Your wallet isn’t the only thing to remember when you venture out into the crowds for Black Friday shopping. To improve the quality of your shopping experience, we’ve put together a list of essential items that no Black Friday shopper should be without.
Before you head out the door for this year’s sales, make sure you are equipped with these five things:
1. Black Friday Ads and Coupons
Whether you have a paper copy or digital record, make sure to bring the ads with you to the store so that you can refer back to the prices and model numbers. It also means you can check the fine print to ensure that the deals really are as good as they seem.
Copies of the ads can be especially useful if you haven’t finalized your shopping list yet and can be used if you need to prove a discount.
2. Snacks and Water: Sustenance for Survival
Running around on your feet in search of all the items on your list is a recipe for dehydration.
By keeping a water bottle with you, you’ll be able to stay hydrated easily, giving you more energy to keep shopping and minimize feelings of frustration and exhaustion. When you’re running low, you can always refill it at the restroom sink.
Don’t forget to pack a snack or small lunch, depending on the time you plan on spending at the stores.
If you’re not going to stay at the store for more than a few hours, a snack should suffice. Granola bars and packages of nuts are great ways to get an energy boost.
To provide longer periods of sustained energy, go for snacks high in protein, fat and fiber. Think almonds, not Cheetos. If you’re planning on a devoting the whole day day to hunting for deals, prepare a sandwich in addition to your energy-boosting snacks.
3. A Notebook in Your Pocket
Keep a small notebook or notepad in an easily accessible pocket. Include a list of the items you’re looking for and the prices you’re willing to pay for them.
In case you come across any surprise bargains, carry notes on your friends’ and family members’ sizes and favorite colors. Writing this information down on paper rather than storing it digitally means that it’ll be easier for you to find in the rush and it will lower the likelihood of dropping or losing your more expensive phone or tablet.
4. The Right Footwear
Since you’ll be on your feet all day, dress wisely. Choose comfortable shoes that will offer support, as if you were going out for a run or a long walk.
Athletic shoes and hiking boots make great choices, but don’t forget to take the weather into consideration.
If you’re planning on camping outside the store before it opens, opt for warm shoes that will keep your feet toasty despite chilly temperatures. Thick-soled shoes with breathable socks will keep you warm and comfy.
5. Secure Handbag or Backpack (or Go Without)
When you’re choosing a bag for Black Friday shopping, go for something that closes securely and features a strong, comfortable shoulder strap. Avoid totes that lack zippers and sacrifice form for function. Wear your bag across your chest, so that it doesn’t fall off easily and can’t be grabbed.
If you’re using a backpack, don’t put your wallet in a pocket that can be accessed by the pickpockets that flock to Black Friday crowds. Instead, keep it as close to your body as possible, preferably in a zippered pocket in your clothing, or in a hidden pocket on the side of the bag that touches your back.
Alternatively, skip the bag entirely and opt for a vest with lots of pockets. This tip, offered by lifestyle guru Laurin Sydney on NBC’s “Today” show, means your arms will be free while your necessities remain within easy reach.
Make sure to put your wallet, keys and phone in an inner pocket, and avoid vests with open pockets. If you choose a vest made of thin material, you’ll avoid overheating and have room to fill the pockets with all your supplies.
Regardless of which option you go for, make sure to pack compact, expandable bags to carry your loot home.
Written by Melinda Szell
Shopper with tablet image via Shutterstock