- Find out discounts in advance. So many stores release their sale information early so hop over to their website or just give the store a call and see if you can find out what the sales will be. I’ve found that most stores start their sales earlier in the week and that the prices aren’t always worth a trip out the day of. A lot of websites offer huge spreadsheets of all the sales available, but I’ve found just making a list of where I would like to shop and calling the stores directly to be less overwhelming. Also, be sure to ask for exclusions! They often won’t offer the info unless asked.
- Check when the actual sale starts. We all know that Black Friday isn’t really just on Friday anymore. So if you’re really hoping for something special, call the store to see when they are opening up the discounts. Some stores open up discounts in their brick and mortar locations before online and some offer discounts that are staggered throughout the day (or week). So just give them a quick call and they’ll be happy to tell you when/where discounts are up.
- Pre shop and make a list.
- If you’re shopping in store, make a list of things that you’re on the hunt for. If you’re really into planning, go online to the stores you want to visit and make a list of specific items you’re hoping to find. Doing it from your phone is great because you can screenshot the images and make a folder to flip through while shopping. This is really helpful if you can’t find something and need some customer service assistance. Having the item number right there will make it SO easy for them to check their stock. m
- If you’re shopping online, you can make use of the wishlist feature on most sites OR what I would do is add everything I want to my cart in advance. Most stores won’t do new product roll out the week of Black Friday so you’re almost guaranteed to see everything available in advance. Once the sales go live, all you have to do it go and hit refresh on your cart (or add the discount code released) and you’ll see the updated prices. This is especially helpful if you’re worried that things will sell out quickly. You’ll be one step ahead.
- Make a shopping route. If you’re going to be in-store, make a list of your stops and put them in order. I’ll usually put my #1 stop at the top and then figure out what stores are closest and fan my way out. You can do this if you’re shopping online too. If you’re worried a certain site will sell out of something faster than others, start emptying your cart there first!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for customer service. If you’re in-store and something is sold out, as an associate to help you either locate it at another store or to check online for you. Often they will be able to track it down for you and will offer free shipping if you make the order right then! If you’re looking to get the item that day, they can also call another store and put the item on hold for you.
- Shop now, decide later. This can be a dangerous one for those of us who struggle with self control. BUT, it can also be helpful in saving money in the long term. If I’m at a Black Friday sale and things are crazy and I can’t make up my mind in the chaos, I’ll just purchase everything on a credit card and then take it home to re-asses. I make much better decisions when I’m at home in the comfort and quiet. I can take my time trying on clothes and give really good thought to everything. Then I can decide what I will actually love to keep and wear and what are just excitement pieces (you know, the ones whose price tags get you more excited than they should). Returns are easy and quick during the holidays with extra sales staff working.
- Collaborate for additional discounts. Some stores offer additional discounts and free shipping if you reach a certain price point. If you’re spending the holiday with a friend or family member who will be shopping at the same places, see if they want to share an order with you to get you to the threshold! This is also great if the site you’re eyeing doesn’t offer free shipping. Put it all in one cart and split the shipping!
- Stay focused. It’s really easy to get caught up in the holiday hubbub or shopping. You’re out and on your second Peppermint Mocha and feeling the buzz! If you’ve made your way through your list and are still feeling like you want to be out in the festivities, consider something other than hitting more stores where you’ll likely be tempted to buy extra goods that weren’t on your list. Stop for lunch in the shopping plaza or just grab a special cocktail and appetizers. This can help you continue to be out and about in the holiday spirit but can also keep your wallet in check.
- Think outside the box. If you’re on the hunt for something and the brand isn’t offering very good discounts, check and see other stores that carry the product. Last year I wanted to get David a pair of boots, but the actual store wasn’t offering very deep discounts. I was able to find them at a department store and ended up saving about 50% off after all the discounts! This is something that can again be done in advance. Check online to see if the store carries it and if they don’t have a store locater option to see if they are stocking near you, give your store a call and see if they have the item!
- Be kind. In all your encounters, whether in person or over the phone, let’s remember to be kind to one another. Let’s remember that everything we’re buying is just stuff that has no true emotional weight to it. So if someone is running to get ahead of you, go ahead and let them. If someone behind you in the checkout is struggling to hold everything in their arms, offer to let them ahead of you in line. These days are crazy for people who work retail. So if your favorite shop is bustling, bring in a latte for the sales associate checking you out. Or bring in a gift card so that they can grab one on their break. If you have a great experience with customer service on the phone, ask to talk to the manager on staff and let the know that their employee was top notch. They often will receive some type of recognition or reward if you do ( a good idea all throughout the year ). Offer to help people if you see them struggling to get a large TV in their cart or are trying to wrestle bags and corral their kids into the car. Take the further parking space to make room for those who need to be closer to the door. Hold doors for each other, pay for the coffee for the person behind you in the drive thru. Remember that the people around us are valuable and deserve the love and respect we hope for as well. Give someone something to be grateful for during this week of Thanksgiving.
Until next time!