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How to Tackle ‘Black Friday’ Like a Pro

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

Picture this- it’s 7pm on Thanksgiving night and all you can hear is the cheering crowds coming from the NFL game on the TV, all you can feel is a “food coma” coming on, and all you can think about is your early wake up call for tomorrow morning… Black Friday! If you’re someone who likes to plan ahead, you probably take advantage of those Black Friday deals each year in preparation for Christmas gift giving. Whether you’re treating yourself, a family member, a friend, an S.O or maybe even a co-worker, everyone deserves to know these tips on how to get through the chaos of the biggest day in retail!

Consider shopping online

It’s no secret that in-person shopping on Black Friday provides quite the adrenaline rush. Arriving to your local mall at the crack of dawn, running through the crowds of mayhem just as the doors open, and rushing to your favorite store to beat the lines. However, with all of that havoc comes a lot of stress, which no one wants during the holiday season. In order to avoid the chaos this year, consider taking advantage of the wonderful world of online shopping and celebrate Black Friday from the comfort of your own home! It seems that many people believe that the amazing Black Friday deals are only available in person, but over the years that has certainly been proved false. Companies like Target, Amazon, Macy’s and more are already advertising their deals. Plus, many online stores come through with *extra* perks on this popular day, such as free shipping.

Create a budget & Know your limits

The deals of Black Friday create a lot of excitement, especially for those of us who love to shop and spoil our loved ones during the holiday season! However, with that excitement comes along the risk of getting way ahead of ourselves and spending much more money than we should. Though we may not even realize it in the moment, it is definitely possible to go a little (or even a lot) overboard. With that being said, it’s important to set a “magic number,” in order to budget yourself. Having a digit in mind can also save a lot of time while choosing what to purchase, and knowing not to go near the items that are way out of your price range. This number should of course be realistic depending on how much money you can and want to spend.

Have a game plan

This tip is mostly specific to those who are planning to do their Black Friday shopping in-person this year, especially at a mall or large shopping complex. As we know, the crowds on this day are insanely mobbed. Each year, there are typically over 50 million in-person shoppers throughout the world. Just think about how crowded your local mall is on a typical Friday in any other month of the year. And then take into account the incredible deals that Black Friday has to offer…you can probably expect quite the crowd, right? Therefore, it’s important to have a bit of a “game plan” in mind and figure which stores you’ll be stopping at and when. This can help avoid long lines at the register and crowded spaces in the store that prevent you from being able to look at the items. It might also be helpful to have a list of what you plan to buy, just to save some time in each store. Hey, it may even be a good idea to map out the shopping center that you’ll be at, so you can be prepared on how to get from point A to point B in the midst of the craziness!

Take advantage of the early (and late) sales

Did you know that Black Friday isn’t just one day? Yes, you read that right. Becoming more popular in recent years, stores actually start dropping their prices a couple of days before Black Friday. If you look on their website, or even stop by in person, there’s a very good chance that at least a portion of their items will already be on sale. This is another way in which you could avoid the crowds on Friday, if you get a head start earlier in the week. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that you’re traveling, working or occupied with something else on Friday which is why many stores hold their “Cyber Monday” sales as well. However, there is emphasis on the word “cyber,” meaning that these deals are online only.

Pay attention to the tags

This one may sound a bit strange, but trust me, it’s an important one. When doing your shopping, it’s important to look out for ‘final sale’ items. This means that while yes, they have a great deal attached to it, once you buy it it’s yours. Final sale items cannot be returned or exchanged! When shopping for yourself it may be okay, but buying gifts for others is where it gets tricky. It is recommended that you don’t gift somebody an item that you got from the final sale rack, because there’s always the chance that it’s a clothing item that won’t fit them, a duplicate of something they already have, etc. Avoiding these items is also a which in which you could lessen your chance losing money.

TReat yourself!

Congratulations! You just tackled the chaos of Black Friday shopping. Now, along with that came a lot of stress, so you deserve a little something for yourself too. Maybe take a break from your in-person shopping day and buy yourself a coffee or a sweet treat. Or pick up some self-care items for yourself while doing your gift shopping. It’s important to treat ourselves, too, every once in a while, and remember that holiday shopping requires a lot of work, thought, and effort!

JMU Class of 2027 Communication Studies BA Major