A College Student’s Guide to Navigating Black Friday

A College Student’s Guide to Navigating Black Friday

Know how you can get through Black Friday without breaking the bank. // Photo Source: Post-Gazette

Brace yourselves: Thanksgiving is coming. And the arrival of the holiday also means that people everywhere are gearing up for Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving where plenty of people flock to retail outlets and shop for various products at deeply discounted prices. For college students on a budget, the opportunity to go shopping without breaking their savings account is definitely encouraging. However, the thing with Black Friday is that it can get very intense; what with hordes of shoppers scrambling around aisles to grab all the things they want before the store runs out of stock.

So how should college kids go about Black Friday without sending themselves into panic mode? This handy game plan below should help them out when they’re planning to get their cheap retail therapy fix the day after Thanksgiving.


Do your research first

Prior to the long Thanksgiving weekend, most major retailers often release details of what deals they will be offering for Black Friday. Go online and check the websites of those retail outlets to see which products are applicable for the discounts they are offering, especially if you're looking to restock on useful essentials like school supplies or rewarding yourself after a hard year of studies with some well-earned video games or electronics. Print out copies of the advertised offers in case there will be discrepancies when you arrive at the stores.

Additionally, find shopping locations that are the closest to your area so you’ll be able to get there quickly before the doors open for business. For some retailers, lines for Black Friday sales start the night of Thanksgiving and people often camp outside the stores to secure their spots. However, if you're not willing to camp out for the sale, then it's best to set your alarm to a very early time and then head over to a retail outlet that does not require a very long commute so you'd still have a good chance of being in line before others arrive.

Come to the store prepared

When you arrive at your chosen retail outlet, you have to be ready for a lot of people waiting in line before the store opens. Have your phone fully charged so that others can contact you in case of an emergency. To relieve boredom while you're in the queue, you can fiddle with your phone doing things like playing games, watching videos, or listening to music. You'll need a boost of energy to weave in and out of the crowd inside the store, so bring snacks like an energy bar plus a bottle of water to keep you going.

When the store finally opens, remain calm and be patient and polite, especially to the store employees, who are working during this big holiday. If you're planning to get a lot of stuff on sale during Black Friday, then try to bring a friend along so you'll have company and you can split the shopping and queuing between you.

Don’t forget your student ID

Certain retailers often have student discounts, so use this to your advantage on Black Friday. Make sure to bring along your current student ID if you are shopping at a store that is known to offer discounts to students. While the prices of products may already be marked down on Black Friday, you may potentially get a little more for your money if a student discount is applied on top of that. Not all retailers may do this, so don’t be afraid to ask shop assistants or managers if student discounts are applicable during Black Friday.

Stay within your budget

If you have your eyes set on particular items, it’s best to stick to your shopping list. The temptation to make impulse buys during Black Friday can be very strong, but you need to remind yourself that you are on a budget. Remember that you also have to pay for daily expenses like food, laundry, and transportation, and that you can only afford to buy the things you’ve already committed to getting weeks before. But just in case you can’t resist the urge to get something extra you didn’t plan for, make sure to set aside a certain amount that would be enough to cover the spontaneous purchase.

And if you feel like shopping online for post-Thanksgiving deals, you could always hunt for great deals during Cyber Monday. You could even use this opportunity to buy things for your graduation ahead of time so you won't have to think about it later.

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