Black Friday shopping tips


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.  Communication is essential when you’re separated in the midst of a crowd of people.

5. Bring a couple of big mesh bags. 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 still 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 10 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 gift or two wrapped before I collapse for a nap in the early afternoon.

(This article reposted from a previous year.)


More tips

My 2007 Black Friday shopping trip

Walmart 2008 Black Friday Deals

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  1. Hmm. I’ve never gone on Black Friday before, but MIL and SILs are planning on going. I’m debating joining in on the madness. H&M is 20% off before noon… that alone might be good enough to drag me out of bed! Thanks for the links!

  2. Only 4am? {wink, wink}

  3. We don’t have this phenomenon in Canada (at least as far as I’ve heard). People around here go absolutely insane shopping on Boxing Day, though (is that a universal day? if not, I should tell you it’s the day after Christmas). My father got up at 4:30am to line up outside the electronics store (it opened at 6am) – he purchased about $1000 worth of electronics for about $250-300!

  4. I will be out on Black Friday but not as a shopper!! I am due at K*ohl’s at 3am to get the registers opened and ready for all you crazy fools! LOL I am working and looking forward to it actually. It is alot of fun being on the other side of the register 🙂


    Have fun and be safe

  5. My husband and daughter have been planning their black friday trip for weeks. I will be working. However, if I were not, I would still be sleeping. They can get the bargains without me. (I’m glad they enjoy doing this together though.)

  6. I was reading your post from last year and had to share that my son is a builder, too, and I found a box of K’nex at a yard sale back in like March! for $1! It is even in a fancy plastic carrying case. It is wrapped and waiting. I love a good bargain.

  7. Here is another site which lists black friday ads( They tend to release ads more quickly. I am a regular black friday shopper. I have been shopping with my mom since high school. Now as an mom(with 5 kids) this is a tradition for me also. Have fun shopping.

  8. I for one will be getting up insanely early to stand in the freezing COLD and will save over a hundred dollars by doing so. 🙂

  9. I’ve given up on Black Friday, especially after my husband’s experience:

  10. I too am crazy and love Black Friday. Even if I have nothing to buy, I love going out for the chaos. One store near us now opens up at Midnight on Black Friday!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your encouragement! It helps to know you are not alone and that others are here to support!

  11. Debbi Busack says:

    Mary, since you are an expert – I have 2 questions for you –

    1) Since our Walmart is open 24 hours – If I get there at 4 instead of 5 am I better off (I know crazy, but I HAVE to be home by 8:00 am!)
    2) Does Walmart have inexpensive bikes typically every year? Do you think that is the best way to get kids bikes (I don’t ever seem to get to garage sales!).

    Thanks for your advice.

  12. I usually don’t do a lot of Black Friday shopping, but I do make a trip to JoAnn’s for their $1.49 a yard flannel! I try to make sure I have some snacks with me when I go out, waiting in line to have fabric cut can take a while!

  13. I absolutely refuse to shop on Black Friday. Three of my young adult children work retail and it so sad that they cannot even enjoy Thanksgiving without planning to be at the stores at midnight.

    • That is definitely the down side of holiday shopping. Other folks I think of during the holidays are military families, and people who work in health care. They can’t quit, and I really appreciate the sacrifice.

  14. Not a shopper during this time of year at all. Christmas gift shopping dune by the 4th of July so that I can enjoy the season. Last year lucked out at the end of the season and bought all the kids (extra for daughters friends’ birthdays) goofy slippers for a quarter at a major department store (bought three dozen)that everyone is getting this year.
    Nope work in healthcare so won’t shop on Thanksgiving or Friday for anything—nothing not even gas.

  15. Black Friday sales are just starting to come to Canada-Boxing Day has traditionally been our big day, which has kind of morphed into Boxing Week now. I don’t shop on Boxing Day, as I’ve heard too many horror stories about how violent people get, just to get their purchase. The stores I buy my Christmas gifts in have been having fantastic sales all through November, so I’ve pretty much finished all my Christmas shopping already! I only have 3 kids, 1 niece and 1 nephew to buy for, but I hate to pay full price for anything.

    How did you do in your shopping escapades this year?

    • We did pretty well! I took our teenagers to a couple stores in the morning (not early) and my husband and I shopped more in the evening. We missed a few of the doorbuster items, but even that late, the stores were still pretty well stocked.

  16. I did most of my Black Friday shopping online. I did venture out about 8:30 am on Friday to take advantage of a couple of $10 off coupons at Kohl’s and to get some DVDs at Target. I also made six other NON Black Friday related stops and was back home by 10:30.


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