Black Friday 2013: Best advice for Black Friday shoppers

Crystal Intini Alperin

Black Friday 2013 begins in less than 48 hours. If you include the early sales starting on Thanksgiving day, it’s only a mere hours away! After interviewing several experienced Black Friday shoppers, I’ve compiled the best advice from veteran Black Friday shoppers for first timers and those of us looking for tips to improve our Black Friday shopping routine and experience.

Best advice for Black Friday shoppers

1. Use cash for all purchases

Shannan Ball Younger at Tween Us encourages paying for purchases in cash and shopping later in the day, “I know it’s hard to give up the credit card points, but pay in cash. Take the exact amount with you that you want to spend. It makes you far more cognizant of both how much you’re spending and what percentage of your total budget that it. Also, think about going later in the day. You may miss the really massive deals, but if you’re not in the market for a ginormous TV, you can probably still get the benefit of the sales without the insanity. A calmer environment leads to more rational decisions.”

2. Shop with a partner

Bring a family member, friend or even your teen to shop with you, keep you company and help hold your place in line.

Experienced Chicago Black Friday shopper, Kelly O’Hara, shops with her mom and adds, “The stores are crowded. Go with someone you know well enough to enjoy the day with. Look at the lines before you start shopping. My mom and I switch off standing in line and shopping.”

Aurora resident, Tina Savaglio, also uses Black Friday shopping as another opportunity to bond with her teenage daughter. As the mother of two teens, I personally love this reason to shop!

3. Plan ahead 

Erin Kelly, owner of Arranged By Erin Professional Organizing and writer of Organizing with Erin, recommends, “Make a list of your goal purchases. Have a game plan. Don’t just go shopping. It’s a madhouse. Know what you’re looking for in each store. Go straight to that department.”

Kate Purl, blogger for The Reluctant Hippie, suggests a pre-Black Friday reconnaissance mission, “Check out the circular and know exactly what you want to get. The best deals will have the smallest inventory, so go for those first. Bring a buddy (or three) so that you can fan out to find the doorbuster that you are seeking. For the big deals, you should do some reconnaissance on Wednesday if you can – know the layout of the store so that you can divide and conquer, or even better, ask employees if they know where certain items will be located or how tickets will be distributed in the lines.”

4. Have fun

Courtney Rozek, an experienced shopper from Naperville, shops with low expectations and a good attitude: “Don’t do it if you think it sounds awful. Do it if you think it sounds like an adventure. Have low expectations.”

ArkieLad blogger, David Quinn, echoes this sentiment, “Have fun and enjoy it.” David admits he doesn’t even look for sales and normally goes to a mall.

5. Take care of you

Cheaper than Therapy blogger, Jill Kirby, shares, “If the line is too long, I forget it. Not worth the aggravation – I’d rather keep it a pleasant experience.”

Aurora resident, Jennifer Bartos, offers some tips to keep things easier and more comfortable while you are shopping. “I use a backpack as a purse, makes for hands-free shopping. I bring large tote bags to put my shopping bags in. Make sure backpack contains a snack and water.”

I hope that these Black Friday shopping tips help you as you are preparing to shop. If you haven’t started planning, there’s still time. I highly recommend you start your search by browsing online store flyers like these for Target and Macy’s. I am thankful to all of the experienced shoppers, friends and bloggers who shared such excellent advice!

If you liked this post and want more information on how to create a holiday gift budget, check out How to create a holiday gift budget and How to create a Black Friday shopping plan.

Challenge to readers: Do you need holiday gift ideas for specific individuals on your list? I would love to help you! Email me at crystalalperin@gmail.com with the event details, and I will feature your gift conundrum, preserve your anonymity and try my best to provide you with a suggestion or two.Visit the about page of this blog to learn more about me and my goals to inspire your gift-giving spirit!