If you're like me you have already started thinking about the holidays. I am looking forward to eating good food, spending time with my family and Christmas shopping (of course). Part of the fun of the Holiday season is partaking in the Black Friday sales. Orlando has amazing shopping. The Florida Mall and the Mall at Millenia continue to provide great retail shopping and designer stores from Gucci to Rolex. Orlando is also home to over 200 outlet stores. Almost every major designer has an outlet here. A few of my favorites are BCBG, Thomas Pink, Ted Baker.
Because I want you to have an enjoyable Black Friday, here are five tips that will help you make the most of your holiday shopping experience.
1. Shop before Black Friday.
Every Sunday I read the newspaper. for the past two weeks I have found some amazing deals on TVs, furniture, holiday china, purses and more. The prices I'm seeing are competitive with the deals offered on Black Friday, but without the drama. If you see something you want and it goes on sale, get it early. At some stores like Banana Republic, you can get a price adjustments if your item goes on sale within two weeks. Simply bring your receipt to the register and they will give you the difference in price.
2. Map out your strategy.
This is a critical piece. I have a great shopping spreadsheets, which lists the gift recipient, gift ideas, budget and past gifts. Are their items on your list that will sell out? Plan to get that item first or order it online.
As a child I asked for an Omnibot 2000 because I needed it to clean my room (or so I thought that is what it could do). My mother was notorious for beginning her shopping on Christmas Eve and it was sold out for years. Save your children from disappointment, plan your strategy and get your gifts early.
Also, consider the stores that you want to go to. It may be better plan a trip to the hardware store early to get some poinsettia's (they are usually $1 each). Early the stand alone hone store was not crowded. If I would have waited a few hours it would have been crowded.
3. Get help and bring cash.
Take a shopping buddy. They can stand in line why you shop. Also, the easiest way to not overspend is to bring cash and leave the credit cards at home. Black Friday will have some enticing sales including items that you did not plan to buy. The best way to stick to your budget is to use cash and to have an idea of what you are going to give.
4. Go early.
The malls are going to open on Thanksgiving now. Once you have your strategy, determine your plan of attack. Get to the mall early and plan to stay until the next morning. Most people will come to the mall after 8am on Friday. If you get their early and shop all night you avoid the crowds
5. Valet park if possible.
Most of the malls have valet parking. I strongly encourage you to get to the parking lot early and valet park (valet parking will sell too) . At the outlet mall, there is a regular valet parking and VIP valet service where you do not have to wait in line upon your return. Of course, the VIP valet is slightly more expensive, but well worth it if you want to maximize your Black Friday shopping time.