How To: Black Friday 101

Black Friday

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

by Katrina Avila

With turkey in your stomach and an overload of tryptophan in your veins, Black Friday shopping might seem a nearly impossible feat on Thursday night. But, while you are stuck in your food coma, there are shoppers gearing up to camp outside of their favorite stores, armed to the teeth with lists, coupons, and credit cards.

While it might seem impossible to fight through your food-induced stupor and actually get dressed to sit outside the store for hours to rush to that iPad Air, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are some tips and tricks to survive the pandemonium:

Before the turkey hits the table on Thanksgiving, do some research. Make a list of everything you’re trying to score, this way you stick to your budget and avoid impulse shopping.

After you make your list, figure out which stores you plan to visit. Look online to see when they open and create a schedule complete with opening times and the times you plan on lining up. For example, Best Buy opens at 3:00 a.m., so you’ll probably want to be on line at midnight.Many stores exclusively offer deals with the use of coupons. Be sure to clip them out Extreme Couponing style to make sure you have everything you need. Some stores even allow coupons to be used via your smart phone. Keep them all in the same place on your phone for easy access at the register—you definitely don’t want an angry mob yelling at you because you’re taking too long to find the right coupon.

Dress in layers. It may be frigid outside, but the temperature will certainly rise once you are inside the store. Layers provide the warmth outside and the ability to cool down inside. Also, wear a comfortable pair of shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking (and maybe even some running) while you’re on your way to that big ticket item.

Pack a bag of food and drinks. You’re going to need to nourish yourself to keep your energy levels up. No one wants to feel faint or dizzy in the middle of Black Friday shopping. Granola bars and water are a great option, both quick and portable.

Lastly, bring a shopping partner to help. They might get a bit annoying (“Are we done yet?”), but they will definitely come in handy when Mother Nature interrupts your hour-long wait in line.

If the mayhem of Black Friday shopping isn’t very appealing, Cyber Monday might be the perfect shopping experience for you. Remember that food coma? That’s the perfect time to plan out your Cyber Monday. All you have to do is sit on the couch with your laptop or tablet and move one measly little finger to browse the deals. Then, when you come out of your tryptophan stupor, you can eat some more (and sleep in the next day).