Must-Know Tips for Holiday Shopping: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Beyond

THe holidays tend to be the craziest time for shopping – here are some must-know tips for navigating Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Beyond!

This post brought to you by Famous Footwear. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Clarks Condensed.

Over the years, I’ve really come to enjoy Black Friday (and Cyber Monday…and whatever other shopping “holidays” exist now).

Not because I always find amazing deals on electronics, or because I love waiting in lines for hours to get my beloved 60″ flat screen for $200.

I enjoy it because it has become a time for me to just have fun. I don’t take the day too seriously (anymore), but it’s a fun way to unwind after Thanksgiving and rejuvenate myself before the excitement of Christmas takes over. Even though I love spending time with my boys, sometimes it’s nice to get away – even if it’s just for a few hours. Being a mom can be exhausting, and I think it’s hard to remember yourself every now and again.

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I’ve waited in line for hours for things only to be disappointed when there was only one or two in stock to begin with…so my expectations for the day aren’t super high. However, I have found that when I go out with lower expectations, I end up having a more fun time (usually with my sisters!) This is a really stressful time of year for me (specifically because of blogging), and it’s so nice for me to be able to overcome that stress by going out and doing something fun, like shopping.  It’s fun to have some “me” time, especially in the middle of this crazy season.

I have so many funny stories of things that happened on Black Friday (like when two of my sisters couldn’t find me, and they had me paged over the intercom), and it’s those memories that always make me want to go out.

So, here are a few of my must-know tips for navigating Black Friday – whether you are shopping for fun or for a big ticket item, I hope they will help!

Be kind

The biggest tip I have is to be kind to others when you are out shopping. A few years ago, I was at Walmart, and I was standing behind these two ladies that started bickering. That bickering turned into full-on yelling, and I honestly thought I was going to see a fight break out!

Try and remember that everyone in the stores is just trying to get through. The employees probably don’t want to be working – be kind to them! Someone might be trying to find the one item their child asked for that they’ve been saving up for the whole year for.

One of my goals this year is just to be more kind to people – I, unfortunately can have a bit of temper – especially when it comes to people at the store or on custmer support people – and it’s something I really have to consciously think about, especially in high-stress situations. I feel like this is the perfect time of year to #StepForward and make sure I’m extra kind.

I promise, being kind on a day like Black Friday will go a long way – and others will probably follow suit.

Check the Deals

This might seem a little obvious, but make sure you are checking the deals before you go out – I always like looking at the ads on Thanksgiving after dinner while propping my legs up – we’ve been doing a 5K on Thanksgiving the past few years, and let me tell you, I’m exhausted by the time dinner is over – it’s the perfect way to unwind.

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If you are looking for something specific, I highly recommend finding a Black Friday website that has a database of all the deals. This is a great way to search for exactly what you are looking for.

However, be aware that there will be some deals that come up only on the day of – or that you might not find unless you go in store. So keep your eyes peeled!

Wear Good Shoes

Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. -Marilyn Monroe

Okay, that might be stretching it a little bit, but never underestimate the power of a good pair of shoes, especially when you are power shopping!

The best shoes for Black Friday shopping are those that are close toed (leave your flip flops at home!), supportive, and comfortable. You don’t want anything that you will wish you could take off in the middle of the store.

If you live somewhere that has cold weather, I highly recommend wearing a good quality boot that is WARM. One year I went and sat outside Best Buy for hours, and I was FREEZING – mainly because my shoes were not the best choice.

I have the Bearpaw Women’s Boshie Winter Boot from Famous Footwear, and it is one of my favorite pairs to date. It’s super soft and warm on the inside, but the outside is really fashionable, too, AND they are so comfortable (I can wear them all day without any issue).

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I feel like it’s sometimes hard to find boots that fit all those requirements, and these are definitely perfect for Black Friday shopping.

Make a game plan

Personally, I don’t usually go into Black Friday (anymore) with a specific product I want to buy. However, I think it’s still a good idea to make a game plan.

Make a list of the stores you must go to, which products you are looking for in particular, etc. I think it’s good to organize what stores are priority (for instance, if they have an 8 AM doorbuster, you want to make sure you put that store first).

It’s also good so you can make sure you have all your rewards cards for different stores and any coupons you might need. For instance, I know that I’ll want to make sure I have my Jo-Ann’s coupons for Black Friday on hand, even though I don’t know for sure if I even want to get anything there.

Have a Budget

Make sure you know how much you are allowing yourself to spend. This is the trap I sometimes I fall into when I go Black Friday shopping – I just see things that I think we need for Christmas, and I throw them in my cart…and before I know it, I have too much stuff.

I think the best thing you can do is just to take out some cash from the bank or ATM – and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Go later in the day

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This obviously doesn’t apply if you have places that you HAVE to be at during a certain time…however, if you are just going for the sake of going, I think it’s best to go later in the day.

I’ve found that crowds tend to die out later in the day, and it can make it a lot more enjoyable.

Check online and Compare Prices

Nowadays, there are tons of sales leading up to and after Black Friday – many of which are even better. I think Black Friday doesn’t even have the same appeal or meaning as it used to, thanks to the online shopping industry (which is why it’s not such a stressful day for me – I already have most of my Christmas shopping done!).

Right now is the time to check around for different prices (and rumored prices) to make sure you are getting the absolutely BEST deal. I would start looking at prices weeks before Black Friday, just so you can get an idea of what prices fluctuate to be.

Bring snacks

No one wants to be hangry during a busy day like Black Friday. Make sure you stock up on some yummy snacks in your purse. Plus, you can resist the urge to buy any overpriced food in the food court somewhere!

Go with a friend

It makes it so much more enjoyable! I think I’ve gone Black Friday shopping with my sisters (at least one of them) almost every year for the past decade, and it’s just a lot of fun. We laugh, joke around, and just have a fun time.

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Follow Deal Sites

Again, the Internet is a great place this time of year – there are so many bloggers that completely dedicate themselves to sharing the best of the best deals. One of my favorites is Utah Sweet Savings – the ladies behind this website are SO passionate about finding people that deals they want. They even have a “wish list” you can fill out so you

I like following a deal site because they are following all of those last-minute, unadvertised deals that you may not hear about otherwise. For instance, Becky from Utah Sweet Savings shared a deal on the hard-to-find toy of the season – Hatchimals earlier today. Although the price quickly jumped, I know a few people were able to get it because she was watching it so closely.

Sign up for Loyalty Programs

If you have a favorite store, make sure you sign up for their loyalty program. Often this time of year they will have great promotions for subscribers only. Most of these programs are free, so make sure you check them out!

Follow on social

Make sure you are following companies on social media – especially smaller companies. I’ve found some great deals this way that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. People like to reward those who follow them!

Understand the policies

This is super important, especially with those too good to be true offers. Most of the time, they are. I’ve been too one too many Black Fridays where there have been “door busters” and the store only had a couple of the item available.

It’s also a good idea to know what rules they have – for instance if there is a limit on how much you can buy of something, or what the policy is for if you are standing in line. One year, there was a rule at a store we went to that if you were in line by a certain point, you were guaranteed the TV that was for sale (though some people had to have it shipped to them at a later point).

Make sure it’s actually a good deal

This is one of the biggest ones…there is a lot of junk sold on Black Friday, and while it sometimes may seem like a great deal…it might not be.

Be careful with impulse buys – it can be easy to start grabbing everything. Resist this!

There are always super, super cheap TVs that go up every Black Friday. Some of these are great sales, but others? Don’t waste your time. I’m a big believer in the idea that just because you can buy something for cheap doesn’t mean you have to.

Spend your hard-earned cash wisely. Do your research about brands that you are buying – some of the cheaper brands might have a great reputation, while others should just be put out with the trash!

Make sure to document your Black Friday adventures on Instagram, and follow Famous Footwear  Instagram on for deals and awesome footwear to help you be your best self this winter!

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