1. Make a List: Make sure you have a detailed list of the holiday gifts you need to acquire and for whom. This is a great way to ensure you’re not buying more than you need. Make an additional list for those whom you would like to give to, but may not be able to afford it in your budget. Don’t forget your boss, teachers’ gifts, and of course your church/synagogue family.
2. Plan Your “Shopping Map”: Do you need a GPS for dad and a Harry Potter Lego play-set for your nephew? Make sure you’re getting door-busters first. Start with your high dollar items since they generally have less of those items in each store. Also, plan which stores are a must and which you would like to hit IF you have time or additional money in your budget.
3. Stick to Your Budget: Do not go over your overall budget or your budget for each specific person. Nothing is worse than going all out, only to get that credit card bill in January! Yikes..better yet, use cash whenever possible!!
4. Dress Appropriately: Make sure you bundle up if you live in areas where winter means dipping temperatures, cold winds and possibly snow. Bring your gloves, winter hats, and dress in layers so you can remove them once you get into a store. Comfortable shoes are a must! Also, do not forget to charge your cell phone!! Better safe than sorry.
5. BABYSITTER: WOW……..this is so important!! I’m guessing you have allocated a certain amount of time for your ‘Day After Shopping Experience’ and have adequate childcare. I’m usually done by 10a.m. and on my way home I pick up donuts for the kiddos.
6. Go to the Bathroom BEFORE You Leave the House: You do not want to leave your place in line for any reason!
7. Bring Snacks and a Bottle of Water: We all have plenty of energy at 6 a.m., but come 7ish you might need a pick me up. Bring some snacks in your purse so you can stay on task. Also, if you’re a coffee drinker, make a cup to go.
8. Save Your Receipts: You may need to return an item or add a gift receipt to your purchase. Also, some stores mark their prices even lower come Christmas Week and that receipt may put some money back in your pocket. Take an extra wallet or small purse just for your receipts. A coupon organizer with separate pockets also works really well to keep receipts in order. Check out every store’s return policy while you’re at it. Some gifts may be non-returnable, some stores may only give you store credit, and if something is broken or a package is not complete, you want to make sure you’re allowed to return it at the price you paid.
9: Bring a Friend. You can tag team shop and ensure you’re getting the gifts you really need. You can line up for double the door-busters or hit different stores with each others lists in hand. As the saying goes… “Misery Loves Company!” If you’re going to be up all night, you might as well be with a friend.
10: Remember What the Holidays Are About: Don’t get caught up in the marketing of the season. You don’t have to give everyone a store bought gift. Show your appreciation all year round to those you care about. You can make your own gifts. We all love something that comes from the heart.
No matter what your shopping style is, make sure you’re safe and have a great time. Sales come and go, but the holidays are meant to be special.
I originally wrote this piece for Galtime.com Nov. 2011
Read more: http://galtime.com/blog/money/43730/21639/top-10-tips-make-your-black-friday-success#ixzz2BCDHweFf