The Thriftista Guide to Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2013
Love it or hate it it, Black Friday is much-anticipated by retailers and deal mavens alike. Here, a guide to the madness and avoiding the worst of it and making out with some great finds.
What is the deal with Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
Some basics for newbies:
First off, get the daily newspaper on Thanksgiving, or review deal sites. Go early for the paper since many other folks have the exact same idea. Some of my favorite online resources are BFads.net and BlackFriday.info, which continually update 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 browse — know what you want and get moving. You’ll also be far less prone to crowd overwhelm if you’re prepared. Look at my app recommendations below to keep up on coupons and coupon codes, like from RetailMeNot.com on Cyber Monday (or more likely, all week long).
Plan a good route & prep: 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 still quite good at this!
Thrifty blogger tips
Stephanie Callahan Harriel of Coupons With Cents says, “Look to see if the same deals are online to avoid the crowds! Last year I got a great deal on a 46″ TV at target.com. It was $40 less than in stores!”
And Susan Braun of Girls in White Dresses blog said, “Some of my favorite Black Friday deals are at the drugstores — in my case, CVS and Walgreens. They usually start these on Thanksgiving, and for best success in getting all the freebies before they run out, I’ve made it an annual tradition to head there on Thanksgiving morning, before dinner preparations start. Fun idea!”
Thoughts From Her recommends to “prioritize and have a plan, otherwise you’ll run yourself ragged.”
“Have a plan of action, but don’t stress if you have to adapt,” says The Homemade Creative. “Always remember that no deal is worth anyone’s life or health. I know for me it’s the tradition I enjoy, more than the sales. Though the sales are the reason I can buy gifts this year.”
Apps will keep you saving while mobile
There have been a lot of apps over the past few years making the deals easier to find, especially once you’re out and about. They’re practically indispensible if you are serious about finding the best price on the products you want.
RetailMeNot — Loved the site already, but the app helps you both online and in stores. Must-have! (iPad/Android/iOS)
Flipp — Clip deals from the weekly ads and search ads. Useful even for grocery shopping. (iOS)
TGI Black Friday — Personal shopping lists you can share, price comparisons, push notification for new ads, it’s quite comprehensive. (iPhone/iPad/Android)
Black Friday Fat Wallet — I love fatwallet.com for their forums, but their app is pretty comprehensive. (iPhone/iPad)
Black Friday App — From dealnews, this app allows price comparisons. Updates too, so you can get the latest deals. (iOS/iPad/Android)
TGI Cyber Monday — Check out the deals online before you commit to that in-store deal. You may make out better! (iOS/iPad/Android)
Deals, deals, and deals
I’m putting any deal recommendations on Twitter and would love to hear your finds! Happy shopping!