Valdosta Daily Times

November 18, 2012

Brittany'sBudget Diary: How to go ‘black ops’ on Black Friday

Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — All right budgeteers, it has almost arrived. You know what I'm talking about, Black Friday! It is both the happiest and the worst day of my entire life.

Seriously, my net income can be counted on one hand and I have an unhealthy addiction to name brand makeup and designer bags. Door busters are my kryptonite and when you combine that with Black Friday, I'm liable to go crazy on some sweet old Granny Sue who is just trying to buy her little Betty a Michael Kors bag for Christmas.

If you're anything like me, you have already begun to plan your assault on the mall. Sure, war-paint on my face and brass knuckles (shh, don't tell my hubby, they're illegal) may seem a little out there for some shoppers, but seriously, I'm a pro and that's just how we roll in the big leagues and you can either buck up or go to the food court where I send the rookies to cry. While you're there, get me a pretzel.

I want you to realize that what I'm about to tell you is monumental. Like, forget Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2, this right here is going to blow your mind! Okay, maybe not as big as Twilight because let’s face it, Edward Cullen is like the bees just shot straight through my knees, but it's like "OMG Martin Sheen isn't president and West Wing isn't real?" sort of shock.

As the most senior budgeteer, I feel compelled to give you my Black Friday secrets. Passed down from my mom and now to you, here is the scoop on how you can go black ops on Black Friday and get out nearly alive.

1. You can't spell team with an "I" (no literally, you can't, I tried).

On Black Friday, it is important more than ever to shop with a buddy. Not only is it an added safety measure, but take this instance for example.

You and some lady grab the last, pre-lit fake tree in the store. She pulls, you pull and you commence in the death stare. You might shove her a little and almost get away, but then a manager is called. He grabs the tree and he asks the question: Who was here first? All of a sudden, out of the fog, comes your friend otherwise known as "complete stranger number 1". "It twas she" yells your disguised BFF as she solely points to you. The manager then hands you the tree and the bystanders shun the other lady with the no-no finger.

Can you imagine if you didn't have someone to vouch for you? You could have seriously had to pay full price for that tree later. I shudder at the idea.

2. Make a list and check it twice.

On Thanksgiving day, I buy a paper and I sit down with my mom and go through every single sale paper (in the Valdosta Daily Times of course). Going into Black Friday blind is like a suicide mission. You won't even make it past the first line of defense (or the first row of door busters by the entrance). You need to know what you’re looking for so you can get to it first.

Make a list of all the items you want to snag and be sure to separate your list by stores. Know what time each store opens, and when each door buster ends.

A list is also good because it will actually help you save money. If you follow your list, then you won't get caught off guard by all the other sales like $1 socks. I'm not going to mention any names but someone whom I live with got caught at the door last year and my entire stocking was full of socks and $5 high definition flash nights. I may not be fashionable, but I am snuggly and illuminated. Just what every girl wants.

3. Don't let the casualties distract you.

You all know what a Black Friday casualty is. They are those crazy women running around with shopping carts from Sears through the entire mall who are rushing every table with a red clearance sign.

Think of it this way, if America suffered nuclear warfare at the hands of North Korea and most of the country became zombies, would you do like the zombies and start biting people, or would you run the other way? Duh! You would totally hide. So don't let your adrenaline convince you that those people are buying all of your treasures.

Take your time, think through your purchases and don't buy anything on impulse.

4. Not without coups, baby (if you know what this is from you deserve a gold star).

Just as Dane Cook once denied a little lady admittance into the BK Lounge for not having coups, you too don't want to be caught without coupons.

On Thanksgiving, I go through all my coupons, organize them and read all the fine print. That way, I know all the exclusions and I'm not stuck at the register being that person who’s yelling at the sales associate.

If you want to be super fancy, you can use an envelope to organize your coupons and put sticky notes on them with all the exclusions. However, this tip is only for the truly dedicated.

5. Don't go ninj’n nobody that don't need ninj’n.

Use the wise words of the YouTube redneck ninja. Don't completely lose your dignity on Black Friday. A sale isn't worth a fight, isn't worth a Belk parking lot smack down and certainly isn't worth getting arrested. This tip might not save you money per se, but it might prevent you from being a party to one of those hilarious social media videos of two shoppers going at it over some shoes. If your already tapped out of your dignity, please make sure you yell out "welcome to the octagon!" I just always thought that would be really funny to see.

Now that you know how to go black ops on Black Friday, here is my last bit of advice. Don't forget about your local businesses this holiday season. There is a myth circulating that local stores cost more money and that's not really all too true.

A lot of local businesses are having their own sales on Black Friday and on Small Business Saturday. Make sure you stop by, because you might just be surprised.

That's all I have for you this week, my black op budgeteers. Don't forget to like me on Facebook at and follow me on Twitter @VDT_Brittany. Happy early turkey day and as always stay classy!