If you keep striking out on scoring the best Black Friday deals online, get some rest Thanksgiving.
It’s time to start thinking about Plan B – waking up early Friday to hit the stores.
With few exceptions, retailers are keeping stores closed on Thanksgiving and many are opening up as early as 5 a.m. Friday. (See the full list of Black Friday store hours here.)
While last year was considered the quietest Black Friday in decades, more shoppers are expected to show up in stores Friday.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, 64% are expected to shop in stores Friday compared to 51% last year.
►Is Black Friday worth it?:Here’s how to save, when to shop for deals and maybe score a PS5
►Black Friday 2021 deals:The absolute best deals this Black Friday from Walmart, Target, Best Buy and more: Live updates
Online shopping also continues to grow and stores are promoting curbside and in-store pickup. According to Adobe Analytics, consumers have spent $72.2 billion online Nov. 1 through Tuesday, which is nearly 20% growth from 2020 and shows that many consumers have started shopping early.
“If an item is on sale during Black Friday, and the price is good, buy it. Think of Cyber Monday as a second chance to snag items that sold out during Black Friday sales,” McGrath said. “Because retailers generally repeat their deals, you’re limiting yourself if you wait until Cyber Monday.”
Still, you need to approach Black Friday with a plan and a simple tool kit, especially for in-store shopping.
Black Friday 2021 tool kit
If you are shopping in stores this Black Friday or anytime during the holiday season, here are a few things to bring with you. Some items vary depending on where you are shopping.
Smartphone: Mobile devices are the key to saving from coupons to rewards programs. You can also take advantage of contactless payment options, scan for prices and find where in the store the item you’re looking for is located.
Phone charger: Shopping in stores while also placing online orders, sending photos of your Black Friday finds and monitoring social media can cause your phone to drain. Be prepared by bringing a portable charger or power bank.
Store ads: Optional. If you have physical holiday ads, bring them along and fold down pages of what you want.
Snacks and drinks: Stay hydrated for all the walking you’ll be doing. Having a protein bar is helpful to keep going.
Receipts: Hold on to all receipts. It’ll make returns easier and some receipts are needed for rebates. (Bonus tip: Do not forget to mail-in rebates and then use the rebate cards or cash any checks before they expire.)
Patience: Be prepared for disappointment and figure out alternative gift ideas in advance.
Black Friday during COVID
It’s the second Black Friday of the pandemic and much has changed with vaccines now available. Here are things to bring to stay safe with some being required depending on where you shop.
Mask: Back for the second year is a face covering. Some stores won’t let you in the door without it.
Vaccine card: Some cities or states will require proof of the COVID-19 vaccine before entering businesses. Here’s how to add it to your smartphone, if you prefer to use a digital copy.
Hand sanitizer: Stores will provide the COVID essential, but it doesn’t hurt to carry your own.
Social distance: Not something to bring with you, of course, but keep in mind we’re still in a pandemic. Especially while waiting in lines and at the checkout, remember to keep as far as part from your fellow shoppers and store employees as possible. If shopping with family or friends, consider splitting up to limit the number of people around other shoppers.
More Black Friday sales and news
►Best Walmart Black Friday deals:Save on Apple, Instant Pot, Samsung TVs, DNA Tests, and more (Updating Live)
►Samsung Black Friday deals:Save on the Galaxy, TVs, phones and more
►Amazon Black Friday deals 2021:Live updates on Amazon’s Black Friday deals on AirPods Pro, LEGO and more
►Nordstrom Black Friday deals:Get up to 50% off at Nordstrom’s massive Black Friday sale—save on Spanx, UGG, Nike and more
►Coach Black Friday 2021:These are the best Coach Black Friday deals on purses, wallets and more
►Holiday shortages 101: Tips to avoid holiday shortages by hitting Black Friday sales and buying lightly used gifts
►Best Black Friday laptop deals: Shop the best Black Friday 2021 laptop deals from Amazon, Best Buy and more