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Black Friday Shopping Tips

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I can’t believe Black Friday is in 16 days!! If you are planning to brave the stores, here are some tips to get you thinking about your strategy and that will increase your chances of survival. ;) Also, stay tuned as I will be posting Black Friday deals as they become available!

My Top 12 Black Friday Shopping Tips

(1) Be prepared. Before you head out to the store, research the Black Friday ads (which I will be posting as the become available) and outline exactly what you would like to purchase. And to be extra prepared, you can even research the layout of your store, so you’ll know exactly where to head to grab the items on your list.

(2) Be ready to stand in line for quite a long time. Wear comfy shoes and appropriate outerwear and consider leaving the kiddos at home (if this is not possible, bring toys or other items to keep them entertained while shopping).

(3) Know your store’s hours (some stores are opening on Thanksgiving night while others are waiting until the wee hours of Friday morning). Again, I will be posting store-specific information in the coming days.

(4) Familiarize yourself with each store’s price matching and/or coupon policy. Keep in mind that many stores have created special price matching policies specific for Black Friday.

(5) Make a list! This will keep you focused and will definitely help to prevent you from being tempted to purchase additional items that are not on the list.

(6) Remember to ask yourself whether the great deal you see is actually a great deal for you. Check out this post for more on this topic. You may also want to research online prices versus in-store prices, as you can often snag better deals online even when you factor in shipping costs. Plus, think about the time and gas saved when shopping online! Love that!

(7) Keep those receipts! After the adrenaline rush is over, you may realize that you got caught up in the Black Friday craziness and purchased items that you really do not want. As long as you have the receipt, you should be able to return them and get a full refund.

(8) Go with your mom, sister, or a friend. Plan ahead and plan to split up so you can snag items for each other. It’s the only way I’ve figured out to help you be in two places at once! If you don’t want to go to separate stores, you can each start out on separate ends of the same store and meet in the middle after you’ve snatched up as many of the things on your (and each other’s) lists as you could along the way.

(9) Gas up the night before so you don’t waste precious sleep OR shopping time at the pump.  Also, map out your route based on store opening times to minimize backtracking and missing out on doorbuster items you’re planning to purchase.

(10) Don’t give up! If the item you are looking for is not on the shelf or display, check the front of the store where other shoppers may have left items they weren’t sure about before checking out. Or, check with your cashier to see if someone happened to change their mind at the register and leave the item you were looking for there.

(11) Be friendly.  You will be amazed at how people will help each other, even in the craziness, if they are approached with kindness.

(12 ) And my favorite tip of all… skip Black Friday and wait for Cyber Monday instead! There is nothing better than snagging *HOT* deals from the comfort of your own home in your favorite PJ’s! :D


Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn


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Comments 72

  1. Allie

    Does anyone know what the best Black Friday apps available for an android?
    Thanks!

  2. Steph

    I prefer Cyber Monday. But last year I thought it would be better to wait on a portable hard drive till Monday and there were actually better deals on Black Friday. I was so bummed that I made the wrong choice.

    • VB

      So maybe if you can financially swing it is to buy your items on black Friday and if a better deal pops up on cyber Monday then purchase online and return the store bought item later. But I would wait to return the store bought item until the online item arrives. Remember all of those hot online deals ppl thought they got only to get emails that there was not enough stock to fullfill all the orders.

  3. Steph

    Amen to #12. Nothing better than shopping over the computer and having it delivered to your door (most of the time for free)!!

    • Natalie

      I agree!

  4. ginger

    does babies’r’us do a black friday ad? or just toys’r’us? i have looked at other black friday sites & none have mentioned anything……. pregnant with my first right now- are their deals usually good enough to stand in line for???

    • Taera

      Usually there is a 1-2 page Babies R Us ad in the Toys R Us ad. They have had a smart saver high chair, Bjorn carriers, and Babies R Us brand diapers on sale in years past. Congrats on your baby!

    • Amy

      If I’m not mistaken, I think Toys R Us came out with just their ad but included baby items on it. I didn’t think their Black Friday was worth being pregnant standing in lines for. Target had a better ad and I could get stuff online with free shipping.

    • Ashley

      Babies r us is DEAD on black friday. I went last year, and not very many people in my area were there. Def. make the trip!

