Do you shop on Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Thanksgiving?!
I do; and I am not alone. 66 million Americans shopped online on Black Friday in 2013.
But I don’t usually stick to just Black Friday. I’m out the Sunday before (CVS and Walgreens), on Thanksgiving itself (Michael’s, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid), and on Black Friday (Rite Aid, Staples, and Lowe’s).
I will admit that Reese’s Pieces were not on my original list, and neither were Glade plug-ins. But stocking stuffers were on my list (as they are this year), and this is exactly the type of item that gets stuffed in stockings at our house.
What did I pay? Nothing. CVS paid me $1 for that haul. Walgreens paid me $12 to stock up our medicine cabinet (and that of the local food pantry — I donated the Gelusil).
On Thanksgiving and Black Friday itself, I got another great haul — in 2012 and 2013. The 2012 haul cost me $10 and the 2013 haul was free if you count the $18 moneymaker on home improvement gift cards.
Oh, and let’s not forget the $10 Staples moneymaker during Black Friday 2014:
What should you buy on Black Friday?
1. Tech items and appliances that you have been eyeing:
Electronics and appliances always go on sale on Black Friday, but you want to beware of what you’re buying. Some stores, like the infamous WalMart, have items specifically manufactured for Black Friday sales. That deep discount you see advertised is meaningless if it’s a low quality tech item that you will have to replace in a year or two.
How do you avoid getting a deeply discounted piece of junk? Know what you want ahead of time and browse the circulars for it. Black Friday Ads has posted all the Black Friday circulars that have leaked so far. If you have a tech item on your list, please let me know and I will keep a special eye out for it in the Staples circular. Regardless of the price at Staples, you can always pricematch an advertised item and then use a coupon. Then, trade in an old tech item or two to get “e-cash” to spend at Staples. Find out how much you can get here: Staples Tech Trade-in.
2. Gift cards:
Rite Aid usually has a 20% discount on a home improvement gift card. Buy one and use it to get your Christmas tree! If you don’t have a Christmas tree stand or you want some outdoor holiday displays, you’ll probably find yourself at a home improvement store — buy a gift card for 20% off and you’ll save money even if they’re not on sale. Or, use it for all the random home ownership snafus that crop up during the year.
Other stores, like Staples and Walgreens, will have discounts on iTunes gift cards and retail stores. If there are hard-to-shop-for teenagers on your list or teachers who don’t want to receive another “World’s Best Teacher” coffee mug, you might find a great gift for them. (I’ve already peeked at the Walgreens Black Friday ad and know that they are offering a $10 Walgreens gift card as a bonus when you buy a package of 3 $10 iTunes gift cards).
3. Stocking Stuffers:
The big drugstores will have plenty on sale and free that will stuff the stockings of anyone with a sweet tooth, who plays with Matchbox cars, or brushes their teeth.
4. Holiday Supplies:
I am such a boring Black Friday shopper that I get excited about wrapping paper that’s “buy one get two free” (check out Walgreens this year for that offer!). Take a quick inventory of your wrapping paper, tape, and tag supply. Do you have enough for this year and next? If not, stock on up if you can find wrapping paper you like that’s on sale. For discounted tape and scissors, take advantage of Staples’ “20% off Everything in the Bag” sale the week of Thanksgiving.
The other option for scoring low-cost wrapping supplies is to wait until it goes on post-Christmas clearance for 50-70% off. But a “Buy one get two free” offer is essentially offering a 66% discount — and you have your choice of the best wrapping paper before it gets picked over and left in the clearance bin at the end of the season. It’s a no-brainer for me.
5. Toiletries, Food, and other Household Supplies:
Boring, I know, but it is so helpful to stock up in one or two days on all the toothpaste and toilet bowl cleaner you will need all year — particularly when it’s free or better than free. Not only that, but I’ve never seen a busy Walgreens or CVS on Black Friday; at least, not as busy as I imagine Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s to be on those days. Sure, there are couponers there, hunting out deals, but you’re not going to get trampled. Just come prepared with a list of what you want to buy and the coupons you can use on them, and the only drama you’ll have is exhilaration.
For those who want to venture to the drugstores, and maybe even try your hand at matching coupons with the sales, I can’t recommend Living Rich with Coupons enough. It’s my first stop for the coupon matchups. Just go to the dropdown menu at the top and find your stores. I always check out CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
As the day gets closer (and CVS and Rite Aid release their ads), I will post my Black Friday shopping list. Is there anything in particular you’d like to buy this Black Friday? I’m happy to keep my eyes peeled for them. I’m usually scouring the toy store, drugstore, and tech ads.