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Thanksgiving is only a few days away, so you know what that means? Black Friday is almost here. For weeks now, stores have teased us with the prospects of their coveted Black Friday deals. Though we all know these “deals” aren’t what they used to be, we still can’t keep ourselves from searching the ads for that elusive sale that will save us tons of money. You would think that as the chaos continues to grow, people would back off a little bit and at least attempt to avoid the massive crowds. But no. There is just something about Black Friday that brings the masses out in droves. The crazy shoppers willing to claw their way through walls of people to save that extra 10% (here in Los Angeles, enough to barely cover the sales tax).

The family and I had to make a quick trip to Best Buy yesterday. They were having a sale on vacuum cleaners and we desperately needed a new one. If you can believe it, we’ve been in our new house for a month now and had yet to vacuum. Sad, I know.

Anyway…as we pulled into the parking lot we noticed the store already had barriers up for Black Friday. What was more surprising is the tent that was propped up outside the door. It’s been pretty chilly and windy here in Southern California, so I have to say that this tent had a primo spot. Right behind a post that protected it from both wind and rain. So, if you’re going to spend a week outside of Best Buy, might as well have the best spot right?

tent

I do have to admit that I am one of those people that heads out to the shops at midnight on Black Friday. Though, I have learned a few tricks over the years to avoid the crazies and I feel it’s only fair to share with you my top 3 tips for shopping on Black Friday.

1. Plan Ahead

I always know what I’m going to buy and which stores I need to visit before hand. I will even check in with stores like Gymboree to find out what their sales for Midnight Madness and Black Friday will be. Most stores these days also post their Black Friday ads online, so you don’t have to wait for the ads to come out in Wednesday’s paper. Also, make sure that if your favorite store is requiring a coupon that you have it cut out or printed and ready to go in your wallet. It would really suck to get up to the counter only to realize you needed a coupon.

2. Midnight Madness

Midnight Madness can be worth it. Most store tier their sales with the best savings at midnight. It can go something like 50% off from 12-4 am, 30% off from 4-8 am, and then 20% the rest of the day. Check out your favorite stores ads to see what their tiers are. It may be worth it to be there at 2 am.

For example, my first hit is always Gymboree. Their Black Friday sale usually consists of most items marked down anywhere between 20-50% (i.e. pjs for $8.99 normally $15.99), but the Midnight Madness sale adds on an additional 25% off! Plus, if you visit a retail store and have a coupon for another 20% off the savings are ridiculous!

3. Morning Sales

Black Friday shopping does take dedication and stamina. I usually head out at midnight, come home around 2 am, sleep until 6:45 am and then head back out around 7 am. That’s because I know the next tier of sales are in effect. It’s the morning sales where I’m willing to hit stores like Target, Macy’s, and even Best Buy (quick note: if you have a Belk in your area, they always have the best sales out of the department stores. I’m really going to miss Belk this year). By 7 am I’m confident that the majority of the madness has dissipated and I won’t be dealing with the crazies. It’s a calmer experience. Then, I’ll grab the husband and kids and go out one more time. That is usually when we hit up Best Buy so the hubby can see if there is anything he wants or “needs.”

For a shopper like myself, I look forward to Black Friday every year. I usually am able to get all of my shopping done with an enormous savings (and living in Southern California now, that savings is going to make a huge difference in our budget this year).

Do you go shopping on Black Friday? What is your experience like?

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