Well, it’s Black Friday in the States today, which means…bargains, bargains everywhere! Right? Almost. Just because certain stores advertise great deals, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be getting most bang for your buck! Most stores offer a few “doorbusters” in their ads to attract shoppers into their stores, but quantities are usually limited and sometimes are plain laughable (2 per store). So what’s the best way to ensure you’re getting the best deal? Being prepared! Here’s a list of things I’ve learned over the years of being a professional shopper. Ok, not a professional one per se, but if there was ever Shopping Olympics, I’d be one of the amateurs with at least a Silver medal for my skills.
1. Make a list of things you need to buy, then research median prices for those items on the good ol’ Internet. Of course you’re bound to find something off your list, but having a list will help keep you focused and ready to pounce on real deals, not faux ones. Don’t get duped by bright SALE signs, a lot of times you can get the same deals on regular days, and thus are not that great of a deal (which you will know after a little online digging).
2. Make a list of stores you will want to visit. Check out the map of the mall/shopping complex you’re planning on visiting. Having a set plan of attack will make shopping less chaotic, so you can get in, buy your stuff, and get out in no time. Unless you’re planning on visiting every single store!
3. Wear clothes that are easy to take off/put back on. If you’re shopping for yourself that is. Winter shopping is usually more problematic than summer shopping, even if you disregard the Christmas crowds. Why? Layers, upon layers of clothes! My shopping uniform usually consists of leggings, and a cami underneath a long sweater, t-shirt or dress, plus no-fuss boots. Easy off, easy on – reduces fitting room time, and not only makes shopping faster for you, makes life for those folks in line easier too. They might not thank you, but Santa would know how good your were!
4. Bring on the coupons! So before you head out on your mission, make sure that you do a little Red Flags deals prodding! Given the state of the economy, more stores than ever are issuing coupons for all kinds of things. And while in-store deals might be amazing. What stops those deals from becoming unbe-freaking-lievable is an additional discount from that coupon you forgot to print out! To make sure you’re taking advantage of every single opportunity out there, do a quick search on your favorite stores, and print out any valid coupons to bring with you. And if anyone gives you a side-eye for your preparedness, laugh in their face, because you’re getting a deal and they are a snotty bitch!
A few other tips: bring water and snacks – noone wants to stop for Food Court meals, while there’s still so many stores left to rummage; bring re-usable bags to put your purchases in (saves you 5 cents, and is good for the environment); bring your iPod to block out the scary war-cries of crazed grandmas with blood-lusting glint in their eyes, as well as to avoid listening to Jingle Bells for a billionth time this week – “Highway to Hell” is a perfectly acceptable replacement. And most importantly, be careful, because no deal is worth Black Friday becoming Black Eye Friday!
Check out www.niagarablog.com for this weekend’s deals at Walden Galleria and Fashion Outlets of Niagara.