A College Girl's Guide to Black Friday Shopping

After stuffing our de-stressed bodies with delicious turkey, most holiday shoppers go to bed early in preparation for their own “Super Bowl Sunday showdown,” Black Friday. It’s the beginning of the craziest retail weekend to kick off the holidays. Black Friday is crowded, stressful and fulfilling all at the same time. But at the end of the day, we all have the same goal: to get some good deals. So, to keep the holiday cheer, I’ve created a list of some helpful tips to keep you on top of your A-game and to help save some extra cash. 

1. Be Prepared with a List

A few days before Black Friday, I sit down and make a list of all the people I would like to get something special for the holidays. Of course, I include my family and close friends, but I try to cap the list off at (or under) 20. I group some of the people on my list like my roommates and friends together. That way, I’m saving money and minimizing the stress of buying things for each individual person.

2. Create a Budget

The next and most important thing I do is set a realistic budget for myself. I look at how much I want to spend per person and add it up. If the cost is too high, I’ll put that gift, or the person, on the back burner until I’ve found a budget I’m comfortable with. If it’s for a mutual friend, I suggest purchasing gifts with your significant other (or whoever) and splitting the cost in half so you both can save money. I know it’s not ideal, but we’re not made of money!

3. Prioritize

Once I’ve made a list and set a budget, I brainstorm what items I’m planning on getting for the people on my list. Before the holidays, I keep a running notes page on my phone with random possible gift ideas that pop up in the moment. Then, I write down the stores I’ll go to on Black Friday. I try to go to stores that are in the same mall or general area to minimize traffic and parking stress. If I can find most of the gifts I’m looking for in one place, that’s a win in my book!

4. Look Online First

The last thing I do before going to the mall is check online stores for special Black Friday savings or coupons, or even a lower overall price. My go-to website is (unsurprisingly) Amazon for a lot of things like books, mugs/travelers and even electronics. Even if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, Amazon is a great place to find new ideas and even a backup gift plan just in case you don’t find what you need in the store.

5. Bring a Friend (and some snacks)!

The last thing you need to have a successful Black Friday is some company! Whether it’s your mom, sister, best friend or S.O, bring them along with you to the stores so you can get a second opinion, bounce ideas off from each other and spend some quality time together. Shopping with someone makes the day a lot more fun and way less stressful. I even bring a breakfast bar and a bottle of water in my purse for when I get thirsty or hungry before eating lunch. 

So, if you’re the type of shopper to go out Thursday night, or even sleep in on Black Friday, keep a few of these tips in mind to help you score some awesome deals. And don’t forget to enjoy the holidays, my fellow shopaholics!

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