Your Guide to Black Friday Shopping- Part 1

Everyday this week we will be writing about Black Friday shopping.  Tune in each day for a new blog with tips and tricks on how to save money this year!  Our first Black Friday post is about what Black Friday is and how to decide whether or not you should participate.

What is Black Friday?  Black Friday is always the day after Thanksgiving, which is always a friday, and it is a day that many stores offer great discounts to customers both in store and online. According to, “The name “Black Friday” was coined by the Philadelphia Police in 1966 in reference to the chaos caused by massive traffic jams, car accidents and congested sidewalks and shopping centers that resulted from the shopping day. The more commonly known explanation, that stores operating at a loss for most of the year turned a profit for the first time on Black Friday, putting them “in the black,” appeared later.  Though the name “Black Friday” wasn’t coined until the 1960s, the tradition of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving dates back to 1924, the year of the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

The drawback to Black Friday sales is that you will probably have to stay up late or get up early if you want to get the deals at multiple stores.  Another negative is that you often have to wait in line to checkout for a very long time.  If you go when a store opens, it is not uncommon to have to wait 45 minutes or more to checkout.  Going to a store an hour or two after it opens can be beneficial because there will probably be a shorter wait or no wait at all.  However, stores often have only a limited supply of their sale items, and because of the huge volume of people (141 million people went shopping on Black Friday last year!) that go shopping on Black Friday, the stores are usually not able to restock items that run out.  Additionally, many of those sales may only be good for that day (no rain checks).

Traditionally, Black Friday sales started in the early hours of the morning.  Just a few years ago, the earliest stores would open would be 6 am.  In the past couple of years, many stores have pushed their opening hour earlier and earlier.  This year, some stores are even opening on Thanksgiving night!  Store opening times vary, so you have to check (here is one website: to see what time all of your favorite places open.  It used to be that stores all opened around the same time in the morning, so you really had to choose which store you wanted to go to the most.  One advantage to the earlier openings of some stores is that you can now be at multiple stores at their opening times as opposed to just one.  This can be a huge benefit because often the store has a limited amount of their great sale items, so “the early birds get the worms.”  In addition, many stores, including Target and Walmart, have staggered sales, meaning that some sales are only good for certain times during Thanksgiving or Black Friday.  Make sure you check the ads carefully, so that you go at the time when your favorite deals are offered.  For example, Target opens at 6 pm on Thanksgiving, but they are offering 10% off gift card purchases only from 6 am- noon on Black Friday.  In addition, Target has some deals that are only good on Saturday.  You will have to do your research and decide if you want to go to the same store multiple times over the weekend.

So is it worth it to go Black Friday shopping?  Many people are boycotting because they don’t want to go shopping on Thanksgiving.  That is completely understandable.  In my family, we always have Thanksgiving at noon, so we are back in town by the time stores open.  We usually go shopping as a family, and sometimes cousins or other relatives come with us, so for us, it is just an extension of Thanksgiving.  However, not everyone wants to stand in line just to give a store your money!  Keep in mind that it can be a great way to save money on gifts, and get a lot of your holiday gift shopping done at one time.  Stay tuned this week for Black Friday posts on Cyber Monday and online shopping, how to find the best deals and make sure they are actually a good deal, how to prepare and plan for Black Friday shopping, how to avoid overspending, and more!