Black Friday Shopping Tips

Black Friday Shopping Tips Black Friday Shopping Tips Thrifty Thinking

Black Friday has been a fun time in the past.  I had somewhat enjoyed the atmosphere of all of the shoppers out and about (except the part about getting up at 4:50 am to be at Walmart around 5:00 am, oh, and the long lines, and the overflowing parking lots…).  Well, maybe it’s not all that great.  Anyway, I have never been one to get up earlier than 4:50 am to go shopping on Black Friday.  I have my limits.  A deal at 3 am isn’t worth breaking up precious sleep.   

Well, Black Friday was commercial five, ten years ago, but it’s so much more commercialized now.  It’s very sad that Black Friday is bleeding into Thanksgiving Day.  Starting the shopping excursion at midnight and now 10 pm or 8 pm on Thanksgiving?  That just doesn’t make it Black Friday anymore!  What are they going to start doing next?  Opening on Thanksgiving morning just so people can get deals? (I know Kmart has been open for years on Thanksgiving.  I even worked one Thanksgiving in college at Kmart.) A head start on Christmas shopping?  Thanksgiving is not about the deals!  Make sure you stop and be with your friends and family, enjoy each other, enjoy the food, enjoy the fellowship, and be thankful.

With that said, here are 9 tips from my own personal experience for having a smoother shopping experience on Black Friday.

  1. Black Friday ads can be huge these days.  So take a permanent marker, circle the items of interest, and on the front page, write what the item is and page number if helpful.  A lot of times we just have one or two items of interest per store, so this makes finding the items clear and super easy in the ad.
  2. Make a plan of attack.  Decide where you should go first based on the item(s) you think may sell out the quickest and where you are in proximity to those stores.  I put my ads in the order of places I want to go.  It makes it easy.
  3. Go with a friend.  Divide and conquer.  One person can be parking and the other hunting for an item, or one person can be standing in line (depending how long the line is) while the other is hunting for an item, etc….
  4. Please don’t bring young kids.  Please let them sleep.  I always feel so sorry for those little ones!
  5. I learned this from a family member that previously worked at Walmart.  If you have a hot item that seems to sell out quickly like a toy, go to the front of the store where they have the go-back carts.  Often times people try to buy beyond their means, their credit cards get declined, the toy of interests end up in the go-back carts, and the employees can’t get the items back on the floor because they are busy checking.  About 7 years ago I had my eye on a Cabbage Patch Kid.  $10.  Walmart.  Back then, Walmart opened at 5 am, and we were there about 5:10 or so.  The Cabbage Patches were wiped out.  We went to the front of the store where the go-backs were and found one.  Success!
  6. If you can live without a cart, don’t get a cart.  It will slow you down!
  7. A lot of stores will price match, even on Black Friday.  Price match at the store that doesn’t have the item on sale (where they will have a lot more of the product), and avoid the letdown of not getting your item at the store with the sale.  I have brought a Target or Fred Meyer ad to Walmart and got the movie I wanted easily.
  8. Shop around, and know your prices long before Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) arrives.  Just because an item was in a Black Friday ad doesn’t mean that it’s a great deal.  In some cases I have found better deals between Black Friday and Christmas on certain items.  A few years ago we were shopping for a TV during the holidays and got the best deal right in the middle of December without clawing and grabby hands, either.
  9. My biggest and final tip is “don’t buy based on emotions.”  Don’t let the thrill of the hunt cause you to buy something you really don’t know what you’ll do with once the item is in your home.  (10.) And if you happen to go that far and buy it, don’t be afraid to return it, either.  I have had to let good deals go because I don’t know anyone it would be good for.  Just let it go.

I hope some of those tips help!

These days stores are emailing their Black Friday ads early.  Every Christmas season I am always looking for good deals on Pyrex, Crock-pots (for wedding gifts not for me:), socks and good movie titles.  We really don’t buy much in the the way of movies these days, but it seems like you can get some super deals during the holidays.

I have already received the Fred Meyer and Walmart ads, and Black Friday is two weeks from today.  I hold out buying socks most of the year to get them 1/2 priced at Fred Meyer every year, and this year is no different.  I need more black and brown socks, and lots of white socks for the kids in case you really care :).  I’ll try to get some tights, too.  I saw a 6 quart Crock-pot at Walmart for less than $10.  That would make a fabulous wedding gift!  So if they have them when I get there, great!  If not, I won’t fret.

