Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
It is upon us. Never forget what you are budgeteers, for surely the world will not. Make Black Friday your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you ... Black Friday is coming, and you can either go all “Game of Thrones on it, or you can stay at home with the sissies and those who mock the glory of the hunt.
As I’m sure many of you have noticed, the great sales war has been extended to preface Black Friday ... That’s right, put up your carving knives, ladies, because Thanksgiving night just got serious. I don’t know if major retailers are doing us a favor, or recreating a real-life version of the “Hunger Games” for their own sick enjoyment. Either way, game on. If you’re ready, here is a list of some major retailers that will open their sales on Thanksgiving Day:
• Walmart will remain open for 24 hours as usual, and start its Black Friday deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
• Old Navy will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, and will re-open Thanksgiving Day at 7 p.m. and remain open until 11 p.m. on Friday.
• Target will be open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 11 p.m. on Friday.
• Staples will be open from 8 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving Day and will reopen on Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Sears will be open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 10 p.m. on Friday.
• Best Buy (also known as the “Olympics of shopping”) will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 10 p.m. on Friday.
• Toys R Us will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 10 p.m. on Friday.
• Michael’s will be open Thanksgiving Day from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and will reopen on Black Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• J.C. Penney will be open Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m. on Friday.
• Kohl’s will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 10 p.m. on Friday.
• Dollar General will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will reopen on Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• Gander Mountain will be open at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open until 2 a.m. on Friday.
Academy Sports, Home Depot and Lowe’s will not be open on Thanksgiving Day and will all open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, and TJ Maxx will open at 8 a.m. on Friday.
Now, hitting up all of these sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is going to take a lot of serious recon. Here are my preparation tips ... Nay, my preparation necessities, that is, if you want to make it out alive.
• Buy a newspaper the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving day.
• Make a list of all the items that are the most important on your list and match those items to the store you need to go to for them. Making an item list is not going to cut it; you need to make a timeline. If you don’t designate yourself a max time to remain in each store, you are going to get sucked into surprise deals and stocking stuffers. Sure, that chocolate monkey wearing a Santa hat is adorable, but is that smile on your child’s face worth missing out on a laptop that’s 40 percent off? I didn’t think so.
• Cut all coupons out of the ads and alphabetize them by store name. Pre-read all of the coupons so you are fully aware of the rules and the exemptions. Coupon exemptions are like Black Friday land mines, and trust me, after you have stood in line for two hours, you don’t want to get to the register and learn your purchase doesn’t qualify. That’s how a cashier gets a war story.
• Beef up your phone with some Black Friday apps. My favorites are TGI Black Friday and RetailMeNot (both free in the app store).
• Don’t forget to include online Black Friday deals in your shopping plan. I like to browse the deals online early in the morning before I head out into the war zone.
• Don’t get caught up in sales on clothing. The best deals to buy clothes are actually August and September, so unless you are getting at least 40 percent off, don’t waste your time. However, for big brands that are rarely on sale, strike at 30-35 percent off.
• My biggest tip is to start early and to get there at least when the doors open. If you wait to go out until after lunch, you are wasting your time. Many Black Friday deals are door busters and end around lunchtime.
Well budgeteers, it is here that I must leave you. Be strong and remember, your Thanksgiving turkey may make you great, but it is the heroism you display on Black Friday that will make you legend. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BudgeteerBrittany and on like me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BrittanyDenneyMcClure