Woman holding shopping bags

As your neighborhood becomes awash in holiday lights and wreath storage bags make their way out of your attic, one thing is certain. Whether you feel good, bad, ugly, or indifferent about Black Friday, it will soon be upon us and with it comes the hustle and bustle of finding the best deal under the midnight sun. To survive Black Friday is to thrive on Black Friday and thriving on Black Friday is all about putting a precise plan of attack into action. So, before you bust down the doors of your brick and mortar, plot your family’s plan to seal the best deals on Black Friday.


Make Your List, Check it Twice

Break free of the mob mentality by going in with a clear head focused on what you’re looking for and how you’re planning on getting it. Research is your best friend on Black Friday. But before you start browsing the sale papers, make a list of items you want to score a big deal on come midnight Black Friday. Do you really need to make a mad dash for those furniture covers - or, are there more opportune dining table cover sets and patio chair covers on the ‘net? Ask yourself these questions as you put together your list of must-haves. That way, you can more easily navigate the barrage of sales papers. 


Be the Early Bird, Fashionably Late

Shoppers inside a mall

Everyone knows that Black Friday officially begins on Thursday. To get the best deal, you have to be in line by midnight. Some stores even begin the festivities earlier. Check online to see what time the location of the spree is opening its doors. If you have the time, you can even scout out the building early and identify the who, what, when, and where of what you want when the doors finally open.


Buddy, Buddy, Buddy. Who’s Got the Best Buddy?

Your choice of buddy on Black Friday can make or break your haul. Are you an admitted slowpoke? Are you a Speedy Gonzalez? These are the types of questions you need to ask ahead of time when figuring out who to bring along. There’s no worse pairing than a power shopper with a slow and steady buyer, especially in the chaos of Black Friday. 


Online Deals Make for In-Store Steals

When preparing to battle in the trenches on Black Friday, be ready to barter your way to the best deal possible. That sometimes includes getting a price match on an online sale in the store via your phone. Many online retailers offer an abundance of online deals for Black Friday, some otherwise unadvertised between the margins of the mailers. This awareness can give you a head start on navigating the uncertain waters of Cyber Monday.


Work Smarter, Not Harder

Hands working on smartphone

Your smartphone is a utilitarian must when it comes to getting the most out of Black Friday shopping. Many retailers have migrated to a model that combines the readily available accessibility of in-store shopping with the flexibility that comes with getting the deal all the same on your smartphone. Take advantage of these practices as you venture out to stores on Black Friday.


Say “Buh-Bye” to Bad Bargains

There are always a few big-ticket items that are indeed too good to be true. In cases such as these, it’s important to stand tall and walk away with pride. But how does one make the call to leave a deal on the table? Think of your Black Friday haul as a negotiation. Don’t settle for anything less than what is advertised. Price matching is a tried-and-true method most retailers don’t want you to know about. If the mack-daddy propane grill is listed as 40% off somewhere, then the mack-daddy propane grill is 40% off everywhere – just don’t forget a protective grill cover to go along with it.


On the Grind and Off the Grid

If you live in the heart of a metropolitan area where crowds are especially prone to swarming, this year may give you a better reason than any to consider a field trip to your nearest suburb. Black Friday may be inherently chaotic, but location can make a difference in closing one of your many must-have deals or wishing you had.


Return on Investment

Getting a return on your investment is a key point to consider when out and about on Black Friday. Return policies seem to tighten their loopholes every year and can be even worse on Black Friday. Some retailers may only have a short window for which you can return an item. And even worse? They may charge you a fee for restocking. Read the fine print when shopping on Black Friday. It could make all the difference in returning, or exchanging, those must-have furniture covers or dining table cover set for ones in the correct sizes.


Choose Plastic Over Paper

Payment being processed through card machine

Breaking out your credit cards can be tempting, especially on Black Friday. And in this case? That urge to choose plastic over paper might end up being the right decision on your behalf.  Credit cards often offer cashback on big buys. You can even make money while shopping. What’s better than that? You do, however, have to remember to pay your bill on time - if not early.


Play a Winning Hunger Game

There’s always time for a coffee break at your favorite mom and pop diner on Small Business Saturday. Take nutrition and hydration into account ahead of time by preparing a cooler of beverages and a satchel of healthy snacks. This will help you burn the midnight oil of Black Friday without killing time on extracurricular food breaks.