For the most part, I'm a tried and true last minute holiday shopper. But when it comes to the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday weekend, I always make at least a couple of purchases. According to the above infographic (which is the cutest thing ever, right?) that Office Depot OfficeMax put together, I'm a "Newbie." I don't tend to actively scout out sales way in advance or go crazy planning a shopping itinerary (although I do keep my eyes open for sales at my favorites shops; I'll share my list with you guys on Wednesday). I also usually make the majority of my purchases online rather than in stores. But I do have a few tips that I've learned along the way, and a little bit of planning can make your whole shopping experience easier.
One thing that I'm big on is supporting smaller handmade businesses, so I browse Etsy and other small online shops in the week or two leading up, and then check back over Thanksgiving weekend to see if they're running specials. I also sign up for their mailing lists, if they offer that option. My art/card shop actually ran our Black Friday weekend special early this year, and a few others did as well. So by joining their mailing lists and checking things out in advance, I was able to save a few dollars.
When I do brave the craziness of Black Friday weekend, I wait until later in the day Friday and/or until Small Business Saturday. If you're in it for the "door busters," this might not be the best option for you. But if you're like me and prefer to avoid the crowds, going later can make the experience less stressful. A lot of stores and shops have sales going all weekend.
I do have friends who are Black Friday pros, who organize weeks in advance, have all the sales saved to their phones and iPads, and arrives to their chosen destinations early and prepared. One of them has a whole line-up of places to hit, and she gets all of her holiday shopping done in the two days following Thanksgiving. If you tend to be a hardcore shopper like this, I've been told that it's all in the planning ahead of time.
If you'll be shopping in the days following Thanksgiving, be sure to check out Office Depot's "Deal Center" site to take advantage of their lowest prices ever. Need a break from thinking about Black Friday? Elf your friends, elf your boss, elf your dog! "Elf Yourself" on Office Depot's website, or download it right to your smart phone. (I've already Elfed my entire family. And cracked myself up multiple times.)
What about you? What kind of a Black Friday shopper are you? Do you head out early? Do you prefer to do most of your shopping online? Or do you avoid it all together and wait until later in the season to get or make your gifts?
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