Beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving, many U.S. retailers offer their largest sales and discounts of the year. Known as Black Friday, the name goes back to the year 1952, marking the point in the fiscal calendar when retailers began to turn a profit - going from "in the red" to "in the black" - due to the significant increase in holiday sales revenue.
Although the name "Black Friday" has been around for decades it wasn't until the early 2000's that it started to become the major holiday shopping event we recognize it as today. What began as a single day when retailers offered enticing deals on products to get customers into their stores after Thanksgiving has grown into a national consumer phenomenon that in some cases spans an entire month!
Black Friday 2018 lands on November 23rd. Expect stores to start their sales much earlier however, with some offering deals as early as the start of that week and others ramping up early Thanksgiving morning. Be sure to plan your own Black Friday experience well beforehand to make for a smooth shopping experience.
Know when stores are opening for Black Friday. Every store sets different hours for their Black Friday event, with some stores actually opting-out entirely. It's safe to assume that if you are hoping to grab some of the best Black Friday deals, you need to show up early. That may mean a 3am wake-up in some cases! Be sure to check ahead for special Black Friday hours on store websites or calling a few days in advance.
Research the Black Friday sale ads for each store. Check the websites or print flyers for the stores you are interested in to find out what products they're planning to discount for Black Friday. Best Buy and Walmart offer the widest selection of Black Friday deals in brick and mortar retail stores. GameStop and Target have great video game and console deals. Do your homework for the stores you are most interested in and figure out which deals are best for you.
Create a Black Friday shopping budget and stick to it. With so many stores offering such a wide range of massive promotions, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and spend more than you need. Make a list of the products and their prices you are hoping to buy during Black Friday, then compare that to a realistic budget that doesn't break the bank for you. If your wishlist of purchases is greater than your set budget, make the tough decision and slash a few things off your list. It may not be fun, but in the end keeping more money in your wallet is the best approach.
Most importantly, when you find yourself in the middle of the Black Friday shopping chaos, just remember to relax and try to have fun. While in the moment it may seem important that you get that limited stock, deep-discounted product, but don't stress yourself out! There are plenty of other holiday shopping opportunities than Black Friday, including the hassle-free Cyber Monday!