Black Friday: How to Shop a Sale

Thanksgiving is almost here, which to those of us in the US means Black Friday—a sale that happens the morning after Thanksgiving, when stores offer some of the greatest discounts of the year.

If you are planning to take advantage of Black Friday (or any other big sale), here are a few helpful tips.

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know what you need ahead of time. If possible, browse store websites and catalogs before going to the store. Usually, huge sales like Black Friday are best for big purchases, like expensive electronic equipment, as opposed to everyday items like clothes.
  • Stay focused. Buy what you really need first and foremost. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t get sidetracked.
  • Stick to your budget and don’t overbuy. Remember, there will be other sales during the year.
  • Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Sure, an item may be cheap, but is it really worth it? You’re much better off paying more for something that’s perfect, than paying little for something that’s just OK; you’ll never wear or use it anyway.
  • Consider shopping online. Personally, I can’t stand crowds, so I never shop in stores on Black Friday. Instead, I have my list of needed things, and I monitor store websites for sales. I get to shop from the comfort of my home. Also, if you keep an eye on store websites, you’ll be surprised just how many great sales happen during the year. Macy’s has sales pretty much every week; more upscale stores like Bloomingdales have them at least once a month. Often the discounts are almost the same as Black Friday or other holiday sales, but because you don’t have the pressure to “buy, buy, buy”, you don’t overspend on things that you don’t really need, and avoid stress and hassle. So instead of focusing too much on holiday sales, consider joining special rewards and points programs offered by stores (different from signing up for a line of credit). Often the discounts you get in store, combined with exclusive membership offers, will end up in a very substantial overall discount.

If you decide to brave the shopping crowds, remember to dress comfortably; bring a snack and a bottle of water to keep normal blood sugar and hydration levels; and carry disinfectant wipes (you never know) and Band-aids (shoes can play up when you’re on your feet too long). And if you miss out on a particular sale, don’t worry: sales happen all the time, and your health and sanity are a lot more important than saving a few bucks.

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