The madness is upon us: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, crowded malls, HOT deals, long lines, and bad customer service.
Everybody sing now...
"It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!"
And last year, for the first time ever, more Americans shopped online than in stores during Thanksgiving/Black Friday. Maybe it was because they wanted to avoid this....
Or more likely, it's because most of the deals are now available online at the touch of the button. And what's great is that many Black Friday sales start online on the Sunday before Black Friday, which means you can get lots of shopping done before you ever stick that turkey in the oven!
But if you are planning to hit those brick and mortar stores and load up your carts, watch my recent "Good Morning Texas" segment for some Black Friday tips and read below to make shopping adventures be merry and bright (or at least bearable).
1. Make a Hit List. Make a prioritized list of stores by deciding which items are your must-haves and the specific times of doorbuster deals so you don't miss out on a must-have item. Both Target and Walmart offer store maps via their apps helping you know where those popular, doorbuster items are located so you won't waste time walking around the entire store. Download the Walmart app HERE and download the Target Mobile App HERE.
2. Know Before You Go. Be aware, stores that normally price match (i.e. Target, Walmart, Toys R Us) usually have exclusions for Black Friday deals. Before you shop know each store’s price matching and/or coupon policy.
3. What's on Sale? Head over to my Black Friday Deals page here to access complete ad scans for popular stores. Why wait until that massive newspaper shows up on turkey day to find out the BEST deals when you can do that now.
4. Let's All Go to the Mall! Robin Sparkles knows this is where ALL the action is. If you're going to venture out into the swarm of shoppers, get the FREE Simon Malls App and you'll be able to see the Black Friday sales for individual stores, plus there are mall maps to help you decide which entrance to use, where to park...and to remember where you parked!
5. Purchase discounted gift cards. You can score bargain gift cards at sites like Raise or eBay for stores you’re planning to shop at anyway. This is a simple way to save a few extra bucks.
6. Shop Online. Avoid the mayhem and crowds of Black Friday and relax in front of your computer. Many stores will be offering the same deals online that will be available in stores. Walmart's Black Friday deals will be available online starting one minute past midnight on Thanksgiving Day and in-stores starting at 6pm. And of course, there's always Cyber Monday...I'll be posting deals like a mad woman come Monday. Nov. 28th.
7. Ship it There. If you're going to be traveling for the holidays, and make an online purchase, use FREE shipping options and have your gifts shipped to your destination and have it waiting for your when you arrive That way, don't have to hassle with lugging a bunch of gifts through an airport or finding room in an overpacked car truck!
8. Stop into the Drugstores. Walgreens and CVS want to get in on the action and usually offer TONS of freebies (after ECBs or Register Rewards) and gift card deals, too. If you're new to the "drugstore games" be sure to read my CVS 101 post and Walgreens 101 post.
9. Look for Store Gift Cards & Rewards. Popular brands like Apple, Xbox and others often require retailers to maintain a specific price point which means you won't see deep discounts on those items. But what you will see are incentives like gift cards or rewards on your purchase. Target, Best Buy, Kohl's and Toys R Us are known for these promotions. For example, at Kohl's you’ll earn $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend. If your buying big ticket items, that's $50-$200 back to spend on anything else in the store. Check out all of the Kohl’s Black Friday Deals Here.
10. Get Smart. Your smartphone is your best asset when it comes to shopping on Black Friday, so make sure it's fully charge and all necessary apps are already downloaded. I love opening up my Amazon app and scanning the bar code of the item I’m wanting to buy. I can quickly see what it’s selling for on Amazon (which is usually the cheapest online), plus read reviews, get specs, see videos, and more to help me make the best purchasing decision. The FREE Flipp app brings the local store sales circulars right to your mobile device, so you don’t have to dig through all those ads looking for the best deal. You can search by retailer OR search for a particular item to instantly compare prices between stores and make the smartest shopping decision. Plus, when you find what you’re looking for, just tap on it to instantly clip it and add the item to an in-app list.
The FREE Shopular app features deals from over 40,000 of the top retailers, like Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Macy’s! Plus, you can select your favorite stores, so you never see unwanted deals. When you’re close to one of your favorite stores or just arriving at the mall, Shopular shows you all of the deals available right then and there. You can even redeem deals straight from your phone. How convenient is that??? Go here to get it now. Once downloaded, click the “Black Friday” tab, to take a sneak peek at all the available ads for the upcoming holiday shopping
The Coupon Crazy Mommy, Natalie Reid, began couponing as a young girl (back before it was “cool” to be frugal). Decades later, she’s still passionate about sharing deals and gets weak in the knees when she stumbles upon an awesome find.
She’s been speaking to groups and teaching couponing classes around the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex for over 10 years and is a regular contributor on WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas. In September 2012, she launched CouponCrazyMommy.com and took her numerous years of bargain-hunting experience online, with the desire to help more families save money and reach their financial goals.
Natalie is a former on-air radio personality, marketing director and event planner. But now, with three young boys at home, the biggest events she plans are stress-free grocery trips and fabulous birthday parties.