Black Friday Guide

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Black Friday Guide

By Lisa Scarbrough

Thanksgiving is upon us. While this is a time to sit with family and reflect upon our blessings, it is also a time when retailers pull out all the stops to get your Christmas shopping business.

As I’ve previously written, I survived a Black Friday in person back in 2002. I have since kept my shopping to online to perserve my own sanity (and physical safety). Here are my tips to help you stretch your budget this Black Friday.

1. Make a list and stick to it.
Now is the time to get those high dollar items that you’ve been wishing for but couldn’t afford. However, don’t let yourself get sucked into making purchases of things you hadn’t thought about or don’t really need. You can very quickly blow your budget if you spend more money on additional purchases you hadn’t planned. Leave the plastic at home and only take cash, you’ll find you’re more motivated to make choices on the spot when you have a physical purchasing limit.

2. Scout ahead.
Circulars for most every store were in the Sunday paper, however, most also offer them on their websites. Price check your list against each store to see where you will get the most value. Also a little hint: if you got the Target circular yesterday, there was a $10 off coupon towards a Paula Deen product in store.

3. Save gas and shop online.
Many retailers offer free shipping during Black Friday and pre-Black Friday sales. Some stores, like, Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Sears, Wal-Mart and Target, are offering pre-Black Friday deals online now. Other brands are offering discounts through their Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds, so make sure you are tuned in to both. So in addition to the discounts, you’ll save gas money. Paula Deen fans, you won’t want to miss the Free Shipping from the Paula Deen Store online - use Coupon code C89484.

4. Use the buddy system.
Need to get to more than one store at the same time? Divide and conquer. Grab a friend or obliging family member or holiday guest and tackle two venues at the same time. If you need to get a lot of items from one store only, the buddy system works well to split up the shopping and find everything on your list. Keep in mind that retailers often limit the inventory for Black Friday shopping so that only so many consumers will get the price breaks.

5. Keep calm.
Probably the biggest turn off to me about the Black Friday shopping experience was the chaos. Folks, Christmas is not going to cease because you didn’t grab the last doll baby for little Suzie, or the last copy of whatever blow ‘em up game is popular for little Harry (or hubby, which seems to be the case amongst my friends). Your family’s happiness on Christmas Day should not be tied to the amount or size of their gifts. So there’s no need for people to suffer physical injuries just to try and get a deal on one day of the year.

Whether you are going to beat the roosters up and head out to brave the elements and the crowds, or shop in your jammies, please remember that it really is the thought that counts. The rush of a getting a good deal only lasts so long before the bill comes. Make your Christmas (or the holiday you celebrate) last longer than the wrapping paper. Remind your family of your love for one another and the blessings you have that others do not. That is my Christmas wish for you.

Photo is of my sister, Sandra’s, beautiful home last Christmas. Our house resembles more of a Charlie Brown motif around the holidays.

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Reader Comments:


I did Participate in Black Friday shopping this year just for the thrill of it!! I was just about done with my Holiday shopping but couldn't miss out on the craziness of it all.

By Alissa on December 02, 2011


I didn't do black friday this year because frankly I had no money! But LAST year it was INSANE! The $4 pajamas at Walmart were out on pallets but covered and people were swarming waiting for them to be opened then people started fighting over pajamas for pete's sake! A manager and I got to the pallet and started calling back what size and handing them out otherwise people would have been trampled to save a few bucks, it's ridiculous how all manners fly out the window on that day.

By Jaime on December 02, 2011


I did not do black Friday. I just don't have the patience to wait in line and deal with all the people. I did get on line on cyber Monday but didn't really see anything I needed. Made the decision not to buy stuff just cause it was cheap! Stuck to my list for the most part so far.

By jen on December 01, 2011


My hubby and I DID participate in black Friday shopping online. We found great deals while the kiddos were sleeping. We have a hard time getting them covered to go shopping every year. We got amazing deals and are done Christmas shopping!!!

By Amber Tompkins on December 01, 2011


I loved this years Black Friday! I got to stay at home in my jammies and shop online! I found a lot of good deals!

By Michelle Cummings on December 01, 2011


I love black firday/ cyber monday, but unfortunately, I was not able to participate in them this year due to financial reasons. It the best time to get great deals! I was hoping to get to since you can find the hot new toys for a hot price and I have 3 kids so that would've been perfect! I live in a small town, so its not too busy but it can get VERY crowed on black friday but being in the south, most people are pretty kind so it's not too stressful!

By Scarlett on December 01, 2011


I did very little black Friday shopping simply because there were only very little fantastic deals to be had. However, I find it a bit overwhelming and scary how people behave when there are major discounts.

By Flavia Cabrera on December 01, 2011


i had a woman almost knock me out over a coat on black friday once, after that i dont go out anymore! I read about this year some lady at walmart pepper sprayed someone else over an xbox! that's just to much, thats not what christmas should be about.

By shay on December 01, 2011


I dont go shopping on black friday because i always work and I am not that crazy !I went one year and saw 2 women fist fighting over some kind of game! They ruined it for me!

By Cardella on December 01, 2011


i did not do black friday nor do i ever. i have enough anxeity shopping on any normal day. too many crazy people out on black friday for me.

By allison dustin on December 01, 2011


I love love B- Friday shopping its fun and exciting! I went by myself this year and met up with some friends later its just fun and then you can go home and eat leftovers and take a nap!

By Francine on December 01, 2011


My hubby and I leave our DS with my MIL and go shopping together for Black Friday - it is like going on a date ... at Target, LOL. Love it! We don't do the craziness - usually hit the shops about an hour AFTER they open, so we don't get the amazing doorbusters, but still get really good deals.

By Leah on December 01, 2011


My Mom and I shop on black friday.. but we don't go super early or go for the sales. It's become a traditional shopping day for us to go out and enjoy each other's company with no kids or husbands! We shop, go out for lunch and find some good deals while we are at it.

By Keri on December 01, 2011


I didn't get to shop because I had to work on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

By angie Fishman on December 01, 2011


I didn't do "black Friday" because the large crowds freak me out and I don't want to battle someone for something just because it is a "good" deal. I did get a few things from Amazon during their lighting deals but still have a bunch more to get within the next three weeks.

By Tanya on December 01, 2011


Even though I have shopped on black Fridays before and scored really good deals, this year we skipped it and cyber Monday. The reason?, simple...we had other priorities to take care of and what we needed wasn't even on that big of a sale. Maybe next year. smile

By Ruth Montan on December 01, 2011


Great ideas! I have been decorating, dressing and donating my way through thrift stores for over 25 years now. As a mother of 5 this is essential ! Robyn Smyles

By Robyn Smyles on November 29, 2011


Paula, I would like to thank you for being so kind. I was working on a temp job at a Resort in Birmingham. You were leaving the hotel and I ran up to get an autograph for my father. He loves your show and that autograph made his day,week,month,year and decade. LOL

By Elfreda von Nardroff Houston on November 25, 2011


Great tips! I think we may be braving Walmart (mainly because we are out in the middle of no where visiting relatives and that is the only thing around lol)Hoping to get a waffle maker super cheap for my son's teacher gift lol!

By Robin M on November 23, 2011


I have never gone shopping on Black Friday, and I never will. I shop throughout the year and I'm usually done before Thanksgiving. This year I'm a little behind, but I'll stick with Cyber Monday and sleep in on Friday!

By Lt. Sanders on November 21, 2011

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