    • Laura

      Babies R Us usually has a $10 box of diapers (Babies R Us brand) that I compare the sale price of diaps throughout the year to. Only the best sale prices on diapers are cheaper than the Babies R Us box and I know to buy then. The size 4 box last year was 82 diapers. Oh, they also have a box of wipes on sale but I can often get them cheaper than that but I’ve always had a very large stockpile so and typically only looking for very cheap wipes. I think it’s a pretty good deal though.

      My Babies R Us is also a Toys R Us and I got there shortly before they were open and had to wait outside for a while to get it. They limited the number inside so once inside it would go faster and easier. Once it, it was pretty smooth sailing, I knew where everything I wanted was. I spent more time outside than shopping. I probably waited like 30 minutes. I live in the twin cities and the people in front of me came from Canada to shop!

      • Laura

        Oh, and last year when I went later in the day, they diapers were almost all out. I don’t remember exactly when I went out, but I don’t think it was that late (probably around noon).

    • mom

      I usually get $10 a case diapers and $5 a case wipes on black friday from toys r us 🙂

    • Adrimom

      When I was pregnant with my first I went on BF and got a great price on a glider. There were only 4 of us in line!!

    • brieanna

      most likely babies r us will open at 5am on friday. i worked there last year and we had a lot of the same hot toys that toys r us did and there was only like 30 people in line when we got there. dont fight the lines and people at toys r us go to babies r us. but call first make sure they are going to have the item that you want.

    • Laura

      No, they really don’t have deals like the other stores do. I’m due with my first in January and still have a lot to buy (didn’t get anything but clothes at my shower). People love to buy baby girl clothes 😉

  5. Ketsy

    VOTE YES ON #12 😀 Let me just add how much I dreaded my trip to Barnes and Noble today. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of books and they were unorganized within their organization. Needless to say, I walked out, came home and clicked and shipped the book I was looking for.

    • Emilytwinmom

      And most times the books are cheaper on the B&N website than in store! I am all for supporting my local bookstore but I can usually find my teen’s books around 40% off online compared to walking in… crazy!

      • jsnine

        try half price bookstore too!!

      • Andrea H

        I find the best deals for books, cd’s and dvd’s on eBay! You can almost always find it brand new, with free shipping and no sales tax!

  6. Kristina

    #13: Check online “Black Friday” websites that really specialize on this one day. I religiously follow gottadeal.com, for example. I have learned that some stores have their Black Friday specials online on Thanksgiving Day, for example (like Toys R Us). Walmart.com posts many of their Black Friday specials at 2AM Central Friday morning. I have gotten most of their “big ticket” Black Friday items in my pj’s!

    • Lisa W

      Yes! I was able to snag a GPS at the Black Friday price for the boyfriend from Best Buy at Midnight Friday morning online!

  7. Barb

    Seriously a lot of the same deals in store are available online Thanksgiving night and early friday morning but usually things go fast and sometimes you have to pay shipping but I think it’s totally worth it to miss the crowds.

    • Amy

      Especially with Walmart and their .97 shipping!!

    • Erin

      Sometimes they are even better online! Happened a couple times last year.

  8. Tanisha

    Last year I found most of the Toys R Us deals were also available online. It was just a matter of being there when they went live, so while DH was out in the cold waiting in lines, I was snug at home getting most of the deals online. Yeah, I owed him big for that lol 🙂

  9. Sue

    My Target stores are opening at 10pm on
    Thanksgiving

  10. Rissa

    Bring your own bags!!! You can’t always get a cart! Or get through aisles with a cart!

    • Sue

      Good suggestion, one year at Menards I
      Thought my arms would break off carrying stuff

  11. elina

    What’s the best time to buy aplasma32 I have tv but seeing black n white very old not alot of money

    • Lauren

      I got one at Walmart for $188 last year on Black Friday.

    • Ketsy

      Target usually has great deals. If you do the 5% off by linking the red card to your debit/bank plus sometimes they have a gift card back with a purchase of certain amount. We got the kids a 32 for like 160 plus tax after both discounts 😀

    • Dom

      kmart has a 32 inch tv for 100 bucks on thanksgiving day this year

  12. Michele F.

    It’s Cyber Monday for me!

  13. Stacy

    Be careful when ordering online on black friday. I ordered several things last year from walmart.com and a few days later I got an email saying they were out of stock and cancelled my order. I guess with so many people ordering online the computer system couldn’t keep up. Also happened with Old Navy.com where things were being removed from my shopping cart as I was still shopping online.

