Black Friday Haul 2013

I shopped for 12 hours, folks. 6:30pm Thanksgiving Day until 6:30am today. I... I don't know how I am awake right now. If my words stop making sense, cut me a little slack-- I'm running on VERY little sleep but working through it to get this haul out to you guys! I was so excited to finally buy the things I so desperately needed! It's so hard for me to buy things after like, July, because I keep thinking to myself "but it will be cheaper in November..."

First, the outlet mall. Everything opened earlier this year, so I didn't get to nap. My parents were really tired and my father is getting over a cold/flu so we didn't get to stay as long as I'd have liked. Next year, they said, we'd bring two cars so they could leave earlier without holding me back from my precious precious sales.

Nine West

 Remember how I said I have a hard time buying stuff before Black Friday? Well, I daily wear black flats since they're the most practical option for a girl who likes to roll out of bed without having to think a ton about her shoes and lives on a bumpy, cobblestoney, ancient campus. About three months ago, I started wearing through my shoes. This isn't an uncommon thing since I have kind of an odd gait and daily use at W&M causes me to wear through a pair per year. I needed new shoes about 2 months ago when the hole wore through the sole, but I couldn't bring myself to spend money on an affordable but lower quality pair than what I knew I could get at a similar price on Friday.

Total Retail Value: $70
I paid: $30
Savings: 57%

Kate Spade

I don't know if you've heard, but this is basically my mothership. I LOVE Kate Spade. I bought myself a new purse, which is a little clutch for parties, but also has a shoulder strap/chain so it can be a crossbody. I regret nothing, it's absolutely adorable. I also snagged a pink wallet to give as a graduation gift. I'm splitting that with a friend.

Total Retail Value: $405
I paid: $160
Savings: 60%

Old Navy

I just really needed new jeans. Mine were getting really old and worn since I only have a few I rotate through. I always get them at Old Navy. They aren't the highest quality, but one of their cuts fits me really well, and on Black Friday, I can get them for as cheap as $15!

Total Retail Value: $60
I paid: $30
Savings: 50%


 I needed sweaters so badly! I get cold easily and sweaters are in short supply. I really love the sweet fox on the navy sweater, and I love the thick knit and buttons on the warm honey one.

Total Retail Value: $95
I paid: $47.50
Savings: 50%

J Crew 

I bought these two necklaces. Totally gorgeous. One is for me, the other is a gift for someone. I absolutely love necklaces. If I could only have one type of jewelry ever, it'd be necklaces. 

Total Retail Value: $77
I paid: $38.50
Savings: 50%

OKAY! So at the outlet, I got a ton of great goodies. I could have done another 3 hours there, but my parents are aging (sorry, mom, I said it) so I called it quits after  J Crew. Here's the overall breakdown of the Outlets.

Total Retail Value: $707
I paid: $306
Savings: 57%



I got stuff for me, as well as secret santa goodies and gifts. DVDs, snacks, craft supplies as shown above, as well as some underwear, which although nothing scandalous, I figured I wouldn't photograph for my blog. It seemed like it'd be crossing a line somehow.

Total Retail Value: $85
I paid: $63
Savings: 27%

Ulta / Sephora / Icing

I just decided to combine all the makeup purchases at once. I got bamboo brushes and brush cleaner at The Icing at my sister's recommendation-- they're apparently really good brushes for the price! Bamboo is also naturally antibacterial and extremely sustainable, so I always spring for bamboo products when possible. I got bronzer and blush at Ulta and the makeup sets at Sephora.

Total Retail Value: $81
I paid: $50
Savings: 38%

Hot Topic

Hot Topic had a great sale with $10 T-shirts and buy one get one free on everything else. I bought a few gifts, but I'm not gonna lie-- most of it is for myself.

Total Retail Value: $102
I paid: $50
Savings: 51%

So for my Black Friday total, as of 10am this Black Friday Morning, here are my totals.

Total Retail Value: $975
I paid: $469
Savings: 52%

How was your Black Friday?
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Black Friday Prep: The Outfit

Only a fool goes into battle without armor. Your outfit on Black Friday can make or break you. You thought you could go 5 hours standing in lines and busting heads in your cutest suede heeled booties? This is not a TJ Maxx #TheGifter Commercial where you stroll in to low prices in your chicest outfit. This is real life. This is Black Friday. It's survival of the fittest, friends, and the "fit" we're referring to isn't the tailoring of your blazer.

The stand alone retailer
These are for indoor shopping locations like indoor malls and stand-alone stores like Target.

These are for indoor shopping locations like indoor malls and stand-alone stores like Target. It's going to be a bit chilly, so you're going to want a hoodie . I recommend going for a zip-down option in case you need to try stuff on. Underneath, you should wear a camisole -- this makes it easy for you to try on tops and dresses, without having to choose between waiting forever for a dressing room or flashing the store. Next, you should have some substantial leggings . Thick enough to be pants-like enough to avoid having your panties show through (hey, this might be a battlefield, but ain't no reason to embarrass yourself like that), but thin enough to allow you to try on jeans and skirts over it like a champ, once again forgoing the dressing room. If you're really worried about butt-coverage, go for a long hoodie or tie your hoodie around your waist Next, make sure you got your bad-ass pancake socks . Because what's a night of intense shopping without a little whimsy? Lastly, make sure you got comfy, supportive shoes like sneakers .

