Black Friday: How to get a black belt in shopping

If you’re a budget shopper like I am, then you know when to look for the deals and steals. Black Friday is probably the most popular shopping day of the year followed by Cyber Monday. As a marketing major this was a heavily discussed topic in a majority of my classes. From advertising & drawing the customer in to the different demographic breakdown. I could go on forever but that isn’t why you are reading this post. Here are some of my tips and tricks for Black Friday Shopping.


1. Prepare

I don’t know how else to stress this enough but being prepared is definitely your #1 to do. This isn’t just shopping for the hell of it. This is serious. This sale could make or break your day. And I am getting way too serious about this way too quickly. What I’m trying to say is making a list of the things that you need & want is the best way to start. For me I try to think of the items I have been putting off purchasing for whatever reason it may be. So this year I am looking for sweaters, jeans, shoes and a DSLR Camera. Those are the items that I NEED.

Quick marketing geek moment here – the difference between a want and a need. You NEED water to live, but you WANT the expensive water… fashionable reference: you NEED new jeans because everything you own doesn’t fit but you WANT the designer jeans that are beyond out of your price range. See the difference? Ok moving on…

Be like Santa and make a list of the items that you are looking for, it makes it easier when searching for a Black Friday deal. This also includes items for your family and friends!! Cannot forget your loved ones, fortunately most of my list (minus the children) revolves around similar items that I am looking for.

Another suggestion is looking at your favorite brand or department stores website for gifts. They usually have a gift giving section where everything is pre-picked for you and by category. There is an option for clothing, accessories, technology and a budget. Often when I am unsure of what to get someone I look at the “hottest and latest” items online. You’d be surprised how many ideas you can find from these. Check out BloomingdalesNordstromsMacysSephora (check out my Sephora’s VIB Sale post for ideas!) , ASOS even has a gift guide! Don’t shy away from the bigger departments, you never know what deals and awesome (affordable) gifts you can find.

2. Search

Once your list is completed it is time to look at the deals. I know this can be overwhelming for some because the flyers and emails and ads are IN YOUR FACE. Ah, marketing at its finest. Here is a tip, look at your favorite stores! It is so much easier to know where to look when you already know the stores that you shop in. For me personally I will be looking in: Express, ASOS, Dynamite Clothing (duh), Macys, DSW, and Amazon.

You can check out this website: The Black Friday for a list of deals on multiple websites. Express shows all of their Black Friday deals along with their current deals, they are always having some type of sale which I am eternally grateful for. Dynamite usually doesn’t announce their Black Friday Deals until the day before, I discovered this last year. However, you can always get 15% off of your purchases year round.

Ok so Amazon is not a store but DO NOT over look this website. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of items that I have purchased from here. Recently they have been promoting their Amazon Fashion Line… this is designer clothing ladies! Not a knock off. THE REAL DEAL!

3. Compare

Currently, I have Best Buy and Amazon up head to head for my DSLR Camera.. I will tell you that I am going with Cannon. From my research and questions written to other bloggers I have learned that Cannon is very reputable and purchasing a 50mm lense is a necessity. Once I look at my final decision I will compare the prices and see which has the better deal. Even better about this decision? I can do this from my own home, in my bed or my couch looking like a complete bum. SELF FIVE!

Express tends to have really nice sweaters and great deals. Last year I got a really nice sweater for myself and for my mom.. I regretted not purchasing more of them. So this year I have made my list and I am checking it 100 times. SO MANY OPTIONS!

Often I find myself on my laptop with 100 tabs open from different websites and I make my wish lists on them or add them to the cart if I have no wish list option. What I do next is I compare my lists to other sites I am on, sometimes you tend to gravitate towards a similar item and you get more than one. It is ok but if you trying to stay on budget there is no need to have the same shirt in the same color. For example, this fall season I have been loving the army green tones and I already have 2 sweaters in this color. Actually 3 if you want to count my jewel toned color sweater (jump back to Sweater Weather) . So there is no need for me to get ANOTHER green sweater.

4. Final Decisions

Now that you’ve acted like Santa, made your list, checked it twice, made sure you were not naughty but nice. It is time for your final decisions. You know what you need and from what stores.

If you follow me on twitter you will know that I have been struggling on whether or not I want to go to the stores to shop or would I rather sit at home post turkey day meals comfortably and shop online. Most stores have the same sales online as they do in stores. In the past I have experienced both chaos shopping and quiet Black Friday shopping. My first Black Friday shopping experience seemed to be complete and utter madness, those videos and pictures of people on top of each other fighting to get into the stores are no lies. The stress and anxiety had set in. I was sweating, the shoe department became so small that I had to get out. I had been in Macys looking for boots and it became so overwhelming that I ended up buying a pair that I hated, so unfortunate. My other mistake was that I had no game plan or list of what to get so I was very scattered while shopping on a budget. If I had planned out where to go then I might not have missed a better sale instead of settling for what I had seen in front of me because I just wanted to leave.

The following year I decided to go alone and completely prepared. I had scoped out what I needed online and where to get it. It was war, with a full belly of turkey and a quick nap prior I was ready for the crows.. I had mapped out exactly where to go from start to finish, nothing in between. Once I got there, it was quiet. Tumble weeds of mall garbage just floating by.. what was this?! 10:30PM on Thanksgiving the year prior was maddening! Immediately I took advantage and slowed my pace. I got everything that I had needed and left without any stress or anxiety. When I returned home my mom LOVED one of the sweaters I had gotten, but I refused to go back to the mall to get her just one. So we sat online together and she picked out a few things she liked and I got the same deal online!

Certain items I can’t just order online.. like jeans and shoes. I need to try them on. Ladies this is a serious golden rule: ALWAYS TRY THE ITEM ON FIRST! I cannot tell you how many times I have purchased something without trying it on and I couldn’t return it or exchange it. So I may have to force myself to venture to the stores to try these items on and get the really awesome deals. If you have the time to head to the stores PRIOR to Black Friday then  I suggest this plan: try on all of the items you are looking for and write the style number and size down so you can purchase the items online, do find out of the items are in store only just in case.

5. Happy Shopping!

Among all of the chaos and swiping of cards, do enjoy yourselves! There isn’t anything more satisfying than scoring a major deal or finding your loved ones the perfect gift. Growing up I was taught that it isn’t the size or the amount of money that you spend on someone but the thought behind it, a small little gift can make someone’s day.



xx Sarah


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