    • Brandy

      I got most of my items and didn’t have any issues. I was so excited, it could be because I was up at 2am doing my shopping:)

    • Lolita

      Oh yeah, now that you mentioned that, it happened to me as well (with other stores).

    • ANONYMOUS

      yep this happens to me all the time and i hate having false hopes. i’m not old, no kids so i still enjoy lining up for the black friday store deals. maybe when i get older or when i have kids i won’t (or can’t) do it anymore, but while i can, i will and i do enjoy it.

  14. Lauren

    I’ll probably be shopping on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday 😉

    • Allie

      Me too!! I have gotten great deals on both days!

  15. Emilytwinmom

    For the first time EVER I am done with my shopping for the holidays already! I don’t know how it happened, but man am I happy about it!! No black Friday for me!!!! I’m usually the sap at home cyber Monday fighting to get what I want while the sites all crash 🙂

  16. Pamela

    Sometimes those sales are just as good or better BEFORE Black Friday—- I know people who go just for the “fun” of it but I think there are many other times you can save just as much without the crowds!

  17. Brandy

    I’ll be doing my shopping from home:) I’ve found out that you can get the exact same deals as in the ads online (as long as you’re up really early). I may make a trip to menards but we’ll see:)

  18. vero

    as someone who’s worked in retail for over 10 years, unless you are trying to take advantage of an early bird deal or buy electronics, it’s really not worth it. Most stores set up for black Friday on Wednesday, so that black Friday sale is the same sale going on that Wednesday. also, around back to school most stores start bringing in winter clothes and those items are going into clearance right about now to make room for black Friday items. One more tip, BOGO sales are usually not that great of a deal unless you are buying higher priced items. Ex: a BOGO sale on $20 shirt would cost you $30, but most shirts will go on sale or promotion for $10. So think twice when it comes to BOGO and really ask yourself if you need the second item or not as well.

    • Erin

      Yeah, I just don’t get it. I walked into Kohls last year, saw the line wrapped the entire way around the store and walked out. There is *nothing* at Kohls that is that good of a deal!

      • Victoria

        I used to work at Kohls and their deals AFTER black Friday were much, much better. And I agree, nothing there is worth those lines. Oh and one last thing! Be careful, my mother picked up a razor for my father a few years back from there, and their sale price was actually more expensive than the retail price (she called the company with a question and found out through them.)

  19. Siobhan

    Babies R Us is always dead, and usually has the same toys for the under 6 year olds as Toys R Us.

    I bought my $1200 42inch Samsung TV for under $500 last year on Walmart.com the week of Thanksgiving, they run their sales early on the website.

    I never go into a store with a plan, that just always makes people angry and when something doesn’t work out for them. I just go in, take a quick look around to see if there is anything I think is a good deal and then I buy it. Having someone who doesnt want to shop but who is willing to wait in line is a great tip too.

  20. katie

    Toys R Us usually has the same deals a few weeks before and after on their Black Friday deals. Esp. on Crayola products. Their diapers and wipes deals are usually awesome though. And they have good gift card deals on ipods and electronics that day as well. But for toys, usually not worth it.

  21. Amber R.

    I love black friday! I live in a small town so the crowds really arent too bad, plus I like to get a lot of the small items which aren’t usually available to buy online. BTW quite a few of the black friday ads have already been leaked, you can check them out at bfads.com

  22. Cizzle

    I did Kohls last year (was third in line lol) and stuck to my list based only on the doorbusters I actually need…and I was so quick that I didn’t even have to wait in the crazy line. Def have a plan! BF is not the time to “peruse” – get in and get out! 🙂

    • Laura

      How many hours before the opening of the store were you there? I’m going to Kohl’s this year (wasn’t brave enough last year lol) and I want to make sure I’m at the head of the line.

  23. john

    Most of the black friday ads are already out.

  24. john

    Elina, Kmart will have a 32 inch tv for $99 during the black friday sale.

  25. Kristen

    I went to cvs at 5am on black Friday and it’s a 24 hour store that was having the three day black Friday sale and I was the only person in the store!!! Loved it!

    • mom

      I bought so many thing there last year for my daughter…great nail polish and perfume deals for the tween age!

    • Mika

      I didn’t know that CVS had BF deals.

