As we wait anxiously for the Black Friday deals to be leaked (I heard the Tru Value ad was leaked today), I find myself thinking through various strategies that worked and didn't work in the past. Like many of you, my Christmas budget doesn't match the love I have. Many of you have shared ways to transfer that love with little money and I plan to use that. As I think about Black Friday 2010 and how I might approach it, I am reminded about some Black Fridays of the recent past....Black Friday 2008 and 2009. Last year, I did do the Walmart thing, just on behalf of my niece.
Some of the best deals on Black Friday, though, aren't found in the most obvious places. I recommend everyone consider shopping two stores on Black Friday regardless:
CVS (of course, you'll have to have a CVS extracare card)
1. These stores don't attract a huge crowd. Maybe the crowd picks up after lunch and around supper-time. You won't have to wait in line to get in or fight for a buggy. Last year, My niece and I hit CVS when it first opened and we were the only ones in the store.
2. The stores open later, with the exception of the 24-hour Walmarts. I think Walgreens opens at 8 a.m. and CVS at 9 a.m. You can do Target, Walmart and even Kohls before heading to the drug stores.
3. These stores are the place for stocking stuffers....but much more! Lots of little things like lip gloss, crayons, candy, cosmetics. But you can find very nice gifts, too. Walgreen's usually has an assortment of small kitchen appliances (mixers, crock pots, etc.) for as low as $5. Last year, I bought some family members Isotoner houseshoes for only $5 and snugglies (the real as-seen-on-t.v. brand) for only $7.88. At CVS, I hooked my niece up with a year's worth of cosmetics almost all for free! Oh, both also have some great toy deals---name brand toys.
4. Don't be embarrassed with CVS bucks and Register Rewards. You can use coupons with these to make the prices even cheaper. Last year, I believe CVS advertised over $60 in CVS bucks on Black Friday weekend. You have CVS bucks from the week before, good. Use those to make your purchase even cheaper. These steps will help you take advantage of the Black Friday promotional deals without digging deep into your Christmas budget:
A. Spent a few minutes organizing any coupons.
B. Plan on making several purchases. Buy about $15 worth of items...use any coupons, CVS bucks or register rewards. Collect the $15 in CVS bucks or register rewards.
C. Go down your shopping list and choose the next few items (around $15). Go back to the cash register, use your CVS bucks or register rewards.
D. Repeat Step C until you've finished your list. Four trips and you've purchased $60 for $15, you still have $15 in CVS bucks or Register rewards. You didn't spend much money and you don't have to worry about your bucks/rewards expiring.
5. Shop with gift baskets in mind. Several of you have mentioned this is something you're going to be doing. These two stores offer a lot of items that can be put in baskets and used to make baskets. You can often find large plastic holiday bowls as cheap as 3/$1 and holiday stadium cups are as cheap as 8/$1.
Now, the final advantage of shopping CVS and Walgreens during the holidays. My local stores almost always have everything in stock. If something sells out, CVS will give you a rain check. Try that with the other doorbusters!
What's your favorite store to shop on Black Friday?