Black Friday Shopping Tips

By JustMommies staff

Are you looking forward to the holidays this year? If you're like most people, you have an equal mixture of excitement and dread. The holidays can be a great time to reconnect with family and friends, but it's also one of the most expensive times of year. Finding the best deals on gifts is a lot like hunting-it takes cunning, timing and a little luck.

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, and is one of the days you'll score the best deals on the items you need. However, it can be completely overwhelming. Major crowds, mixed up shelves and products strewn around, and angry shoppers fighting over the last item are just a few of the issues you'll have to contend with. Fortunately, there are ways to navigate Black Friday successfully and avoid the drama so you can focus on getting the best deals. Here are some tips:

  • Go in prepared - Before you venture out on Black Friday, know what you're looking for. Do some research ahead of time. Read reviews about the products you want, who has the best prices and find which stores carry the exact item you're looking for. This will let you get in and out and snag a great item at a price you're willing to pay.

  • Bring your homework - If you see an ad for a product at a lower price than the stores you're planning to visit, take the ads with you. Not only will many stores price match a printed ad, many will also price match ads found online. However, make sure you know ahead of time if your store will price match an online ad. A quick phone call will answer that question.

  • Be the early bird - Stores are opening earlier and earlier each year in order to give shoppers access to the best deals. Many of the steepest discounts and incentives will be available to the first shoppers through the door. Even if it means getting to the store at 1am, or standing in line, it will be worth it to save major money.

  • Know your store - Black Friday deals can be awesome, but they may also come with stipulations. Make sure you read the fine print, or call the store and ask, about return policies. Some Black Friday deals have different return policies than regular products, with a shortened return time and even fees associated with returns.

  • Consider credit - While living off of a credit card is never a good idea in the long term, an in-store credit card can give you additional discounts on Black Friday. If asked to open one for your purchase, consider it.

  • Stay alert - A few weeks before Black Friday, sign up for email alerts from the stores where you plan to shop. You'll get sent information ahead of time that will help you on your hunt for the best deals.

  • Budget - Black Friday spending can easily get out of control if you don't create a budget and stick to it. If you have all your deals in place, and know what you plan to get and how much it will cost, you can create a budget with a little wiggle room for extras. Otherwise, you'll have buyer's remorse that can affect all the fun of gift giving.