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team black friday
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

I confess. I love Black Friday shopping.
I learned a lot about shopping from my sister, JaNoel. Before she passed away in 2006, the ladies in our family would gather after Thanksgiving dinner each year to read through the sales fliers and plan our strategy for the following day. She was a pro at organizing the search for items on Black Friday and was always a
key factor in making our holiday shopping fun and successful.

For the most part, it has always been about the thrill of the hunt for the women in my family. Unless there was an item on a child’s wish list that one of us was searching for, we simply enjoyed spending time together while searching for amazing deals that you typically only find on Black Friday. If you can find great deals on the big-ticket items on your list – computers, televisions, cameras –
you can stretch your holiday funds a lot further.

Although we can’t always manage to be in the same city after Thanksgiving, the Black Friday tradition continues each year with my nieces, sister-in-law and my two daughters. Over the years, we have developed our own strategies and perfected our Black Friday shopping with new technology. Here are a few suggestions from our Team Black Friday:

Use your smart phone now. There are several free Black Friday shopping apps that you can download to keep track of sales at your favorite stores. One of my favorites is “tgiblackfriday.” This app allows you to shop by store or by category and you can easily add items to your list to keep your best deals organized. You’ll be able to see the sales fliers days before they are inserted in the newspaper on Thanksgiving Day.

Plan ahead. Once you decide on a shopping itinerary, go online to find diagrams of the store’s Black Friday layout. Doorbuster items are often displayed in odd places on Black Friday. If there’s an item you really want that’s offered at a great price, don’t waste time roaming through the store trying to find it – know where it is in advance.

Divide and conquer. Once you’ve compared lists, you increase your chances of getting the items you want if your team is willing to split up. Work together.

If you are undecided about an item, put it in your shopping cart until you make a decision. This was one of the most valuable lessons my sister taught us. You can always put an item back on the shelf, but on Black Friday don’t count on
coming back to pick it up once you’ve thought about it.

Kep it fun! Don’t try to tackle every store on Black Friday. Choose two or three stores that offer the best deals on items you want to purchase and then grab breakfast together and celebrate your savings. By the time most people are waking up, you can crawl back in bed for a much needed nap!