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Purchase Power

As we approach one of the biggest shopping days of the year, there are some strategies you should be aware of if you’re looking to save money, time and sanity.

Article
Ryann Gordon
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
October 29, 2017

Black Friday can easily be the most chaotic day of the year. The nails will be out and claws will bare in hopes of finding the cheapest gifts in all of the land. People run, scream, and sometimes act like children for a discounted television or clearance-priced coat.

Not only do the most frugal of shoppers come out ready for battle, but most of the city will be taking advantage of the deals to come. And some just like the experience. But not all are prepared.

In order to make the most of the Black Friday extravaganza, you have to plan ahead. Slow and steady wins the race. And the wisest usually wins the war.

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Focus
Despite the adrenaline that’s bound to be flowing the second you enter your first hot spot, you have to stay focused and not get lost in the chaos. Make sure to keep your mind right when you take off for that grill your man has been fawning over, and don’t get distracted by all the soccer moms chasing the other deals that caught your eye when browsing through the ads. It’s the big stuff that you want!

There are numerous Black Friday emails, websites, and apps that offer sneak peeks at retailers’ Black Friday deals. This will help you not only compare prices, but also determine exactly what will be on your shopping list.

Make a list of your priorities so you don’t lose focus when you see the new deals. Take on each store with an action-based mindset that won’t wander when you see the $5 bin of movies that could take you hours to dig through. If you’re going to save the most money possible on this day, you have to find the best deals and prioritize your moves.

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Navigate
Map out the city ahead of time. Jot down all the stores you absolutely have to hit, along with the times they open, the best deals they’re offering and compare. Always start at the store that provides you with the biggest overall savings.

Don’t let yourself go off track for a mediocre deal that’s being offered at several stores. Weigh out the savings you need versus those that draw the eye. Decide which and what places must be hit — then, take it inside.

Do an in-store recon ahead of time, so you know exactly which direction to sprint when you’re thrusted through the doors like shaken-up Dr Pepper spewing from the can. Ask employees as well, because many times they rearrange stores on Black Friday.

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Rise and find
Depending on the sale, plan on getting to your first store at least an hour before it opens. This is especially true at your big box electronics stores. Expect to stand in a fairly long checkout line though.

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Togetherness
Never go into battle alone. Utilize the buddy system on this day more than ever — you’re going to need it. Unite for one purpose and create a force to be reckoned with. One of you can get in line, and one of you can do the legwork. Also, it allows you the ability to split up if necessary for the retrieval of specific items. Plus, it’s just more fun than shopping alone.

It’s important to pick a shopping buddy who can keep up with your pace. Similarly, you don’t want to go with a shopping buddy who is going to wear you out.

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Dump doorbusters

Sure, the doorbusters will be great opportunities to save, but they are always available in very limited quantities (in some cases, only a handful per store). And unless you’re planning to spend hours, or even days, waiting in line, you aren’t going to get them.

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Bring the ads
There’s a chance that your discounted item may not ring up as on sale when you actually get up to the cash register. Instead of trying to recall exactly what the advertisement stated, pull that ad out and ask the clerk to honor it. And if you go to a store with a price-matching policy, you may be able to get the same prices that another store is offering. If you’re relying on ads you found online, you might have a harder time getting a deal, though.

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Take it online
Many retailers will offer online deals. This is a great alternative to many who are less excited about going to the stores and standing in line. It might be a better idea for you to skip the chaos in the stores and take advantage of the deals from the comfort of your home. And when you add in gas money and the time you might spend standing in line Friday morning, online sales are even better.

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There's always Monday
If you get easily agitated or upset about long lines, lots of people and trouble finding parking, then Black Friday shopping may not be ideal. It might be better to wait until Cyber Monday. Usually, retailers offer special online-only deals on that day and sometimes even include free shipping.

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ALSO CONSIDER

  • It’s worth the wait for a shopping cart. Don’t try holding everything.
  • The more you complain and freak out about the packs of people who will be out shopping, the more you’ll stress yourself out.
  • Dress appropriately and in layers. You may have to wait outside, and with all those people, it can become rather hot in some stores.
  • Sales abound throughout the entire holiday season. If you don’t get that hot gift now, chances are it’ll be available later.
  • Make sure to keep your cash and/or credit cards in a secure location, and never leave your purse or wallet unattended.
  • Be pleasant with your fellow shoppers. 
  • Have fun.