Black Friday 2011 - How to Prepare for Black Friday

Black Friday is arguably my favorite day of the year. It's up there with Christmas and Halloween. Why? Well, let me take you through my Black Friday, which actually begins on Thanksgiving Day for me.

I start on Thanksgiving, enjoying delicious fried foods-- my family does deep fried turkey, as well as fried chicken, fish, and calamari-- alongside classics like mashed potatoes, collard greens, etc. and Korean classics like Bulgogi, rice, and kimchi. It all works in a weird, delicious way. We have both sides of the family over for lunch. Then, after all the food, everyone goes home, and my household sleeps for 4 hours. We get up at 8pm and get ready and leave for the outlet mall. We get there around 9 or 9:30, when parking is madness, but not impossible.

And then it begins. We shop like mad until around 3am. And the savings from shopping so early are immense.

Black Friday starts with planning. When you have been Black Friday shopping as seriously and as long as I have, you want to maximize your time. You look up sales and locations ahead of time. You make lists of what you need to buy-- for yourself and for holiday gifts. You plan what you will pack to be able to keep going all night. You plan what to wear if you will be at an outdoor mall like me and need to stay warm.

My iphone currently has a sticky note app containing all this vital information. I have looked up the sales at my number one pick for shopping-- Old Navy. I love Old Navy because the basics are so handy to have around, and the prices are great. Not to mention their jeans make my butt look awesome :) Other places I will be checking out include Eddie Bauer, Nike, Adidas, Liz Claiborne, Bass, Charlotte Russe, and L'eggs Hanes Bali Playtex-- because underwear is something you never want to be short of in college.

Other stores I am considering hitting are Izod, Nautica, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel (although it is no longer listed on the mall's site :/) and Kate Spade (I love Kate Spade).

Are the savings worth staying up so late? YES. I once bought over $120 worth of stuff at the Liz Claiborne for under $10 and was told to pick out a free item. On top of that, it's kind of cool to experience something so novel and wacky-- there are energy drink and coffee companies who send out little trucks to hand out free drinks as a promotional thing for us batty shoppers.

What do you pack on a night of such crazy cold and fantastic deals at late hours? Well here's the rundown.

Layers. Black Friday shopping has often been about dressing in layers. This is important because while it'll be cold as the dickens outside, it will probably be hot in stores filled with bustling shoppers. Wear things you can get in and out of quickly for changing room ease.

Lists. Your shopping lists, your sale lists, your timeline (if you have one), and your gift list are all important. whether it's written down or in your phone, bring it.

A buddy. Friends are important to bring because not only is it often good to shop with a buddy, but they can hold your space in a long line while you shop, and then you can switch. Tag-team shopping is essential for stores with lines out the door.

Snacks. Shopping builds up an appetite-- running around, carrying bags, getting in and out of clothes. Granola bars, chips, crackers, pretzels, etc. are great ideas.

Water. You will be sweating. Stay hydrated.

Coffee. Bring some caffeine to help keep you going. I usually just budget in some money for coffee.

Folding Chair. Not necessary, but if you are planning to get into somewhere like the Coach or the Michael Kors, expect a line extending the mall.

Mall map and sales guides. These will help you map out your battle plan.
Hand warmers, hat, gloves, scarf. Cold weather gear is a must for outdoor shopping on cold nights!

Backpack or large purse. To carry all this stuff in! It can hold all your smaller cold weather gear when you shop. It'll also help keep you hands free of smaller shopping bags so you can really dig into the stuff!

Phone. Always have it on you!

I'll get back to you on how my black friday adventures go!


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