Shopping Smarter on Black Friday

As the Black Friday sales begin, I thought I would lay out how I approach them. It may not be for everybody, but it works well for me.

Rule 1. Make a list

If you follow only one rule, let it be this one. Make a list.

Planning is absolutely crucial. It’s best if you know exactly what you want, but at the very least you should have some idea of the things you need. Ideally a you should start this list a month or two in advance. This list you create

You can keep this list in Google Docs, Evernote or just an email draft—that’s what I do. This year my list looks something like this:

As you can see for items where quantity, size or other elements are important, I make sure that they go in the description.

I’ve mostly figured out exactly what I want, but have a bit more work to do. I’m looking for some prep dishes for my kitchen along with a bowl or two. However, I still need to figure out exactly what Whiskey glasses I want (recommendations appreciated!).

Rule 2. Replace the basics

It may not be something you are particularly looking for, but Black Friday is a great time to replace socks underwear, buy new laundry detergent and new razors. You don’t nessesarilly have to add it to your list, but here are some basics I’m looking for.

Basics are not always going to go on sale, but it’s worth waiting a week or so to see if you can get a deal.

Rule 3. Compare prices—not everything is a good deal

Just because something is 50% off that doesn’t mean that you should make a purchase. Part of the reason I mentioned that you should start making a list a month or two in advance is so that you can have an idea of what things cost normally.

It isn’t uncommon for companies to raise prices a bit a week or two before a sale—this is especially common in the fashion industry where clothes artificially get a price bump to make the discounts seem larger.

Another great tool is CamelCamelCamel, which can give you a price history virtually anything you can find on Amazon. Perhaps that Vacuum that you’re looking for often goes below the Black Friday price? I’d say keep it in your list and wait a bit longer.

Rule 4. Stay at home

Shopping in-store is a fools errand. Parking, standing in line and fighting other shoppers for doorbuster deals is not what you want to be doing. Few stores will have in-store only discounts, ll are available in limited quantity and none are worth the hassle.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have become one and the same. Most deals begin the Monday before Thanksgiving and will stretch through Cyber Monday. It is a cyber week of discounts.

My advice: Stay at home, watch some football and relax.

Staying at home is absolutely the right move. There’s no good reason to wait out in the cold for stores to open. I’ll take any opportunity I can to avoid the Chaos of Black Friday.

Bumping this topic as Black Friday sales for 2020 start.