  26. Deb

    I always go with my 2 sisters ever since I was 7! We bring LOTS of coffee, walkie talkies, reading material (for all the waiting), snacks, gloves (for outside lines eek!), and our running shoes! We map out the stores then we each hit a corner w/our walkie talkies! Usually we come out with everything we wanted and all our limbs! It’s the BEST DAY OF THE ENTIRE YEAR!!! 🙂

  27. Angela D.

    Didn’t read all the comments, but in case it wasn’t mentioned..last year Walmart price matched other stores ads (they had it posted on their website so I printed the policy “just in case” lol)..we only had to go to ONE store to get all the stuff we wanted from the Target, Kmart, Best Buy and Toys R Us ads! Best of all, since most were NOT in Walmarts ad we could add them to our cart early before we had to get in line for the Walmart deals so we didn’t miss out on anything! REALLY hoping they do the same this year!

    • Bridget-pricematcherz.com

      We do the exact same thing with price matching at Walmart it really simplifies Black Friday. I do scout out my Walmart to make sure that the exact same item is carried at Walmart as in the ad a few days ahead of time.

    • Amber Boner

      Does that mean that in order to price match an item – it doesn’t have to be in the actual Wal-Mart ad – just in the ad of the other store and you get it for that price?

  28. marie

    I have my husband wait in the checkout line (with a cart if we can find one)while I run through the store grabbing the items we had on out list. When I cant carry anything else I take everything to him and head back for more. It is such a time saver. (Especially at Toys R Us and Kohls where you cant move with a cart)

    • Cindy

      My sister and I do the same thing. One of us will get in line while the other shops, then we switch places. We usually get done shopping just in time to pay.

  29. Jessie

    I get to Walmart early. I got there at 6pm last year. Filled my cart with the items that I would be price matching and then stood in line for the big item that I needed to purchase. By 10 pm I was ready to check out and saved a couple hundred dollars.

    I only do Black Friday at Walmart and price match their competitors.

  30. ANONYMOUS

    REally nice o do everything at Walmart and price match. I don’t know about other branches, but all the Walmart branches in my area a ghetto and full of trashy people so what should be a happy shopping turns out of be a nightmare. Haven’t shopped at Walmart for 4years straight and I’m not missing it

  31. Casey

    I love Black Friday. I am so excited already! I have most of my Christmas shopping done so I am going to buy stuff I want for myself. This is the time I like to pick up a nice purse, nice PJs or even pillows or bedding. I bought a lot on clearance this year for Toys For Tots, so that is even done. That is the great thing about Target’s clearance. You can buy really nice gifts for needy children for very little money. I feel so blessed to be able to buy or make nice gifts for my friends and family that I figure the least I can do is give back to someone that is having a rough time. Also keep in mind that area nursing homes always appreciate cozy socks with grippers, throws, shawls, and small fruit baskets (many love fresh fruit but do not get it) for their residents that do not have family. So if you see something a great price this year or even on clearance for next year consider donating to a nursing home. They are thrilled with even the littlest gifts.

  32. Laura

    Where would I find info on stores’ return/ price honor policies?

    • Laura

      Also, say there’s a certain item that’s going to be on sale at Kohl’s for a certain price with a $10 MIR advertised, but I find the item at another store for a cheaper price. Will Kohl’s match that OOP price and I’ll still receive the $10 MIR?

  33. cher

    All he Blackfriday talk and advertisements make me anxious. Yes, I would like good deals but do I need most of the stuff? No. Do I need the craziness? No. Yes, a pair of warm pajamas, a space heater, an emergency charger for cell phones would be nice but I haven’t even seen deals on this 🙂 Happy shopping everyone. I am not buying 🙂

  34. Sarah

    I really hate that Black Friday has started on Thanksgiving evening!! I like to spend the day with family and all those people who are working no longer get to do that. I do not think that there is anything more important than time with family, so I will do my shopping early Friday morning so as to be able to spend family time together. I think the corporations are getting greedy, starting it earlier and earlier. I may even boycot this year, not that it will be noticed.

    • Laura

      I agree 100% Sarah. My cousin works at Target so he’ll be there early on Thanksgiving.

    • Peggy

      Yea, I agree! My mom works at Target, so will have to leave on Thanksgiving early so she can get to work. Kind of puts a damper on our family day. :o(

  35. Stacey

    One tip I would add is to bring a BIG re-usable shopping bag to put items in in case carts are out, or if you want to go without a cart. It’s much easier to navigate crowds without the cart.

  36. madason

    i’m heading out to cvs this year cant wait

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