The Thriftista Guide to Black Friday & Cyber Monday
You may be sleeping off a turkey coma or just afraid to venture out into Black Friday sales. These day-after-Thanksgiving deals are often quite good, and worth the trek in these recessionary times. Since I’ve been going to these for ages, I’ve put together a quick guide and I’ll do a post-BF update. Please do share your deals!
What’s the deal? Black Friday is usually your best bet if you’re looking for electronics and bigger-ticket items at steep discounts; other stores like Menard’s or Old Navy will offer smaller items. Usually these are door-buster items that start at 5, 4, or even 3am and last a short while, or until they run out. You have to decide if that 12 megapixel camera for $79 is worth it. In today’s economy, the answer just might be “yes.”
On the other side, Cyber Monday was christened such because so many workers returning to their jobs spend much of that Monday after T-day calling up deals and placing orders online. Sorry, employers. I’m sure they’re shopping for your gifts. This is where online deals and offer codes are key, and we’ll get into that below.
So, how to attack a Black Friday?
First off, get the daily newspaper on Thanksgiving. You may have to go early [before noon] since many other folks have the exact same idea. This has all of the deals for your local chains and is your best resource, outside of bloggers who are listing deals. If you want to plan ahead, some of my favorite resources are BFads.net and BlackFriday.info, which continually updates with ad sneak previews.
Next, get organized. What stores have the best deals you’re looking for? Form a plan of attack, because Black Friday is serious business to many folks — some of whom have the manners of a herd of buffalo. This isn’t the time to just browse — you should know what you want and get moving. You’ll also be far less prone to crowd overwhelm if you’re prepared.
Plan a good route: Stores near one another, possibly far from very urban areas [if that means not shopping in Lincoln Park, you’ll be much happier and saner driving out to a small suburb or less dense neighborhood]. Take care to keep your purchases in the trunk or covered and out of sight, as thieves love this time of year: Easy pickings as they can see just where you bought something, neatly packaged! Be sure to bring granola bars, water, and whatever else will keep you going. You might be finished by 10am, but you’ll be worn out! Keep the kids at home if possible, unless they’re good at navigating crowds and can sneak under others to get to the deals. Don’t laugh — I’m actually still quite good at this! 🙂
You’ll also want to consider smaller stores, even boutiques that are offering BF buys.
Ok, finally, some deals [links go to company homepages so check the BF ads above for specifics before Thursday’s paper]:
Kohl’s has many doorbuster specials, so it might be your first stop if apparel or housewares are a priority.
Target’s kitchenwares and DVD sets are quite inexpensive, so it’s another early stop.
Macy’s has 50% off Marc & 9 West boots, plus plenty of other clothing deals.
PetSmart has many 50% off deals for toys.
Old Navy, predictably, has plenty of slashed prices. And they open at 3am! Perhaps you don’t need to go to sleep…
Menard’s has a lot of housewares on sale, a Sansui 22″ TV for $99 and many stocking stuffers.
Best Buy is featuring a ton of DVD, camera, cell phone and netbook deals. There are very small limits on many of these items, so I suggest an early start if your heart is set on electronics.
Some tips from the Chicago Tribune to keep your credit card info safe.
I strongly suggest using coupon codes to bring your prices down considerably! My favorite is RetailMeNot, as is Coupon Chief.
Amazon has deals all week long — pair this with Retail Me Not coupon codes, and you’ll knock out much of your shopping.
6pm.com always has great deals on shoes and accessories, and you can get more off now.
New York & Co. is 50% off online; deals in-store aren’t too great.
11/30: More online deals, updating throughout the day!
80% off restaurant.com gift certificates: code is SAVE.
Costco Cyber Monday
Erin Gallagher Jewelry 40% off today plus free shipping: code THANKS09.
Ann Taylor 40% off with code MONDAY.
Barnes & Noble deals: 50% off blockbusters and 50-60% off DVDs. If you’ve a B&N membership card, you can take off an additional 15% off with code P7H8D9N.
Victoria’s Secret: 3 sweaters, plus scarf for $30! These are your codes: 3FOR30, SCARF09, VSSAVE20.
Build-A-Bear [I won’t tell if they’re just for you!] $5 for choice of 5 animals
More deals via A Full Cup
Photo above used under Creative Commons license from LindaMartini.