When I worked in retail I would often wear a jade colored ring with “diamonds” (okay they were rhinestones) surrounding the plastic stone. I loved this ring and would always get several compliments on how beautiful it was. La Jollan customers would grab my hand mid-purchase and go into awe over the piece of jewelry. After asking me where I got it, I would exclaim that it was from Forever 21 and that I got it for just $2.00! Apparently I’m not supposed to brag about getting a great deal, but why not be proud of getting a bargain on something people think you spent hundreds of dollars on? This brings me to my topic for this week’s post. When it comes to in-store shopping, Black Friday is the Super Bowl of discount shopping. If you plan it out right, you can score big and walk out feeling like the winner of a The Price is Right episode. You should be proud of your thriftiness and rock Black Friday like the coupon kings and queens that you are! As a veteran of the annual shopping frenzy, here are my tips.
Visit the Stores that Have Limited Quantities First
A lot of stores offer “gifts with purchases” instead of having great deals on Black Friday. Stores like Victoria’s Secret and DSW will often give away nice tote bags to the first 100 or so shoppers at that location. If I plan to shop at a store like this, I try to make it one of my first stops. Nothing is worse than spending $50 on full price items just to find out that they ran out of your deserved free gift. Trust me, learn from this lesson. You don’t want to be the shopper doing the Tom Hanks Castaway scream at the register.
Try to Go to a Mall or Shopping Center that Has Several of the Stores You’d Like to Visit
I personally like to go to Fashion Valley Mall in my hometown because they’re one of the only malls that has a Macy’s, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and JC Penny’s all in one location. In the good old days they also had a delicious Cinnabon, but hey you can’t have it all. Since this particular mall also goes down a straight path and is only two stories high, it makes having a shopping game plan easy.
Avoid the “Big Box” Stores If You Can
You never see stampedes happen at a Sephora, but you do see them happen at Walmart. The higher the regular price of the item is, the higher the stakes are. One way to avoid this problem? Wait until Cyber Monday! Ever since the early 2000s, the birth of this magnificent online shopping holiday was born. Not only will you avoid long lines, angry parents beating you up with video game consoles, and annoyed/hungover employees, you’ll also have peace of mind while drinking hot coco in your PJs.
Try to Use Cash
I don’t normally carry around cash, but when I do it’s on Black Friday. I mainly carry cash to help set a budget for myself. Not only does this limit the amount that I spend, but I get to physically watch how much I’m spending at each store. Once my stash starts to look a little low, I know I need to spend the rest of it wisely. You start to question if you really need the iPod speakers that look like a pig. That year was a tough one, but I realized that the cute speakers were definitely not a necessity. Another bonus to this rule? You avoid the credit card breaches that have affected big stores such as Target and Home Depot!
Plan Your Outfit
This may sound dumb out loud, but I’m speaking from experience on this one. Wear comfy shoes or even tennis shoes! Good shoes are great for dodging aggressive shoppers and for speedily walking between stores. Also this time of the year can get cold, but stores can also have their heat cranked up to desert temperatures. Wear a light-weight sweater to keep you warm enough, but also one that won’t cause you to faint while waiting in line. Sometimes wearing a scarf can be nice, but they can easily fall off and tend to look like you stole it from the store you’re shopping in. I wore a scarf once and felt paranoid the entire day.
Ask Fellow Shoppers for Advice
Just like humans in every situation, there are mean ones and there are nice ones. Nice shoppers will let you know when a store sold out of a certain item or if they have crappy deals that particular year. Nice shoppers also let you know which bathrooms are crowded, which coffee places have the shortest lines, and other life hacks. If you take advice from other shoppers, make sure you return the favor!
I hope these tips help you on your shopping adventure! I personally love Black Friday and look forward to it every year. If you do it right, it can be really fun. Try going with a small group of people who don’t mind splitting up for an hour or two and then reconvening for lunch. Trust me, that’s the best way to do it!
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten on a purchase?