Preparing for the Biggest Shopping Days of the Year
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It's a great opportunity to consider your blessings and be grateful for the things that matter most. A nice meal and a good rest will also give you the energy you need to make it through the next 24 harried hours known to all of us as Black Friday.
Besides food and rest, here are a few more pointers to help make bargain shopping easier:
Check the ads and make a detailed list of the items you would like and which stores might be carrying them at the best discount. Be sure to get the address and phone number of each location.
Organize your trip so you aren't traveling back and forth. Start with the store farthest away and work your way closer to home as you shop. However, if there is one particular item that you really want, and you aren't sure it will last, you had better start with that item and work your way down your list from there.
If a store posts a store map online, print it off so you can find what you're looking for as quickly as possible.
Speaking of speed, it helps to shop with friends so one person can hold your place in line while you zip through the store and grab any items from the list that you can.
Carry your cell phones. It's the best way to keep in touch with your shopping partners. If their line is moving more quickly than expected, they can encourage you to pick up the pace a bit, and you can also confirm that the items you're purchasing from their list are really what they wanted.
If you can't handle the thought of stopping to eat, pack a lunch. You'll need nourishment to keep going.
With all the bumping and prodding that goes on during Black Friday shopping, you're likely to bump into a pickpocket. Make it hard for them to steal from you. Wear comfortable, warm clothing and carry a small wallet or purse close to your body.
If you're serious about finding the perfect gift and wrestling through thick crowds of people, it's a good idea to leave the kids at home. They'll enjoy a good restful sleep and hardly notice that you were gone. You'll be able to move faster and you won't have to worry about tired, cranky children. (Tired, cranky adults are bad enough.)
Keep all of your receipts in an envelope and double check them when you get home to be sure you were charged appropriately and that you stayed within your budget.
Speaking of budget, avoid impulse items. Try to stay as close to your actual shopping list as possible.
Finally, keep your perspective. Nothing on your list is worth fighting over. The things on your list are just that-things. It's the person on the gift label that matters. Don't go into debt, even for something that is on an amazing sale. And remember that yesterday you were doing pretty well without any of the stuff you're trying to cram into the trunk of your car today. Someday most, if not all, of this stuff will end up outdated and collecting dust in some recycle bin.
Anyway, good luck, and happy shopping.