The outdoor shopping mall

I often spend my Black Friday at an outdoor shopping mall. For those of you braving the chill of an outdoor mall, you'll have to dress for both a cold night/morning and the warm interiors of bustling stores. You're also going to want to do the cami  + hoodie combo for the same reasons above but add a coat to it for warmth. Sure, it adds weight to your ensemble, but when waiting in line to get into a store, you're going to want that added insulation to your core and arms. Depending on weather that night, you may also want to add a scarf , gloves to your ensemble. It's totally your call depending on weather that night. I usually opt for the better safe than sorry school of thought-- whatever you don't need you can dump back in the car on one of your unloading trips to the car or just stow away in your purse. Next, have some thin leggings for warmth and skinny jeans . Some people prefer sweats, but I often find it hard to shop with sweats on since I can't tell what tops really look like on me without skinny jeans. The leggings help in case you try on skirts or dresses outside dressing rooms. It's a little added insurance that you won't flash anyone even if someone jostles you. Next, be sure to wear some good, supportive socks and either sneakers or boots depending on how cold it is out.

Hopefully you've been following along my Black Friday series. If not, check out step one: The 3 Essential Shopping Lists, and step 2: The Game Plan before getting your outfit together.

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Black Friday Prep - The Game Plan

This is it. This is the game plan. If you haven't made those three essential lists, stop and do that now. Without it you won't be able to make a good plan.

Consider that places you want to go.
Look at the things on the list and try to think about the stores you need to hit and their geographical proximity. Write them on a piece of paper, clustered roughly by geographic location (you don't have to be a cartographer). Hopefully you'll notice a few hot spots with many of the stores you want to hit. Personally, I usually put the Outlet mall at the top of my list because it will have most of the stores I plan to hit, all in one location, plus the prices are even lower than at a regular mall. There's also a shopping center near my area with both a Target and a Walmart, so that's another important spot for me. Prioritize these stores-- there's only so much shopping you can do in one night, and with turkey, gravy, and the stress of politely answering your judgy relatives' questions slowing you down, you need to be realistic to optimize the night.

Look-up the hours and sales.
Some places will open at 4am on Friday, others will open at 6pm on Thanksgiving, and there will be different "power hours" and "doorbuster deals" for different stores. Look at your hotspots map, and then write out your top priority times to be at each. Now you can figure out a timeline for yourself. Accept the fact that you might not be able to hit each and every power hour. Consider travel time and shopping time. 30 minutes from one store to the next within a single shopping mall is feasible, but it certainly isn't if you have to drive to another location. Be sure to account for parking time. It is at least 5 times what you expect it to be if you're going to a popular location like a mall or a Best Buy.

Case the locations.
You should know the insides of most of your stores. No wandering around and getting trampled for you! Know there the sweaters are. Know where to find the jeans, the DVDs, whatever you have on your list. Take stock of where the sale items are usually displayed, where the changing rooms are, and the flow of the check-out lines. This information will save you time and hassle. If they (heaven forbid) run out of the item you're looking for, you won't spend hours looking for it.

This is when you go into a store, try everything on, make note of it, and walk out with nothing, only to buy it when the prices plunge. Many stores will get new merchandise for Black Friday, but this is a good idea if you're not totally sure how sizes run. Old Navy, for example, is always on my list of stores to hit, and I always buy jeans from them. I try on the jeans ahead of time and take note of the cut and size so that I don't have to wait in line for a changing room on Black Friday.

There it is. Now you have your game plan!

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Black Friday Prep - The 3 Shopping Lists

I'm a serious Black Friday shopper. None of this getting trampled at Best Buy nonsense. I go in with plans. I have strategies. My family and I are so serious about it, we build our Thanksgiving schedule around it. Right now it's just stage one of my planning for this year's Black Friday-- and accompanying Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. The most important part of the early stages is the lists. There are three essential lists that all other shopping plans are made off of:

The Holiday/Christmas Shopping List
This is pretty straight forward. I write out a list of people I plan on giving gifts to. I usually tier it out based on rough budget ideas. I am going to spend more on my sister than I would a distant cousin, for example. It may sound awful to place your friends and acquaintances on tiers, but in general it really helps me budget things out better and set realistic expectations for how much money I plan to spend on someone before I step into a store. Don't think of it as a hierarchy, and instead picture it as circles, with the most distant circle being your Christmas Card list.

Things I Need List
This is a specific listing of the stuff I need to get. I usually put numbers of either how much of something I need (ex. 3 new pairs of jeans) or a max budget ($30 of scarves). Having this list helps me make sure I lock down all the essentials for the coming year!

The Price is Right List
This third list I make usually comes after I've got the first two down. This list is made of wants that I'd consider buying if the price got low enough. Usually this is large purchases or fun things-- example: a new camera, a nice dress, a cashmere sweater. For the Price is Right wishlist, I always have a $ figure in mind for the max I'd pay for the item. It's also important to know what it is you're shopping for. For example, if you're looking at a TV, be sure on the specs you want- size, brand, type of display. No point in paying for something that's not exactly what you wanted. It's also good to have an idea of where you're planning on hunting for said item. For a camera, I'd search Amazon on Cyber Monday. For a sweater, I'd search the outlets (I always go on Black Friday) and see if there were any nice ones at J. Crew or Banana Republic.

Part one of your Black Friday planning is now complete!

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