Sharon Rowley, mother of six (and founder of Momof6.com), manages to finish all of her holiday shopping — and pocket incredible savings — on exactly one day a year: Black Friday. “I’ve been doing this for five or six years now, and depending on what I’m shopping for, I probably save anywhere from $1,200 to $1,500 each year.”
With her holiday shopping down to a science, we tapped Rowley for her secrets to Black Friday success:
Spot Leaked Deals Online
Rowley says Black Friday isn’t a day to just browse the mall. She scours the web for sale previews that trickle online via sites like BlackFriday.com and BFAds.net. She then focuses on those deals to create a list of discounted holiday gifts for her family.
Focus on Electronics
Next, she advises narrowing that list down to mainly electronics, which tend to see the most dramatic price cuts on Black Friday. But you don’t need to wake up early and head out into the cold for many of these bargains. Watch our video above to discover specific products Rowley thinks are worth waiting in line for, and what she says to skip since they’ll be the same exact price online.
Look for Bundles
From her past experience as a buyer for a department store, Rowley knows that electronics are often sold in bundles on Black Friday, where bonus gifts and other incentives are packaged with big-ticket products to offer added value to customers. This is one way to get more bang for your electronic buck. “Last year I got a great deal on a Wii console which came with two free games.”
Time it Right
Of course, retailers need to lure us in for their door-busters by offering some items exclusively in stores. But there’s no need to camp outside overnight with a sleeping bag. Rowley just makes sure she gets to the store 15 to 20 minutes before it opens to secure a parking spot and then stays warm in her car until the doors opens.
“Most stores will carry a quantity of an item for everyone who’s in the parking lot at 4 a.m. — just don’t be late!” she says.
Rowley also gets most of her door-busters on both Thanksgiving evening and early Friday morning, leaving plenty of time to come back home on Black Friday and complete the rest of her shopping online.
“The best part is, [I’m back home by] 7 a.m., I’m shopping online [just] as the mall parking lots are filling up. By the end of the day Friday, my holiday shopping is done.”
To survive the largest shopping day of the year Rowley also packs water and snacks, keeps her coat in the car to avoid getting bogged down, and brings a buddy to help divide and conquer.
What’s your best Black Friday strategy? Connect with us on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the #FinFit. And check out our Cyber Monday live chat on Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. EST on Yahoo News.