Black Friday 2018 is almost upon us. For shoppers, the day can either help knock out your Christmas list or prove to be a stressful shopping experience.
Here’s how you can prepare for Nov. 23.
Knox News Local Sales Manager Heather Hebert has shopped on Black Friday for about 25 years and loves the quest for a deal. Check out her 10 essential Black Friday shopping tips.
1. Get the Thanksgiving newspaper
Hebert said she begins her Black Friday preparation by getting her Thanksgiving copy of the Knoxville News Sentinel. The 4-pound Thanksgiving edition has Black Friday coupons, inserts and deal listings for several stores.
Thanksgiving sale: Get unlimited access to Knox News for less than $1 a month
The Thanksgiving paper will come out on Wednesday and will be delivered to select Knox County retailers, including Breadbox, EZ Stop, Food City, Ingles, Kenjo, Kroger, Lehigh/Rocky Top, Marathon, Pilot, Walgreens and Weigels.
2. Make a plan and map it out
To save time, Hebert says to make a plan and map out the stores you want to go to. Then rank them by importance and distance, so you can avoid backtracking and losing time.
3. Think about who you bring
You can decide to shop solo or with others, but don’t invite just anyone to shop with you on Black Friday, according to Hebert.
She’s encountered her fair share of cranky people while shopping.
“One year my sister and I went, and there was this lady there with her sister shopping, and they were older, and the lady — we just hear her scream out. She’s just like, ‘Just get it Helen and don’t take 20 years,'” Hebert said.
She advises to go alone or with someone who loves shopping and won’t get cranky or impatient at the crowds and lines of people.
4. Dress for success
The right Black Friday wardrobe can make a difference. Hebert said if you’re shopping for clothes or shoes, wear something that’s easy to change in and out of. Avoid layers and large coats.
“You want to kind of pack light. It’s like hiking I guess, right? You want to bring the least amount of stuff,” she said.
5. Stick to your budget
Figure out how much you want to spend and stick to it. You don’t want Black Friday’s credit card bills to last until Easter, according to Hebert.
6. Department stores first, then others
Hebert said to prioritize department stores (JCPenney, Belk, Kohl’s) on Black Friday because they typically have better deals. Save Walmart and other discount stores for Saturday.
“Walmart has its place. Dollar Tree has its place and all that, but those stores aren’t going to be super discounted because they’re already discount stores,” Hebert said.
7. Calculate your risk vs. reward
We’ve all read about those crazy Black Friday stories, where people wind up in fights or get arrested. Hebert’s seen that happen but said to weigh your risks vs. reward on the items you want to buy. Some items may be worth diving into the crowd for. Others aren’t.
“I’ve seen people fight over dish towels that were $2 the day before,” Hebert said. “Well, today they’re $1.50. I mean, come on. You have to think about, ‘How much am I really saving here?'”
8. Have a plan to recharge
Black Friday will take a lot out of you, so carve out some time to take a break, eat and drink, according to Hebert. If you don’t want to take the time to stop somewhere, bring snacks and a cooler to keep in your car.
9. Boots are always first
Black Friday is the day to buy boots, according to Hebert. Stores like JCPenney and Belk offer great deals. Just be prepared for a crowd.
“When you go in there, it’s just ravenous … boots are flying. You’re tripping on boot boxes. It’s just crazy. You’re stepping over people,” Hebert said.
If you wear a common shoe size like a women’s 7 or 8, Hebert advises to just grab them and go. But don’t forget to check the box. Last year she ended up with two left boots and never could get a right boot from the store.
10. Stock up on home goods
Shoppers usually tackle their Christmas lists on Black Friday, but it’s a great time to stock up kitchenware and home goods, according to Hebert.
Items including griddles, slow cookers, fire pits, trampolines and Christmas lights are always on sale on Black Friday. Hebert said Home Depot and Lowe’s also mark down their Rubbermaid totes and poinsettias, too.
Christmas 2018: A guide to Knoxville and East Tennessee holiday events