Black Friday Shopper Survival Guide

After eating all the stuffing and cranberry sauce you can handle, it is time to start thinking about the next big day: Black Friday.

Black Friday can be damn terrifying and even dangerous. Most people forget their holiday spirit when they hit the stores before the sun rises. You do not have to be one of those people. Here are some ways to make your Black Friday a little less stressful and a little more cheery while still getting everything you need.

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Plan Ahead

Stake Out Your Stores.

If you want Black Friday shopping to be quick and easy, make sure to plan what stores you’ll go to and when. That way, you won’t end up wandering the streets or driving from one side of town to the other and back again because you forgot to go to Target.

Make a List.

It’s like grocery shopping–if you don’t make a list, you will end up buying a pile of things you don’t need. Return policies are usually pretty strict for Black Friday purchases, so the less you have to return, the better.

Set a Budget.

Black Friday is a feeding frenzy, which makes it easy to overspend. To avoid this, set a budget, and then take that list you made and write down what each gift is estimated to cost. Plan to not buy anything that isn’t on your list.

Leave Some Room for Last Minute Purchases.

If you’re not sure what you’ll stuff the stockings with, set aside some money for those last-minute purchases of trinkets and socks and candy you’ll put in the stockings. This will allow you to make that spontaneous purchase at the register without going over your budget.

Reap the (Credit Card) Rewards.

While using cash or a debit card is almost always preferable (we don’t want no debt here) using a credit card may be your best option on Black Friday, especially if your card has great rewards or cash back. Just make sure to pay it off once you get home. Paying hundreds of dollars in interest would be the worst way to spend your holidays.

Be Prepared to Get Your Steps In

If there is one thing that is worse than the crowds inside the store, it’s parking. My suggestion? Don’t even worry about finding a parking spot near the door. Instead, wear comfortable shoes and save time by parking in the first open spot you see. After Thanksgiving, we can all use the extra exercise anyway.

Be Conspicuous

Black Friday is a popular day for pickpockets. If you’re carrying around a Tiffany’s bag, you’re walking around with a target on your forehead.

To make yourself look less like a target, bring some plain paper bags with you. Sure, you won’t leave the store feeling quite as bougie, but at least you’ll get to keep your purchase instead of having it snatched.

Bring a Buddy (but Not Your Kids)

There is safety and accountability in numbers, unless it’s your kids. While you might be level-headed enough to avoid trampling people, others may not. Kids are particularly vulnerable to getting hurt by crowds.

Instead, bring a girlfriend along. You can look after each other and help each other stick to your budgets (and maybe take an afternoon cocktail break, too).

Shop Small and Local

Department and electronic stores may have some massive sales going on, but don’t forget about your favorite shops and boutiques. Local shops may not be able to give you 50% off, but they will likely be less busy.

Not only will shopping small offer a calmer Black Friday experience, but local shops also tend to have more unique items. Why give your girlfriend those earrings from Target when you could get her unique ones that no one else has? Shopping small is a great way to find creative gifts while also helping out your local small business owners.

Check Yourself – Have Fun With It

Whether you wake up at 4 a.m. for the early bird sales or you slowly come out of your Thanksgiving food coma and hit the shops at noon, at the end of the day, Black Friday is just another shopping day.

The holiday spirit is about being joyful and kind and showing your loved ones how much you care about them. So keep it classy, and do not be one of those people ripping things from other people’s hands. If you don’t get one of the items on your list, remember that Black Friday sales aren’t always what they seem. You’re likely to find just as good of a deal on Cyber Monday.


Once your Black Friday shopping is done and you’ve soaked your aching feet, it’s time to start prepping for Christmas. Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or just decorating your home, I can help.