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 Amazon.com, 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.