Organizing your Black Friday shopping trip to save time and money

Woman with Shopping Bags on Escalator --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThe most chaotic shopping day of the year is coming to stores near you.  Yes. I’m referring to Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, and also the day after Thanksgiving.  According to a new survey by The Nielsen Company, “… nearly one in five Americans will shop the Friday after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday) and more than half (61 percent) plan to spend $100 – $500.”

If you have no desire to fight the Black Friday crowds, or to shop at all for that matter, you may be interested in a movement called Buy Nothing Day, which falls on the same day. However, if you love the excitement of Black Friday and do plan to join the shopping crowds this year, here are 10 tips to have an organized and successful day:

1.   Plan your holiday budget. Create a holiday shopping budget for the day to avoid overspending and getting sidetracked.
2.  Watch the Deals. Check the local Black Friday sales flyers in print or online, so that you can be prepared to take advantage of the best deals. See links to major retailers’ advertised sales below.  Remember Cyber Monday too for online deals.
3.  Don’t forget your shopping list. You should have a list of the names of the people you wish to buy gifts for, including a list of the gifts and/or gift ideas. If you intend to purchase one of the Black Friday “limited supply” doorbuster specials, include a back-up plan, in case the special sells out before arrive.
4.  Schedule and plan your day. Decide what time of day you will be doing most of your Black Friday shopping. Will you be heading for the doorbuster deals, or leaving the house when the chaos has ended? Plan accordingly.
5.  Plan your shopping route. Include all of the stores and their locations, so that you can maximize your shopping time. Parking is probably going to be a nightmare, so if you know exactly where you’ll be heading and when, it will make your life a lot easier.
6.  Dress for comfort. Wear comfortable clothing (nothing too tight) and comfortable shoes. You can still look cute and be comfortable too.
7.   Eat before you leave and expect food lines to be long. This may seem a bit unusual, but if you want to avoid waiting in the lines at the eatery, consider bringing a boxed lunch. We did this a few years ago on a Black Friday shopping trip, and the only thing we had to worry about was finding somewhere to sit down.
8.   Leave small children at home. Unless you don’t plan to be out for long time, avoid bringing small children, unless they can sit in a kid stroller. It might be too much for them to be out walking for hours on end.
9.   Be patient. If you’re not a patient person, shopping on Black Friday might not be for you. There’s a gazillion people and long lines in most stores, especially in the stores that sell electronics.
10.  Stay alert. Be mindful of your belongings and purchases as you go through the day. It may make sense to take a trip to the car to unload a few bags, so that you can enjoy your Black Friday shopping day, without worrying about putting a bag down and leaving it behind!

All in all, remind yourself not to purchase random items that will end up as clutter.  If it’s not on your gift list you don’t need to buy it.  It’s not a bargain if it’s never used or you can’t find it!

Photo credit:  © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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About Jacquie

Jacquie Ross is a professional organizer, a Certified Life and Family Coach and award winning owner of CastAway the Clutter! A busy person's expert, Jacquie works with professionals, seniors, empty nesters and families to develop strategies to reach their goals, identify any road blocks, and find more meaning in their lives. Learn more about Jacquie’s life coaching and parent/youth/family coaching here at the CastAway the Clutter Blog, and for organizing services, visit CastAway the Clutter! Jacquie can also be found on Facebook
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