Every year when I was a child, my dad would go out and pick up the Thanksgiving paper before we were even up on Thanksgiving day. After a delicious turkey dinner, we would sit around with our bellies full and all of the sales ads stretched out before us. We would meticulously make a list of items we were hoping for and cross reference them with the route based on what sales we wanted most and what stores opened when. Black Friday shopping was not for the faint of heart back then, and we had to prepare. On Friday morning, my dad would wake all of my siblings and me up at the crack of dawn and we would head out with sleepy eyes to see what we could score. It was a magical day of asking for little sale items and hearing those sweet words, “Sure, honey.” We all relished this family tradition and looked forward to it year after year.
I have been Black Friday shopping every year for over 25 years. When people hear that, they often say things like, “Oh, I would never want to go out early, wait in line and be trampled just to get a cheap TV.” Well I totally agree. But, I am going to let you in on a little known secret. Now that stores open on Thanksgiving (shudder), Black Friday shopping is AMAZING! The stores are still deeply discounting their merchandise, but the crowds just aren’t there because everyone is out the night before.
Now I know what you are thinking… all of the good stuff is gone. Well, here is another secret. A lot of times people grab tons of stuff only to realize before checking out that they don’t actually want or can’t actually afford all of the things they have. The stores then pick up those items and put them in the returns section. I have walked into Target on many a Black Friday, walked right up to the return counter, and picked up my entire list of hot ticket items after people had dumped them around the store the night before.
That being said, if you are going for one of the computers/TVs/toy of the years from one of the biggest box stores (Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.), it probably won’t be there. But the chances of you getting it the night before are slim unless you are content to eat a turkey sandwich for Thanksgiving dinner while camping outside in the freezing cold from Tuesday until Thursday.
Here are some of my favorite places to go and things to pick up, leisurely, on Black Friday.
- A camera – Want amazing photos of your kids? This is a great time to purchase a high quality camera for cheap.
- Toys and games, if you can get them. These sell quickly, but I almost always pick up something for a great price.
- Small appliances – Need a new toaster, crock pot, or coffee maker? Today is your day, my friend.
- Sheets and throw blankets – I love Target’s Threshold line, and they typically have some great deals on Black Friday.
- Plus, if you shop on Black Friday this year, you will get a 20 percent off coupon to use on a whole purchase between Nov. 28th and Dec. 10th. In the past, this coupon was good on anything, including diapers. This means that you can get even more great deals!
- Paper – Free!
- Internet security software – Free or cheap!
- Laptop – Those cheap laptops that you’d have to wait in line for elsewhere? Walk on in and pick one up here.
- Thumb drive
- Cordless keyboard and mouse
- Bed Head Shampoo and Conditioner – I stock up for the whole year.
- Make up kits – Though probably not this year. Read My Year of No Spending to find out why.
- Hair products – Again, I buy for the year.
- Batteries – For all those Christmas toys.
- Gadget tools (like a Dremel) for gifts
- Miscellaneous kitchen items – Need pans, cutting boards, knives, or a microwave). See you at Home Depot.
- A Christmas wreath – They always have fresh pine wreaths for cheap.
- Light Bulbs – super cheap!
- Who knows what you will pick up at Costco? It’s like a wonderland of things you didn’t know you wanted but can’t pass up.
Walgreens/CVS/Rite Aid – A few notes about this category. First, the sales are not what they once were, but I still find it worth going. Second, there are lots of tricks to getting the deals at pharmacies, so read the fine print carefully. Every year, my husband “gets great deals” on Black Friday that actually end up being not a good deal at all (ex. $18 nose spray that we don’t need, don’t use, and actually cost us $18 because he did not read the fine print on the ad). Only get what you want and will use, because there is typically a catch with the “free stuff.” For example, a lot of times “free” means that you get coupons back for the cost of the item that you can use at a later time. This great if you are going to go back to the pharmacy in the time frame listed, but if you aren’t, you just end up buying the item at full price. Another thing to be aware of is you only get one printed coupon of money back per parent brand. SO you can’t get a coupon of money back for both the Lady’s Speed Stick and the men’s Speed Stick because they are the same parent company, UNLESS YOU DO THEM IN SEPARATE TRANSACTIONS. The cashier’s are not real happy when you do this, but it can be done. Third, remember that some of the deals listed require a coupon (that they do not provide), so remember to clip that ahead of time. Last, the pharmacies start these sales on Thanksgiving, so plan to get there early of Friday if you want to get these great buys. Sometimes, they will be all sold out of Friday morning because the Thanksgiving shoppers picked them up all of the inventory. All of that being said, here are some of the things I like to get at pharmacies on Black Friday.
- Batteries – Free or cheap!
- Random medicines – Free or cheap!
- Candles – Cheap! Often a BOGO deal.
- Toothpaste – Free or cheap!
- Toothbrushes – Free or cheap!
- Gum – Free or cheap!
- Candy – Free or cheap!
- Deodorant – Cheap!
- Makeup – Free or cheap!
- Disposable razors – Free or cheap!
- Laundry detergent – Cheap!
- Wrapping paper – Cheap!
There really are great deals everywhere and I love to shop the local stores on Black Friday too. I will also throw an honorable mention out to Walmart, Kohl’s, Lowes, Sears and Macy’s. I don’t shop much for clothes (again, see My Year of No Spending), but if I did, I would definitely hit up the mall for Sears and Macy’s.
One last secret for those who either really want the deals only available on Thursday, or those who still just cannot bring themselves to head out on Black Friday. Almost all of these deals are also available ONLINE! So, relax in front of your computer or phone with a full tummy and a cup of coffee in the comfort of your own home if you like. I’ll be out there on Friday leisurely picking up the deals and celebrating my own little family tradition.
Also, check out the best tools for the DIYer!
While you’re prepping for Thanksgiving, check out the best two ingredient cranberry sauce you will ever have.