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Woman holding shopping bags and a man’s hand as they shop together on Black Friday.

12 Tips to Survive Black Friday Shopping

Crowds and long lines are enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Survive Black Friday shopping with these twelve tips.

The pumpkin pie hasn’t even had time to settle and you’re already heading out for Black Friday deals. Does this sound familiar?

One of the most notorious deal days, Black Friday shopping can be a stressful experience. Long lines, pushy crowds, and urgent deals are enough to ruin your Thanksgiving holiday. (Especially if the deals actually start on Thanksgiving.)

Here are twelve tips to help you survive Black Friday shopping:

1. Write Santa’s List

This is Santa’s list, but it’s also your sanity list. Research deals and make a list of the items you want to purchase organized in order of the store locations and times. You could even go one step further and organize the items by the store layouts so you can quickly locate them. The more efficiently you can plan out your shopping trip, the better you’ll feel afterward.

2. Set a Budget

Stores try to get you with all the excitement and their deals. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up buying way more than you need. Creating a list helps with this, but so does setting a budget. If you walk into Black Friday knowing how much extra you can spend outside of Santa’s list, you’ll have a better chance of sticking to it.

3. Shop Online

Black Friday isn’t what it was fifteen years ago. Many Black Friday deals are now available online and for more than just the day after Thanksgiving, allowing you to avoid crowds and enjoy your holiday. However, there are still some pitfalls to online shopping. First, you don’t get to see the product. Second, you have to deal with shipping times and the return policies vary. And third, sometimes the prices are higher, a charge for your convenience. Be sure to do your research and compare prices from different online retailers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

4. Are You the Early Bird or Night Owl?

Everyone knows that Black Friday is a madhouse. Decide whether you prefer to shop early in the morning when stores open or later in the evening when crowds may have subsided. Depending on the presents you’re buying, you might not have a choice. If you’re worried about something being sold out, you’ll have to decide between the present and crowds (and your sleep).

5. Bring a Shopping Buddy

Santa has elves, so why don’t you have a shopping buddy? Having a friend or family member with you can make the experience more enjoyable and can be helpful for navigating crowds. Besides, spending time with friends or family is a gift in and of itself.

6. Dress Comfortably

Depending on how extensive your list is, you might be out all day. And even if you’re not, you’ll be pushing through crowds and standing in long lines. So wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and consider dressing in layers. Stores can be warm due to the large number of people, and if it’s cold outside, you’ll want to be able to add or remove layers as needed.

7. Use Apps and Websites

If you didn’t have time to plan or you didn’t plan as extensively as you thought, use shopping apps and websites. You can track deals, compare prices, and even find item locations or store layouts. But be warned, some stores have terrible cell phone service, and with large crowds? Your phone might freeze. Try searching online before you actually set foot in the store.

8. Be Mindful of Your Safety

Anything can happen in a large crowd, and your safety is a priority. Be sure to keep your belongings secure and be cautious of your surroundings. You can always report any suspicious behavior to store staff or security. And of course, your safety doesn’t end there. Watch out for scams and keep your information protected online.

9. Try Price Matching

Some retailers offer price matching, even on Black Friday. If you’re looking for the best deal, don’t be afraid to ask. Who knows? You might walk away with huge savings, which is a great way to make Black Friday a good day.

10. Stay Hydrated and Energized

Sure, it’s Black Friday; the deals don’t wait for anyone. But what’s the point if you’re stressed and anxious the whole time? Studies have shown that not enough sleep and not enough food or water can lead to stress and anxiety. Which is not good in an already stressful situation. So be sure to bring water and snacks on your shopping trip to stay hydrated and maintain energy levels. And take breaks to rest and recharge if needed. Taking care of yourself is the best way to make sure you survive Black Friday shopping and even enjoy it.

11. Know the Return Policy

Holiday shopping usually gets a larger return window, but some stores offer better or worse policies. Be sure to check the return policies of the stores you’re shopping at, especially if you’re unsure of the gift. Otherwise, you might end up with a surprise stocking stuffer.

12. Patience Is Key

It’s going to be a long day whether you’re going to one store or five. Just remember that and try not to let the crowds and stress get to you. A little patience and a positive attitude will get you through the long lines and surly crowds. Plus, the store staff and your fellow shoppers will appreciate it.

It’s Not the Price Tag

The best way to take the pressure off of Black Friday shopping is to remember why you’re buying gifts. The reason will differ by tradition and belief, but the principle is the same: an expensive gift might seem worthless when compared to a handmade gift that took thought and time. (There’s a reason people say “it’s the thought that counts.”)

So what if someone took the last Turbo Man? This is just an opportunity to keep looking for the right gift and to think outside the box. You don’t have to limit your shopping to only Black Friday.

Deals are great, but the only way to survive Black Friday shopping is to realize that it’s just another shopping day. There will be ideas and savings all season long.

Need gift ideas? Check out these books.

The cover of the picture book Christmas Fairies for Ouma.

Christmas Fairies for Ouma

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Lit for Little Hands

A Christmas Carol

The cover of the unfoldable train board book Christmas Train.

Christmas Train

Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.

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