It’s that time of year again: the leaves are changing colors, turkeys are going on sale, and your mom is probably already trying to put up the Christmas tree—must be Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving doesn’t just mean parades and huge family meals, though. It also commemorates the infamous annual day of shopping and sales: Black Friday!
Things can get a little out of hand on Thursday night and especially into Black Friday morning, so make sure you’re prepared for a night out with these bits of advice:
1. Make an action plan ahead of time.
Different stores open at different times—some open as early as the beginning of Thanksgiving week, and some don’t even participate in the Black Friday festivities at all. Figure out where you want to shop and when you want to get there to make sure you take advantage of the best deals out there.
Also, just because the sale sounds great doesn’t mean that it is. Do some research on the products you plan on buying before you head out to avoid buyer’s remorse.
2. Wear comfy clothes.
No one cares what you look like when you’re out shopping on Black Friday, so don’t be afraid to rock your pajamas. You’ll be a lot more comfortable all night, especially since you probably ate a ton of food just hours earlier!
3. Stick to a budget.
It’s really easy to go crazy on Black Friday and spend way more money than you had planned to. Allot yourself a certain amount of money before heading out, and don’t go over your limit. After all, while that might be the perfect gift for your sister, you still have to pay your bills!
4. Bring a friend.
Shopping alone is much less fun, and it can also be dangerous the day after Thanksgiving. Make sure you bring a friend along with you so you can watch out for each other—and if you must split up, stay in touch and plan a spot to meet later so neither of you get hurt or lost in the commotion.
5. Stay hydrated.
This is one of the most important tips on this list, but it is so often forgotten. Sometimes, you end up standing in line for hours outside of your favorite stores just to get in on an awesome sale—and that’s a long time to go without water or something to drink! Keep a bottle of water or juice in your purse, and make sure you get a refill if you happen to run out.
6. On that note—don’t forget to eat, either!
Yes, I know you just finished one of the biggest meals of your life just hours ago, but it’s important to keep your energy up all night by eating, even if it’s just a few snacks here and there. I recommend keeping a small bag of pretzels or chips in your purse to munch on throughout your shopping excursion. You don’t want to start feeling woozy (or worse, hangry) after waiting in line for so long!
7. B.Y.O.E. (Bring your own entertainment!)
You’re going to be doing a lot of standing around and waiting if you head out on Thursday night and into Friday morning. Don’t forget to bring a book, magazine, or game to pass the time!
8. Charge up your phone.
Remember tip #4: bring a friend? Making a pal tag along is useless if you lose touch with them! Make sure your smartphone is charged all the way before heading out, in case the two of you happen to get separated in the madness. To be extra safe, stuffing a power bank and charge cord in your bag before you go is also a good idea.
9. Consider staying in this year.
Believe it or not, most Black Friday deals stay live all weekend long, so you may not have to go out that night to take advantage of the super sales. Additionally, you can try shopping on Small-Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, instead, if you want to avoid department store drama!
10. If you do decide to go out, don’t take it too seriously.
Don’t be one of those people who is willing to take out a few unsuspecting shoppers just to get one item. Remember what really matters this holiday: it’s not the material things, but the people you’re giving them to.
Following these tips will help you take advantage of all the great deals and stay sane this Black Friday. See you at the stores!