Come Sale Away

Your Black Friday Survival Guide

Traditionally, Black Friday is associated with alarm clocks set for 3:00 a.m., lines that wrap around the building and televisions worth trampling over. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simplify your day and still bag some bargains on the biggest shopping day of the year.

  • File store ads into a folder and bring them with you to every store. If a retailer offers price matching, you will have proof of the lower price and can avoid returning for a price adjustment or going to another store. Could save you a lot of unnecessary driving.
  • Create a schedule based on your shopping priorities, which should start with the most popular and heavily discounted items. Must-have toys and electronics will fly out the door, but chances are the slippers and DVDs will be on sale and on shelves for hours, days and even weeks to come.
  • Once you know where you’re going, make sure you “like” those retailers on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter. This way you’ll be the first to know about any last-minute sales or coupons. Once you get there, “check in” (on Facebook or foursquare) just in case there are any discounts exclusively for mobile shoppers.
  • iPhone users with iOS 6 can stock Passbook with retailer coupons. It will keep them all in one place on your mobile phone and when you show it at checkout, the saving will come off. Learn more about Passbook here.
  • Look for bundled items. For example, video game systems are discounted everywhere, but the best deals probably come bundled with games or a store gift card.
  • Toy prices may go down even more by the third week of December, but inventory will be picked over. If you are looking for specific items on your kids’ lists, you are better off purchasing them now while prices are still very good and you can have the peace of mind that it won’t sell out.
  • Take advantage of paperless receipts. You will accumulate so many receipts this season. An email backup will come in handy when you’re balancing the checkbook, calculating the holiday budget and making returns.
  • Since you’ll be racking up the receipts, why not rack up the rewards? If there is a survey at the bottom of your receipt, take it. Often you can get a percentage off your next purchase, which will help complete your holiday shopping.

One final tip: You don’t have to wait till Cyber Monday to shop from the comfort of your home. In fact, Black Friday sales are online now. It’s convenient, there’s more inventory, free shipping, online price matching, and you can search coupon codes to find all the discounts in one place.