I have to admit that for years, about a decade, I avoided Black Friday and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I couldn’t believe the things that people would do to ensure they were first in line for their favorite deal. Because I associated Black Friday with acting crazy – the way people trample others or the mass consumption of completely needless stuff – I felt like I couldn’t take advantage of any sale for fear that I was condoning the craziness.
On Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t even look at the ads because I felt like the whole thrust behind the sales was eclipsing a day of family, gratitude, and contentment. How could I feverishly engage in gathering all the things I want and still maintain a spirit of Thanksgiving?
A few years ago, my family had multiple family gatherings to go to on the weekend of Thanksgiving and I found myself at our local Meijer on Thursday evening getting a few ingredients for a dish to pass the next day.
I could not believe the deals.
Christmas lists and presents aside, I felt like I would be a fool to not buy the things we normally buy in order to stock up.
The next year, I got the Meijer ad before Thanksgiving and planned ahead for what we would want to purchase for our family both for New Years (we have a tradition of exchanging presents on New Years and not on Christmas Day) and for everyday. Raising kids means buying lots of shoes, socks, pants, etc regardless of the time of year. And living in a cold weather state, we need lots of hats and mittens – so I would be a fool not to buy them for $1 rather than the full price.
Last year, I also stocked up on yoga pants from Meijer – the deal is the same this year too – buy one pair of pants get two pairs for free. And this year they’ve added the same deal for leggings and a whole 3 more pages of the ad of items with the same deal.
Starting to plan for Christmas in August this year also has saved me a lot of money and energy.
So as a homeschool mom, I have to take our budget into consideration and plan well in advance to take advantage of these sales in order to best provide for my family’s needs year round. And I’ve also discovered that I like to be done with Christmas shopping before December begins so that I only have to go to the store for my normal grocery shopping.
The older I get, the more anti-shopping I’ve become which is why I’m glad I’ve started to use Amazon more. I used to be the type that would want to see it and touch it in order to sense if it was the right gift. I thought I was being careful and thoughtful by trying to control the process of purchasing a gift by being so picky. But no, I was just adding more stress into what should be a joyful occasion. I’m learning to narrow down ideas of what I’d like to find, search for them, create a wish list (if necessary) and trust my gut. I’ve been able to buy almost 100% of the presents we will buy this year completely online.
This year, I’m hoping to finish up our Christmas shopping by November 30th only using 2 stores: Meijer and Amazon.
Christmas shopping can be simple.
Here are the lists I’ve created for my kids:
Don’t forget to Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial! Now is the best time to take advantage of their 30-day trial of Prime. You get 2 day shipping for free and a whole host of other deals specifically for Prime Members (like free unlimited photo storage in the Amazon Cloud). There’s an option for sending a “3-days in advance” reminder email to cancel the membership before you are charged so you can fully enjoy the benefits this time of year without having to pay for a whole year of Prime.
Check out the Meijer ads here. I prefer to shop at Meijer for a lot of reasons, and I can say from experience that the sales are similar each year, so if you haven’t had enough time to budget for extra spending now then plan ahead for next year. This is when you’ll want to stock up on kids shoes, coats, sweatshirts, etc.
How do you plan for Black Friday? What deals are most important to you?