Here’s a little blessed story from last year.  Since Target’s ads have typically run Friday and Saturday with no special times, I haven’t felt pressed to be there when they open, because I am not a fighter for a product.  It’s absolutely not worth it to me to stand in line, not to mention in the COLD, for hours and hours to TRY to get a product, just to walk away empty-handed.  No thanks.  Not for me.  Not worth it.  So last year I figured the $19 scooter I wanted to get my child at Target was going to be gone right away, so I didn’t even check it out on Black Friday.  We went to Target the next day for something else, but I looked in the sports section, just in case a scooter happened to be there.  I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find they still had a few scooters in stock.  God’s grace I say.

Will you brave the morning and get out early on Black Friday or do you avoid the crowds?  Do you look for certain items every year?  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!



  1. carla says

    I use the big Recyle/reusable Costco bags to go into big stores such as Walmart and Target, they get bulky on my shoulders BUT I dont have to push a cart!

  2. linda says

    God’s grace I say. God’s grace is not in stuff. especially new commercial stuff in america. where is the frugality, creativity, thought, and love in store bought stuff made and shipped using fossil fuels? if gifts represent what we bring to jesus, we should provide needed things like food and coats for the poor. or maybe take in a foster child or two. just thinking of real human needs.

    • says

      Hi Linda.

      Sometimes the Lord does bless us with stuff. God does want to give good gifts to His people. He knows our hearts. Now with that said, I do agree that America is WAY too commercialized. I am realizing more and more that stuff is stressful (the kids hear me say this a lot these days). The more stuff we have, the more responsibilities we have to things. Yes, we have a stewardship to things, but there is balance, and sometimes it is WAY too much stuff we have, especially in America. My kids and myself actually mostly wear hand-me-downs, about 85-90% of our clothes. EVERY DAY I am looking for things around the house to recycle, give away, put in our garage sale pile and the like. I haven’t dedicated a certain day for that but choose to do a little every day.

      I am all about frugality and creativity and love. I didn’t mention the Christmas gifts we are giving this year. When we shop Black Friday it is mostly things I’ve been waiting all year to get like socks (last year I was holding out for a crock-pot), etc….not Christmas gifts. And I won’t be getting out earlier than 5 am-not worth it. Our gifts this year are mostly homemade like, homemade seasonings, homemade pumpkin butter, scarves, and head warmers (I’ll be sharing about them later). Last year I gave out homemade granola. We spent less than $5 on each of our children this year and don’t plan to buy anymore. When I give gifts, I want to give consumable like food or a coloring book, useful or very thoughtful gifts-something that isn’t going to just sit on a shelf.

      I like your idea about bringing gifts to Jesus and others. Our local body of believers has a heart for orphans, and I’ve never heard of this before we did it, but our body put on a foster shower where people donated money to a family to get their house ready and needs met. Such a neat idea and very well received! We were able to bless a family to get ready to take in foster kids. So even if we aren’t taking someone in, we can definitely help! We need to think outside ourselves, definitely!

      God bless!

    • says

      Ha! Well, now that a lot of stores are opened at night and all through the night, it makes going out Friday morning way less crazy!

  3. CTY says

    Just a thought for people who are going to multiple places & buying lots of stuff. I bring my dog along for security. She is a German Shepherd mix, sweet as pie, but has that great “I’m going to rip your heart out, if you touch my car, German shepherd bark”. If someone is looking to break into a car–it won’t be mine. She gets a fresh air break & a treat between stores. Also, a tag team is the best. We (me, DH, DS1, DS2 & future DIL) invaded stores one year, oh the lists were long & prices astounding! Each person had their assignments. The list was super long because that year we were setting up our DS1 & DS 2 college apt. –kitchens, bed & bath they needed everything. It was future DIL’s first Black Friday–we still talk about it every Thanksgiving. Back in the day (1980’s)– I shopped exclusively with cash. Back then they had “cash only” lines that were short because everyone was charging. Never had more than one person in front of me. Better yet, no bill due right before Christmas. Sadly they don’t do that anymore; but as far as I know stores do still accept cash. Thanks for the stroll by memory lane.

    • says

      Hi CTY. Good idea to bring a dog! Wish they still had cash lines, as that’s my preference! Have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend!

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