I had been planning the Black Friday shopping trip for weeks, studying prices, deals and working hard to earn gift cards and find coupons. Still, I had to hold my breath as I was afraid something would come up that would keep me home. Last year I did not get to go as my husband had a work emergency, and I was afraid the same thing would happen this year.
My husband asked me when I wanted to go, and I said as early as I could get them all out of the door. He suggested that we went, when the stores opened at 5 - 6 a.m., but although I wanted the best deals, I had no desire to stand in long lines. After he saw on the news how the line at our local mall kept on going, he understood. I was very surprised though, as I just hoped to be out of the door by 8 a.m.
Last week my oldest son got a cold, then early this week it transferred to our toddler, and yesterday the baby and I started feeling it. Overnight the temperatures dropped in Florida, and I kept on sneezing all night long. I got a few hours of sleep though, and at 6:30 a.m. I got myself and the kids up and dressed. We were out of the door around 7 a.m.
After careful consideration I decided that Kmart would be the first stop, as there was a big item I wanted to get for the boys there. Kmart does not have too high of a rating in my book, when it comes to having items in stock, so I was fearful that the item would be gone already.
I found one, but it did not have a price, and it did not look completely like the one in the ad. I went to customer service, and they eventually found someone who could help me find the item at the opposite end of the store. I needed help with finding the second item on my list as well, but they had both in stock, and I was excited. I was able to check out at the customer service desk, so check out went quickly. I had brought a big sheet to cover up the Christmas present, and I sure am happy that I did, as it was huge, and it could barely fit in our minivan (with all three kids in it).
I have to say that Black Friday shopping at Kmart went smoothly, and I have no complaints. There were many people at the store, but everyone were courteous, and the lines were relatively short. The only con at Kmart was that it was a bit difficult to locate employees and the items.
Next stop was Target, where my husband dropped me off with the baby before he went home to give the kids breakfast. (I have to say that my husband was amazingly helpful and patient today).
At Target I got the most expensive item off the day, but with gift cards I was able to get the price down. I was looking for a 100 ct Megablock pack that I could not find, and I also gave up on the Leapster game although I had a $5 coupon. I looked through the games, and although a $10 game was an amazing price, I just did not find one that I thought the boys would really love and be able to learn from.
Checking out at Target was easy as well, and I will say that Target had employees EVERYWHERE!!! Thank you TARGET!!!
When I was done at Target, I called my husband to let him know that I was done, and then I walked a little to get to CVS. At CVS they were out of the free remote that I wanted, and my husband called to let me know he was there, so I did not bother with the other free after CVS bucks deals.
I did get an awesome deal on toys though. One of the toys were on sale, but it was also listed at Buy One Get One Free.
I went to the register to ask, if they were really on Buy One Get One sale, but it turned out they did not go through as such. The manager said she would honor the sale though, as she was the one who had put the BOGO sticker there.
The store was almost empty, and there were no lines. Everyone were kind and courteous, and it was a pleasant experience.
Except for our Kmart trip, where the baby had stayed in the car with my husband and the boys, he had been very quiet and happy. He curiously studied everyone and everything on our way, and whenever someone met his eyes, he would smile.
Since the baby was still happy, and my boys seemed extremely patient (maybe because they were curious as to what great things could be hiding in the loads of bags I kept dropping off at the back of the car), my husband agreed to let me run into Kohl's. At Kohl's I had gift card, coupons, and more coupons, and I just hoped that they would take my toy coupons. I found what I wanted on sale, and I did the calculations to stretch my money the most while still getting exactly what my boys wished for.
I was lucky, because apparently Kohl's don't accept manufacturer's coupons, but the managers did not even hesitate because the coupon said it could be honored at all places that sold the toys, so I got the exact deal I was looking for...I did not even have to argue my case. I just kept my fingers crossed, smiled and thanked everyone.
I have to say that I was extremely impressed with every single store. Not once did I feel frustrated about having to wait in a long line, and everyone were kind and courteous. Even the other shoppers seemed happy (not the least stressed), and they were extremely helpful and kind to each other.
While there were more shoppers at all stores (except for CVS) than normal, there were not nearly as many as I had expected.
Did you venture out on this Black Friday?
If you did how was your shopping experience?
What was your best deal of the day?
If you want to see how I managed to pay $71.69 for $417 worth of Christmas presents check out Frugality Is Free.