1. Shop with a reusable bag so it’s easier to maneuver through the crowds.
This is a must! I shop with the blue "tarp" Ikea bags. By doing so I’m able to carry smaller items and maneuver through the crowd more quickly.
2. Bring the physical ads with you to help locate and verify specific products.
Online ads can be hard to see (for you and the sales associate). Also, when going to a store that price matches, the cashier will need to confirm the item you’re purchasing is the exact same as the one advertised at a competitor. Bust out that store’s paper ad, and ask for a price match! Although many stores suspend price matching on Black Friday, it never hurts to ask!
Note: At Walmart, in-store price matching on Black Friday is at the manager’s discretion.
3. Wear comfortable shoes, and leave your jacket and purse in the car.
Remember, it might be cold outside, but you’ll be hot in the store! Keep your jacket in your car so it doesn’t become one extra thing you have to carry around. I’ve even tucked cash into my bra to avoid carrying around a bulky purse!
4. Use sales ads to make a detailed shopping list.
Before even opening the ads, write a list of people you’re shopping for or specific items you already know you want to buy. As you search the ads for those items, write down what you find: first by store, then the item and its price. (I often find the same item at multiple stores.)
When you’ve gone through all the ads, circle the item and the store that has the lowest price. That’s the store you should buy the item from or use the ad to price match.
5. Make friends with others in line and team up later.
Say hello! Start a conversation, even if it’s about how crazy the crowd is. Doing this will make your shopping trip more pleasant and may even help you find others to shop with. If you’re looking for similar items, you can help each other grab things.
6. Shop with friends and family, then divide and conquer!
My husband tackles one side of the store while I tackle the other.
7. Take some time away from the crowds to get organized before checking out.
After we’ve grabbed our items, my husband and I find an aisle away from the crowds to sort them out. This helps us determine what we grabbed multiples of and pick through any unexpected finds.
8. Keep in mind that some stores reset.
Last year at midnight my husband and I decided to stop by Old Navy (open 24 hours on Black Friday). We expected to find the store a mess, but we were shocked to find the whole store was clean! Not only did we avoid the rush, but we were still able to find the things we wanted on sale.
Remember, this only works at some stores. Hot deals that are limited, such as electronics or doorbusters, will all be sold out if you don’t arrive early!
9. Do your research and know your policies.
Many stores’ price matching and return policies change on and around Black Friday—make sure you know your store’s guidelines, and bookmark them in your phone so you have the policy with you in-store.
10. Be kind to sales associates—they’re working one of the craziest shopping days of the year!