Who’s stoked to head out for Black Friday shopping this year?
Great deals, family fun and holiday hullabaloo make Black Friday a full-fledged event.
Although I love online shopping, there’s just something extra about walking down aisles or digging through racks in brick-and-mortar stores.
But if you’re planning on heading into the fray this year, packing properly can help you get the most out of your time and effort.
If you want to save the most money, spend your time as efficiently as possible and make Black Friday an all-around win, don’t leave home without these 14 items!
Not only will Black Friday be more fun when you share laughs with your loved ones, traveling in a group lets you shop more efficiently. For instance, one or two people can hold a spot in one line while another goes off and scouts a separate store.
That leads us to our second Black Friday must-bring…
2. One Car… or None at All
Carpooling is an obvious time and money saver.
But even if you’re going it alone, consider public transit or rideshare companies to save you time — and potentially gas money spent driving around for an hour looking for parking or sitting in an hour-long traffic queue.
Check out our post on saving money on Black Friday transportation — many public transportation agencies are offering extended hours or even free fare for Black Friday shoppers.
3. Comfy Clothes
Two words: Yoga pants.
Seriously. Ditch the fancy Thanksgiving dinner wear — sweats are a decent option for warmth and comfort (and are fairly easy to take on and off if trying on clothes is part of your Black Friday plan).
Make sure to dress in layers — you’re likely to be cold standing outside in line, but warm rushing around inside the store.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes!
4. Water Bottle
The lines are long, and rushing around several stores in a row can be thirsty work. You may be out shopping for hours on end; it’s important to stay hydrated!
You might want to consider Gatorade or some other electrolyte-laced sports drink if your shopping plans are truly epic.
Five hours is a long time to be on your feet, especially if you’re shopping somewhere like Florida where November doesn’t necessarily mean the weather’s cooled off.
OK, maybe you feel like you’ll never eat again after your Thanksgiving feast.
But if you’re going to be out all night, your blood sugar is bound to fluctuate. Keep your energy up with healthy, portable snacks, like nuts or a protein bar.
6. Phone Charger
Coordinating with friends, using your GPS to get around, setting up transportation with Uber, Instagramming all your new buys — it’s gonna be a busy night for your phone!
Make sure you keep your tech alive by bringing along a handheld charger.
7. Shopping List
In all the Black Friday confusion, it’s imperative to keep organized.
You’ve gotta know what you’re buying, where you’re going to get it and how much you’re planning to spend.
Don’t forget your list! You can download our handy holiday shopping template here.
If you’re hitting multiple stores, it’s helpful to know which doors open at 5 p.m. on Thursday and which won’t be open until 4 o’clock Friday morning.
Plan your evening ahead of time and bring your itinerary so you stick to it as much as possible — but make sure to give yourself some wiggle room for crowds and traffic.
Keep those mailouts with you so you remember which store has the $50 TV and which has the $300 laptop. Plus, some vendors will price match on Black Friday so you can get the best deals even if you can’t get to every store.
In case carrying around a file folder of advertisements doesn’t sound like fun to you, check online — most companies list their best deals their sites and other Black-Friday-themed blogs.
10. Coupons and Binder
A true Penny Hoarder always has their coupons with them! Keep your clippings separated with a convenient, categorized organizer.
11. Receipt Holder
You may need them for price matching if you find a better deal later, or you may discover that hard-to-buy-for person on your list already has the gift you so thoughtfully acquired on Black Friday.
Plus, sometimes, you get lot of coupons! (See above.)
In addition, some cash-back companies that require receipt images — like Ibotta — have done Black Friday-specific deals in the past. Stay organized with a receipt holder, so you can categorize your receipts — gift vs. personal, by store, etc.
12. Insulin/EpiPen/Insurance Card
You should always have these items on you, especially at a time like this!
13. Walkie Talkies
Don’t go out and blow $100 on a pair if you don’t have ‘em already.
But if you bought walkie talkies back when they were all the rage, they might come in handy when all the cell phone bandwidth is eaten up at Walmart.
If you’re going hard and don’t mind carrying some stuff around, foldable chairs or beach blankets might be creature comforts you’ll be glad for when everyone else in line is forced to stand for several hours.
So there you have it: 14 things to ensure a perfect Black Friday shopping experience that includes plenty of awesome deals.
Don’t go empty-handed this Black Friday — on the way out or on the way back home!
Your Turn: What will you bring with you on your Black Friday venture?
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.