5 Tactics for Getting Exactly What You Want on Black Friday

Photo (cc) by Rob Boudon

Shopping malls and retail outlets become war zones on Black Friday morning. So to get what you came for, you have to think like a warrior. That means going in with a solid strategy, and employing some stealthy tactics.

If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the best deals and save money on holiday shopping this Black Friday, try some of these maneuvers…

1. Follow a strategic schedule

Post-Thanksgiving sales can be time-sensitive down to the hour, so you have to be at the right place at the right time to get the best deals. Being the first one through the door at 3 a.m. doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the steepest discounts.

For instance, I was slowing down at about 11 a.m. last year, figuring I’d seen the best to be offered that day. But on a whim, I decided to pop into one more department store before heading home. Good thing I did – the store was offering an additional percentage off purchases from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. only, and I scored some super-cheap Christmas presents by shopping late morning.

Before you head out and brave the crowds, sift through print and online Black Friday ads to determine which stores you really want to visit, find out what time of day the lowest prices will be offered, and then schedule your shopping trip accordingly.

2. Hide merchandise ahead of time

If you’re going after a popular item of Tickle-Me-Elmo-like proportions, don’t be one of the poor souls who wait in line for three hours and end up going home empty-handed. While not the most ethical solution, one thing that might work is to find the item you’re targeting ahead of time and hide it among other merchandise in the store.

Here’s what I’ve done: Find a table or shelving with stacked merchandise, like T-shirts, scarves, or shoe boxes, and put whatever you’re hiding at the very bottom. It will take a while for frenzied shoppers to make their way all the way down and you can go straight in for the kill when you get there.

While effective, this strategy will obviously be considered by some people, including store employees, as unethical. Your call.

3. Make it a solo mission

You may believe bringing your significant other or best friend will help you cover more ground while also enjoying the camaraderie, but double-teaming the same Black Friday sales will only slow you down.

Even the tightest schedule falls apart when others are recruited. Why? Because they get easily distracted by newly discovered sales, free samples, and shiny objects.

Whether you have trouble sticking to your plan of action or end up arguing over purchases, allowing another person to come with you is a recipe for disaster. And whatever you do, do not bring children.

The way to work with friends is to divide and conquer. Share lists, then stake out different stores.

4. Buy ahead and come back for the discount

In a post-recession era, anything is up for negotiation. If a competitor is offering a better deal, bring in the ad and ask the retailer to beat it.

Wal-Mart, for example, offers an ad match guarantee, which allows you to have the price difference between an in-store item and a competitor’s print ad refunded to you in the form of a gift card.

Of course, there are a number of caveats to this and similar offers. Make sure you’ve read the fine print and fully understand the terms of the offer, and don’t be afraid to haggle a bit – you could get a sweet bargain if you’re persistent.

Always ask to see the manager in the case of a discrepancy regarding price matching. Seasonal hires at the register aren’t always the most knowledgeable about the store’s current deals, so don’t trust them if they say a match isn’t valid.

Then do some recon work and check out retailers’ Black Friday ads. You can go today or tomorrow and buy key items at your convenience. Then on Friday, you’ll only have to deal with lines at the customer service counter when you go in to have the difference refunded. Just keep in mind, this may not apply to certain items, so it’s imperative you fully understand the terms and conditions of a price-match guarantee.

5. Shop the night before

If you already know about a particular sale that will be occurring on Black Friday, why put yourself in the line of fire when you can stay at home base and still accomplish your objectives?

Online shopping exists for a reason, namely because it’s way better than setting foot in a crowded store. The night before Black Friday, fill your shopping cart will everything you intend to buy. You can wake up super early the next morning, check out, and go back to sleeping off that turkey.

For extra savings, take a minute to search our deals page, as well as sites like RetailMeNot.com and SlickDeals.net for discount codes that will bring your total down even further.

Black Friday shopping is not for the timid or weak. If you want to make the most of the big day, you need to create a plan of attack. Think like a soldier and be devious, cunning, and assertive. Otherwise, just stay home.

Casey Bond also writes for www.GoBankingRates.com.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks
Drivers Give These 5 Car Insurers the Highest Marks

One company claimed the top ranking in several categories.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.