Anxiety? Check. Panic buying? Check. Stressful confrontations with other sales-crazed shoppers? Check. Is a trolley full of things you’d never heard of until now but suddenly think you desperately need? Check. Spending money you definitely shouldn’t and justifying it somehow? Check and check. Ah, the joys of Black Friday. The day of discounts and deals can be both a blessing and a curse, causing overwhelming feelings of insufficiency and the need to get everyone done right this second.
Trying to distinguish the good deals from the useless ones, the scams and fakes from the quality and bang-for-your-buck is all an exercise in patience and, say it with me, preparation. With a little research and planning, Black Friday 2021 can be the smoothest ride you’ve ever taken, instead of the pain-filled drama of years past. If you want all the not-so-secret tips and tricks, take a deep breath, stay where you are, and read on.
Plan it all, and then some
If you aren’t a list person, don’t fret. You can do this. I believe in you. A simple list of things you need can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Do you need that handheld super blender with the extra sharp blades for maximum smoothie smoothness? No. No, you don’t. Unless you drink a lot of smoothies. What do I know? The point is, shopping unprepared, whether online or in-store, usually leads to reckless spending, unused products, and a good dose of regret.
Once you’ve got a rough list of needs and wants, search online for the best options and follow the brands and stores online. Sign up to their newsletters (this often gives you early access to offers), follow them on social media and stay updated. You might get your discounted product before anyone else even has a chance.
When it comes to Black Friday, the comparison is not the thief of joy
Now that you’ve got your list and favorite retailers to start to compare away. There are websites dedicated entirely to this but do your research too. Compare the pricing, yes, and compare reviews of different brands, and see if any stores offer extra benefits when you purchase from them. Vouchers, coupons, or any additional incentive might make the deal all the sweeter and more worth your while. Plenty of stores offer price matching too, so consider that, especially for big-ticket items you’ve had your eye on.
Having a friend with you can drastically reduce your stress and keep you on track. Plan a shopping get-together at your local retailers and help each other cross off items on your list, or if you’d rather skip the crowds and wrestling matches, meet up at home and open your laptops for some side-by-side deal-grabbing. And hey, since you’re at home, you can do it in your pajamas over a glass of wine.
Don’t fear the FOMO
Black Friday sales were one-day-only, product-feeding frenzy, and the crazies came out to play. Now things are (slightly) more civilized, in that Black Friday is a weekend-long event, culminating with Cyber Monday, the modern man’s excuse to call in sick to work and spend the day at home.
Realistically, the deals extend far beyond one day, so you do have the time to think more carefully and take your time choosing what you want. Many stores and brands have started offering month-long discounts leading up to Thanksgiving, and those are all worth paying attention to as well. It doesn’t sound like a broken record, but preparation is, once again, your friend. If you start your shopping early, you’ll have everything you need for Christmas, New Year and (if you’re the James Bond of discounts), Easter too.
Much to our luck, the whole crowded madness shebang has also changed significantly. Most shops won’t even allow it given the current global situation, so take your time at home, use the beautiful technology in your hands, and shop online in advance, to have the very best chance of a stress-free, dare I say relaxing, Black Friday this year.