How to Avoid the Black Friday Madness and Still Get Great Deals

by Travis Pizel · 6 comments

Thanksgiving is only two short weeks away, and the air is filled with anticipation of the official start of the holiday shopping season.

I’m obviously talking about Black Friday, when people stay up all night to get a shot at (self-proclaimed) once-a-year door-buster sales. I’ve heard people brag how large a percentage of their gift shopping they complete on that one magical day of sales.

But I honestly do not get it.

Black Friday is the pinnacle of impulse shopping. Huge crowds storm through the doors of countless retailers with the lure of getting their hands on a handful of unbelievable sales. While in the rush of the moment, people grab everything and anything that seems like a good sale in fear of missing out.

Sounds like a recipe for overspending, and buying a bunch of stuff we don’t need. I take a different approach to shopping for my Christmas gifts, and choose to enjoy my Thanksgiving holiday differently.

I won’t be standing in line on Thanksgiving evening, and I won’t be getting up early Black Friday morning because I already have a growing stack of gifts accumulating on the floor of our guest bedroom.

Holiday gift shopping became so much easier and less stressful once I started doing the following three steps:

  • Keep your ears open: If someone is an important part of your life, you should never have to ask them what they would like as a present. Simply keep your ears open, pay attention to their hobbies, scour their Pinterest boards, and figure out what they like. All you have to do is listen!
  • Match the gift to the person, not vice-versa: Many people buy items during the Holiday season, especially on Black Friday, because they’re on sale. Then try to think of who might like to receive it.   I find the whole gift giving experience more satisfying and meaningful if I buy something specifically for a person.
  • Shop early and plan: I’ve been Christmas shopping for weeks already. We were walking through a Bed, Bath, and Beyond a month ago and found the perfect gift for my brother-in-law. I was in Costco last week buying fruit and found something on sale, that another family member would absolutely love.

As we finish our Thanksgiving dinner at this year’s family gathering, I’m sure people will be passing the ads around. Some will be piecing together their Black Friday shopping plan. But what will I be doing? Dishing up another piece of pumpkin pie, because my gift shopping is already almost done.

What’s your Black Friday strategy this year? Do you brave the crowds to save a buck? Share one way you save money on holiday gift shopping!

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Nuria says:

    Good Tips!!! The black friday it can be dangerous!!! I have my own ideas to get best deals but in a safe way!!!!! I recommend to be ready!!!

  • Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom says:

    Black Friday isn’t so big in Canada either, but I do still check the ads. The deals always seem like the Christmas deals, and the Boxing Day sales, so I’ve never really been convinced to join the hoards.

    • Travis @debtchronicles says:

      I think the key is to *always* be on the lookout for good deals – not just on that one day of the year. Some people get all of their Christmas shopping done on that one day – good for them for getting it done, but how could you possibly get the best deal on every item you buy if you don’t take your time and shop around?

  • Jonathan says:

    Over here in the UK Black Friday had started to become embedded into our culture too, but like you I don’t see the logic.

    It’s a great psychological boost for the retailers who benefit from hordes of shoppers pouring through their doors but you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to get the best deals.

    I totally agree that if you plan ahead or if you wait until January sales you can get equally if not better deals then you would ever get on Black Friday.

    • Travis @debtchronicles says:

      Stores keep opening earlier and earlier here in the US, Jonathan….although there seems to be some pushback to stores opening on Thanksgiving – both for people taking time away from family to go shopping, and for people having to work on the holiday. But, others just seem to really get into the whole Black Friday experience.

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