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After eating your weight in turkey, you have enough tryptophan in your system to dull your reflexes, but you need to wake up. Though Thanksgiving is a tradition built around overindulging at the dinner table before passing out in front of the football game, it’s just an appetizer for the weekend’s true main course: Black Friday shopping. If you expect to keep up with the crowds, you need to shake off your tryptophan ennui and get ready to compete in a battle royale with your fellow shoppers. Here are five simple tips to help sway the odds in your favor.
Have a budget
It’s easy to lose your critical thinking skills in the frenzy of Black Friday crowds. Mob or herd mentality can cause you to unknowingly adopt reactive behavior that matches that of the people around you. Even if you’re strong-willed, it can be hard to keep cool after the tenth time you’ve been hip-checked out of the way by a fellow shopper.
Your cool demeanor isn’t the only thing at risk in the chaos. So is your budget. Other shoppers, strategic signage, and clever salespeople can persuade you to spend far more than you can afford. If you plan on surviving the weekend with your finances intact, you need to make sure you know the hard limits of your spending.
Make a list
Next to your budget, a list of the things you need is the most important addition to your Black Friday experience. It reinforces the limits you’ve set with your budget and acts as a guiding hand leading you towards the Nintendo Switch that’s meant for your nephew and away from the Alexa that would look good in your living room. In other words, it can stop you from going off script and buying fun things that eat into your holiday budget.
It doesn’t have to be anything special. A piece of scrap paper pulled from a notebook will work, but if you like to keep this high-tech, check out these shopping apps to organize your list.
Know where to look
A list helps you focus on items you need to buy for the holidays and ignore anything that could distract you from your goal. You’re already ahead of the game by shopping with one, but you can elevate your Black Friday strategy by arriving at the mall with a game plan. While nearly every store will have some kind of offer during the Thanksgiving weekend, they won’t share the same discounts. Each retailer will set slightly different prices on their stock.
You need to prepare in advance so you know what store is offering the lowest price on the item you want. A little Google sleuthing will help you find the best promotions. There are also apps that can help you locate the lowest prices in your area.
Put your name in Thanksgiving prizes and lotteries
Retailers are ramping up their game. Not content to just offer slashed prices, some stores supplement their sales with special contests and giveaways. While some will involve underwhelming gift bags and other things you don’t want, others will take these promotions seriously. You can find a considerable price if you know where to look.
Last year, if you were shopping for an iPhone skin from dbrand, you would have had the chance to enter a Black Friday giveaway that involved Apple’s latest flagship. Ten lucky winners of this Black Friday contest received brand new iPhone Xs as long as they spent enough money on iPhone skins to qualify. At the time, the phone was barely one month old, so this prize was a significant haul.
It might take you some time to find an equivalent promotion this year, but it could be worth all the trouble if you win.
Prioritize time versus price
Whether by your own research or through the help of an app, you might find deals all over the place. You’d have to zig-zag across the city to take advantage of them — and hope that your time spent traveling doesn’t hurt your chances of grabbing limited supplies.
If the thought of driving around to multiple stores leaves you feeling a little green, consider focusing on stores that offer pretty good store-wide deals rather than different discounts on specific items. You should also consider embracing Cyber Monday as a part of your game plan. While some retailers will have special door crashers for their IRL shoppers, others will have exclusive deals on their online inventory. Shopping online during the Thanksgiving weekend is a lot easier than its in-person alternative. You don’t even need to change out of your pajamas to shop.
Shopping from the comfort of your burrito blanket sounds pretty good — especially if you have an expertly made stuffing and cranberry turkey sandwich at your right hand and a glass of cider to your left. These accessories are by no means necessary, but they’ll certainly make your job a lot easy — just like these five tips. Take on the advice that works, and you’ll have a better chance at making Black Friday work for your budget.