Decoding Holiday Shopping: How to Make the Best of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Five tips to help prepare oneself for the craze of holiday shopping


With America’s most iconic shopping days—Black Friday and Cyber Monday—coming up, holiday shoppers are eager to find the best deals for gift buying while spending the least amount of money possible. To find the best deals and get the best results, follow some simple tips to achieve a successful shopping weekend:

Check emails or online for deals on target items.

If shoppers are planning on visiting certain stores, it is beneficial for them to already be receiving emails with deals from those stores. If shoppers do not receive these emails already, the best way to find out the deals these stores will offer is to check their websites; stores will usually have deals for the general public displayed on their home page. Yet, it is a shopper’s advantage to sign up for emails because occasionally businesses will release member-only deals or higher discounts for members. Usually, cashiers will ask for an email at check out and this will prompt them to add the email to their mailing list.

Prepare the day before.

If a shopper starts shopping at midnight, they will be more productive when they are wide awake, alert and focused on their ultimate goal. Shoppers should make sure to get up later in the morning, and integrate some caffeinated beverages into their day to ensure they are completely well-rested and awake. To maximize time, shoppers should plan out everything they need to buy so that they can come into the mall prepared, with wiggle room for deals they may find along the way. Also, shoppers should set a maximum amount for how much they will spend at each store so they do not go overboard and accidently splurge on unnecessary items.

Get comfy.

Whether shoppers are spending the day walking around a shopping mall or sitting on their couch endlessly scrolling through online shopping sites for deals, comfy and light clothes will be their best friend. The last thing a shopper needs walking around a shopping mall is to be carrying their heavy winter coat around along with their shopping bags as they sweat through all their other clothes. Shoppers should also have comfy shoes because with big shopping malls comes a whole lot of walking, so it is best to be prepared with sneakers or other comfy shoes.

Find good locations.

The best way to find shopping malls with the least amount of people is through experimentation. Think about past locations on Black Friday and if they were busy and at what time. Usually, the best time to go is in the early morning, when late night shoppers have finished and the craziness has settled.

Less popular locations for Black Friday include Legacy Place in Dedham and Patriot Place in Foxboro, ideal locations for shoppers looking for a less stressful environment. As for Cyber Monday, if shoppers organize which stores they are going to buy from, as well as what order to get crucial items in before they sell out, they can keep themselves on track and can avoid spending too much money.

Find a group.

It is beneficial to shop in groups of friends who will give shoppers good insight to what they are choosing to buy. By being restrained from buying pointless items, or even getting a second opinion, friends will make a shopper’s trip more manageable and productive. On Black Friday especially, cheap items can look very inviting to half-awake adults and teens, but in reality they may be uselessly shoved into the back of a closet and deemed a pointless investment. Even online shopping with a group of friends will help: they can look over shopper’s online shopping cart, give advice and opinions and sometimes shopping with friends is much more fun than shopping alone.

This year, Black Friday is on Nov. 23, and Cyber Monday is on Nov. 26, which leaves shoppers plenty of time and opportunities to get all of their holiday shopping done. If shoppers prefer to delay their holiday shopping, holiday sales with various price deductions are usually offered at most stores all throughout the month of December, even if it is last minute.