Want to score some sweet Black Friday deals without devoting an entire day off work to early-morning lines and crowds? Not super pumped about online shopping?
Although Black Friday means tons of great deals, the logistics of cramming all those bodies into a single Walmart can sometimes have serious consequences.
Even if you’re not afraid for your life this Black Friday, it might be enjoyable to use most of your long weekend for something besides holiday shopping — like making turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce. Or watching football.
Sure, you can do a lot of Black Friday shopping online. But participating in the brick-and-mortar Black Friday rush is a ritual for many of us, a tradition that bonds families and creates holiday memories. It’s hard to get that experience from clicking items on a screen.
Here are eight ways to get in and out of stores as quickly as possible this Black Friday, so you don’t miss the deals or the leftovers.
1. Go Shopping Later
If you’re not eyeing a specific big-ticket item, consider hitting the stores around 11 a.m. or even later — the stores are open all weekend!
Sure, they’ll be picked over, but you’ll skip the crowds and still might find something awesome for a steep discount.
2. Bring Friends Black Friday Shopping
If you’re headed for a shopping center, divide and conquer.
Have each member of your party make a list of desired items from specific stores. Then, have one member of your group get into each line and grab the items. Arrange a time to reconvene afterward.
Way to go! You’ve just shopped three stores in the time it would’ve taken for one. Plus, this shopping holiday is way more fun with friends.
You may have to make multiple stops, but taking one car saves time in traffic, and you’ll only have to find parking for one vehicle.
As an added bonus, you’ll also save money on gas.
4. Know What You’re Getting…
If you’re going early, optimize your line time by planning when and where to get the items you want.
If you’re only after one big-ticket item, just go to the store with the best deal — and early.
If you’re after multiple deals, add up the total cost for all the items you want at the stores closest to you. Hit the one with the best bottom line.
Learning which store will have the best deal on your next laptop or big-screen TV will be easy when you follow our live Black Friday blog. Plus, you can keep organized with our holiday shopping template.
5. …And Where to Get It
Hit the stores you’ve chosen a few days early so you can learn the layout. That way, once the line moves into the store, you know exactly where you’re going, and you can get in and out before the cashier lines stack up.
Or, use your smartphone to download store maps (where applicable) to achieve the same goal.
6. Keep Up to Date
While you have your phone out, check your Facebook or Twitter account.
Fox Van Allen recommends searching #BlackFriday to see if there’s any up-to-the-minute news to help make your trip more efficient. Local resources — ones that focus on your specific city or town — will likely be the most helpful here.
And if a lot of your Facebook friends live nearby, simply checking your Facebook feed can be a good tactic too, since your friends will likely share when they’ve found a good deal or hit a traffic jam.
7. Shop at Less Popular Stores
Lots of stores are participating in Black Friday, even some you might not expect.
You could save money and time by stocking up on regular items at CVS or Walgreens — and there probably won’t be any line at all.
These stores are regularly open 24/7.
8. Just Stay Home
If you really want to do Black Friday as quickly as possible, shop online deals instead of hitting the stores.
Since lots of companies are making their Black Friday deals available earlier, you won’t have to wait for Cyber Monday.
Who says those family memories can’t be made on the couch, after all?
Your Turn: What’s your strategy for quickly getting in and out of your favorite stores this year?
Jamie Cattanach is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible.