Here’s how I make the most of the day:

1. Check out a few days ahead of time. That way you’ll have a little more time to plan your approach, think about the people you need to buy for, and then only buy what you need. Black Friday is only a frugal event if you plan carefully, stick within your budget, and don’t get carried away.

2. Pay close attention to which stores open first, and plan where you’ll go first, second and third. Figure driving time and map out the most efficient route.

3. Write out a list for every store, with the highest priority items at the top of the list. Include name brands and even a photo of items (cut apart your ads and tape pictures to your lists.) This makes it much easier to spot items on shelves.

4. Plan to bring another adult or teen with you and arm both people with a cell phone.

5. Bring a couple big mesh bags. If you can get by without a cart, you’ll be able to move more quickly through the stores–sometimes there are huge traffic jams, and you will be just standing if you’re trying to maneuver a cart. I usually leave my coat in the car, and stick my credit card/checkbook/ID in my front jeans pocket so I don’t have to carry a purse.

6. Divide the list for each store into two parts– you and your shopping partner can each shop and then meet at the checkout. Have one person just grab a few things, then go stand in the checkout line while the other person finishes shopping. If you can hit the checkout line within 15 minutes of the store’s opening time, the line won’t be too long yet.

7. If your partner gets to the head of the line before you get done shopping, he/she should call you and just let the next person in the checkout line check out first. Whatever happens, your partner shouldn’t step out of the line– just wait at the front, letting people by, until the partner arrives.

I know lots of people just prefer to avoid the chaos and sleep in that morning. But shopping the day after Thanksgiving helps my stretch my Christmas dollars, which is really important with 8 kids to shop for. I wouldn’t want to shop like that every day. But once a year is fun. I love working out an efficient plan and seeing just how much I can get for my money. It’s also fun to sneak the loot in the house when I finally get home around 11 am. If I’m really energetic, I’ll even get a few things wrapped before I go take a nap!


  1. Oh you are a brave brave woman. Good luck!

  2. I’m printing this one out!! My girlfirend and I have been talking about this day for months and now it is next week, yay!! This will be the first for the two of us to shop together.

    Also rember standing in line at K-mart for an hour(1st 100 guest recieve free gift cards), 6 months pregnant, freezing cold, only to recieve a $1 gift card. Totally not worht it that time around.

  3. Ihave been combing through the black Friday ads for over a week…preparing..LOL

  4. I love Black Friday shopping! We have saved so much money on ‘big ticket’ Christmas items over the years. My husband takes that day off of work so he can go with me. It’s a lot of fun and afterwards we go out to breakfast. It’s become a tradition!

    This year, I’ve been looking over the ads online and we don’t have anything we ‘must have’. We will still go just for the fun of it. But, the pressure will be off since the stakes aren’t too high. ~wink~ Can you tell we take our shopping seriously??

  5. That’s right noble of you, sharing your tips, what with the cutthroat competition out there and all… 😉

  6. First you finish your proposal then on to Black Friday shopping – you are one ambitious woman this week!

    I’m going to crawl back in bed now.

  7. I don’t usually do Black Friday, but I coupon with the same drive and ambition. I completely get the “sport” of it! Have fun!

  8. Sounds like you’re the professional shopper that day! My mom and I normally go out – just for the sake of “tradition”, but rarely for the sake of finding deals, because it rarely happens for me on that day. My hubby did go out first thing in the morning last year (yes, he works the day after Thanksgiving) and got a couple things that were on sale for Isabella. But for the most part, I don’t find great deals then. Of course, I’m much more of an after Christmas sale kind of person – I found a few presents after Christmas for Isabella dirt cheap and she will be getting them for Christmas this year. I’m sure as my girls get older, I will end up having to start looking for these Black Friday deals for those new “hot” Christmas items. 🙂

  9. Martina Fahrner says:

    Check out shops like Ross, Tuesday Morning’s, TJ Max, Syms — but not only on black Friday,,,, I store up right after Christmas, in Summer and right now on kids toys etc. I saw adorable party dresses from a name brand retailer for $10.00 — at one point it went for 120….!

  10. Wow, I knew I wasn’t much of a shopper but would you believe I have never heard the term “Black Friday” for post-Thanksgiving shopping? Where have I been? Is it called this throughout the country?

  11. I debate going every year and then I start looking through the ads and can’t help myself. I’m a sucker for a deal. I even did it two years ago at 40 weeks and 2 days pg. I think somewhere I had a hope it might get labor going. It didn’t.

    bordermama, I’ve heard it stems from retail lingo in that it’s the first dayin the fall that stores are in the black again. However, it seems fitting in the other sense as well.

  12. Hubby and I have made this an annual “date” for the past few years, and we love it! We make arrangements for a grandparent to stay home with Emma (either one visiting from out of town, or farm Emma out the night before) and then we hit the madness! We are usually done with our shopping – AND a nice breakfast out together, and home before anyone really knew we were gone!

    Another thing to pay attention to is the door prizes. A lot of stores hand out freebies to the first (however many) people through the doors, and some of the gifts are worth it! The past two years we have each gotten $5 gift cards at Macys.

  13. We don’t have Black Friday up here in Canada – I guess the Boxing Day sales are the closest thing.

    I must admit I would have more energy to do those things before Christmas rather than after. On Boxing Day I’m not at all interested in buying Christmas paper to store for 364 days.

  14. Ugghh!! I would rather scoop out my eyeballs than go anywhere near a store on that day. Just thinking about it sends chills up my spine…you have fun though!

  15. My trick is just gathering gifts(a la major bargains) throughout the year and keeping them in the “gift closet”. In Nov when I pull everything out to see where I am, I’m so relieved I’ve gotten so much done without even trying. I would never ever be out shooping on Black Friday. EVER! You are brave.

  16. Don’t forget Wal-Mart has said it will reveal some deals on its website which are not in the circular. Be sure and check it out after eating your Thanksgiving Meal.

    Here is the scoop

  17. You are a sick lady, Mary. Yuck. Sounds ‘orrible!

    And here’s a clue that I live overseas. You said, “Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, I peel myself out of bed around 4am, and head off to find those bargains!” And I thought–oh no, Thanksgiving was last week? I missed it? I thought it was this week!

    Anyway have fun for me too! Cuz even if I was in the US, I would be avoiding any kind of retail establishment on the very appropriately named Black Friday!!

  18. Besides that black friday site I try to always look online for rebates/coupon codes etc before I buy. I have been burned to many times when I buy something and then see it cheaper some where else.

  19. Personally, I don’t do crowds. Boxing day sales or other major sales, count me out. There is something to be said of those who can manouver them. Hats of too you for daring to go out and shop on a big sale day.

  20. We had quite the opposite experience this year. Here is my short story entitled Black Friday Battles.

    As a heavy online shopper, I found myself asking why? Better deals can be found online in my opinion, give techbargains,, pricegrabber, gotapex, a try (to name a few).

    This eHow is also great: How to Buy Nothing. But do whatever works for you I guess. Sounds like you take the stress of lines, deal uncertainty, and parking lot mayhem in stride.


  1. […] And now, in case any of you are planning on getting up at some ridiculous hour to shop 30 hours from now (but who’s counting??) , may I offer my last year’s tips for successful Black Friday shopping? […]