Mom Saves Money: Surviving Black Friday

If you don’t know her yet, you’ll want to.

Meet Nicole McDonald, blogger/owner/CEO of

Head over to her site. You’ll like it.

Know why?

Cause she tells us how to save money. 

Awesome. We could all stand to learn more about that.

And get this: Nicole has agreed to partner with me and offer a guest blog each Monday on Single Mom with Love.

It begins today.


Nicole McDonald,

Are you excited for the biggest shopping day of the year? I love the Black Friday deals, but let’s be honest: This day of shopping can be stressful.



Here you go.

My tips for maximizing your Black Friday shopping experience:

1. Preview the Black Friday ads and devise a plan – Where will you shop? What will you buy? What time do the stores open? Plot a map of the stores and make a road trip and time plan. Visit the store a few days before Black Friday to get a feel for where the deals will be placed. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your shopping trip.

2. Arrive early for door-buster deals. Quantities are usually limited, so if you really want a certain item at the sale price GET THERE BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. This is the only day of the year I willingly wake up before 6 a.m. Some stores offer freebies to the first 100 or so shoppers. Be aware that you may have to wait in line (outside, in the freezing cold) 30 minutes to an hour to snag a coveted freebie. I recommend some dollar-shop hand warmers and a good winter coat, scarf, hat and gloves.

3. Shop with several reusable bags instead of a cart. You can maneuver better through the store and won’t be stuck in shopping-cart traffic. Just place your purchases in your reusable bags and get your shopping done quicker.

4. Don’t take small children. If you’re serious about getting good deals, leave the little ones at home. They will slow you down considerably — and with large crowds, they’ll be safer at home, too.

5. Use the buddy system. If you make a shopping list and realize there is no way you can get all the door-busters you want, recruit a shopping buddy. Both want door-busters at separate stores that open at the same time? Make a list and you shop at one store for both of you and your friend shops at the other store for you. This way, both of you can get the deals you want. Or stick together but head to opposite ends of the store to snag the deals right away.

6. Stay safe and be respectful. Don’t push, shove or fight others over a deal. I only say this because I’ve seen it and it’s not worth getting hurt over a good deal. Also, keep your purse and wallet on you at all times.

7. Buy only what you need. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap. Think about what purpose the item has, who will be the lucky recipient or how you will use it yourself. I know it’s hard to pass up those insane deals, but no matter how steep the discount, remember, it’s still your money you are spending. If you don’t have a specific purpose for the item, buying something you don’t really need is just throwing away your hard-earned dollars.

8. Have Fun. Enjoy yourself and don’t take Black Friday too seriously. If an item is sold out, it’s sold out and there’s nothing you can do about it. No need to join the ‘angry mob’ (I’m sure you’ve seen these people who start yelling and get so mad an item is sold out when the ad specifically says limited quantities). Just relax, sip a latte and have fun shopping. Maybe even put on your favorite Christmas shirt or Santa hat and jam to some holiday music in your car to get in the holiday mood.

Let the shopping madness begin!

What other tips do you have for Black Friday shopping?

Nicole McDonald writes about freebies, coupons, deals and product reviews and hosts giveaways at


8 thoughts on “Mom Saves Money: Surviving Black Friday

  1. I really want to participate in Black Friday…I’ve already seen a few deals I think would be great for Christmas presents for my 3 boys…but my husband is VERY anti-Black Friday, just b/c of the craziness you hear about happening. It’s really frustrating for me.
    I did see WalMart is doing Thursday night at 10 p.m deals…so I will go to that, b/c it’s NOT BF and therefore I can respect my husband’s wishes, however silly they are. 😉


  2. I have a question about the Walmart deals open to anyone that has done Black Friday before…. Okay, so let’s say electronic deals start at 12:01am. Do they vacate the store at 11:30 then everyone has to re-enter? Can you “cheat” and just walk in at 11pm, grab the electronics you want, kill time until 12:01 then check out?

    I’ve never done Black Friday, but with all the extra hype and talk about it this year I am going to give it a go!


    • No, the store is open as usual. They have employees stand guard at the BF deals and ensure that no one snags one before the start time. Sometimes they even leave plastic wrap over the displays so people can’t cheat and grab one. When the sale startsand the employees give the go, it’s a mad rush to get the items you want. Good thing about this is that you can get there early and plot out your plan of attack. They place the BF items all over the aisles of Walmart and they can be really hard to find at times. When it’s go time you can quickly maneuver through the store and find what you want.
      Good luck and have fun!!


      • Thanks Nicole! I was starting to panic about not knowing what I am doing. I have officially turned into the creepy overzealous Christmas shopping Target advertisement lady (only I’ve got my sights set on Walmart this year). I like to have a plan, so I have literally mapped out the store now. Well, at least this should be interesting even if I walk away with nothing huh? 🙂


  3. Great tips, but #7 is hard to do. Sometimes you get sucked into the “it’s a good deal” mentality, so it’s important to think want vs. need or am I buying this with a good use in mind. #6 is really important. I’ll gladly walk away before I shove or push my way to buying a sale item. I don’t need anything that bad. I would love to have a shopping buddy, but I don’t. I never know from year to year if I am going until I have reviewed the ads. Great article.


  4. If deals start at 12:01 often times walmart has a line and thats when the deal begins…they do often have wrap on the big specials and sometimes people tear off and snag early…not saying you want to be one of them but if you happen to drive your cart by and half are gone…I would go ahead and grab it. Also you need a game plan..make a list of the MOST important things and try to get those first because some things do run out in a matter or seconds!! Walmart does price match but only for specific items and they do not honor buy one get one free, or percentage off..has to say like holiday barbie for x amount. Make sure you have your ads as they do check it on bf. To make it easier I would always have my list of items and write down which ad the match is in and what the cost is and on what page…I write the price match down so when I go to walmart if I wrote down Barbie for $10 and walmart has it for $9 then obviously not going to price match but can look quickly to see if its a better deal or not. If you dont write it down you’ll be wasting time flipping through the ads to price compare. When checking out having which ad your price matching written down next to the item with page # makes checking out much quicker to get out and move on or go home to sleep! =0) One more thing to remember with anywhere…be sure to get there early and if you think 15 min early is enough your wrong..last yr I went to Toys r us and ditched that efford because at an hour early line was WAAAAY long and there was no way I was going to freeze my butt I took my catalogue to walmart instead.


  5. I’m not sure there is a deal good enough to go out in that craziness!!!

    I always look at the ads, say I want something but I think I would almost have a mini meltdown if I had to deal with all that chaos! Anyone want to do my shopping for me?


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