The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday and marks the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season. One of the busiest shopping days of the year, many merchants offer deep discounts on popular products on Black Friday. In many cases, the best deals are obtained very early in the morning (anywhere from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m.) and there are usually limited quantities of such items. In recent years, Black "Friday" has actually begun on Thursday evening in some stores. If you are planning to do any shopping in the Memphis area on Black Friday (or Thursday), here are some tips to help you plan your route, maximize your savings, and get the best deals in town. Happy shopping!
- Get advance notice of sales.
Although the official Black Friday sales ads won't come out until the week of Thanksgiving, there are websites dedicated to getting the inside scoop on sales. Try bfads.net, www.blackfriday.info, or www.theblackfriday.com for starters. Here is a tip when using these sites: companies will frequently require these websites to remove their stores' ads. So check the sites frequently and be sure to make note of any great deals you find as the ad may not be there on your next visit.
- Pick up two newspapers.
Even if you find many of the Black Friday ads online, you won't find them all. The Commercial Appeal will contain all of the flyers, but they may be distributed on both the Sunday before Black Friday and on Thanksgiving Day. So be sure to get copies of the paper on both days.
- Fill up your car the day before.
When you are chasing down the best deals, the last thing you want to have to do is fill up your tank. So on Wednesday or Thursday, search for the cheapest gas in Memphis and fill up. After all, why go broke at the pump when you are working so hard to save money on Christmas gifts?
- Take a nap.
If you are serious about saving money, you will probably be shopping from 12:01 a.m. on Friday until late that morning. If you haven't had any sleep, you may decide to call it quits before you hit all the sales on your list. So take advantage of that big sleep-inducing Thanksgiving dinner and take a nap.
- Plan your route.
There are a lot of factors that go into this step. Obviously, you will want to plan your route in order of the time that each store opens. From there, though, things can get tricky. Do you map out your route so that you don't have to do any backtracking? Or do you try to hit stores in the areas of town that are less likely to be crowded. For instance, if there is a can't-pass-up deal at Walmart, it might be a good idea to avoid the Walmarts at Wolfchase, Southaven, or Cordova because they are likely to be very crowded (these stores are always very crowded). But going to a different location might take you well out of your way and cause you to miss out on a different sale. You will have to consider the items you are hoping to purchase at each store in order to prioritize and plan your stops.
- Save the malls for last.
As a general rule, most malls in the Memphis area are not going to open much (if any) earlier than usual on Black Friday. The exception to this is the anchor stores. Places like Macy's and Sears may, at their discretion, open earlier than the malls.
- Don't forget the Internet.
Believe it or not, some online merchants also offer impressive sales on Black Friday. These aren't just limited to online-only stores like Amazon.com; brick and mortar stores with a web presence like Best Buy or Target, may also offer online sales via their websites.