Malibu Style: Thanks goodness it’s Friday

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To have a succesful shopping day on Black Friday, be sure to start early, plan what to buy ahead of time, stock up on basic items, shop locally and prepare to take advantage of sales happening the rest of the weekend.

With some of the year’s best shopping deals on offer, The Malibu Times’ resident shopping expert Andrea Park offers some timely advice on how to make Black Friday a success.

Everyone looks forward to turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, but for hardcore shoppers, the fun comes after the pumpkin pie. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and it can be overwhelming for even the bravest shoppers. This year is no exception, and it’s important to get a head start preparing for the big day.

Go local

In the mad dash to big box stores, it’s easy to forget mom and pop shops, but local businesses also offer great deals on Black Friday-and without the massive crowds and headaches. Malibu has a vibrant local retail industry, and scores of shops in the major local shopping centers are offering deals ranging from 10 to 30 percent off. Make a list of your favorite local stores and call to see if they’re participating.

Start early

Don’t overdose on turkey at dinner-you won’t want tryptophan to bog you down while you race for deals. While we recommend hitting the local businesses first, many people will venture to the big box retailers to check out their deals. Many of those stores are opening extra early this year—as in right after dessert on Thanksgiving day. If you want to rest up, then make sure you wake up early; many stores have additional offers in the morning that end in the afternoon, and you’ll want to get to the goods before the other customers have picked through them.

Stock up on staples

Savvy shoppers know that Black Friday is no time to find end-of-season, rock-bottom clearance items, especially for clothing. After all, stores are just starting to gear up for the holiday season. However, it’s smart to buy items that rarely go on sale, such as clothing basics, cosmetics or gift cards. These discounts may not seem significant compared to the doorbusters at electronics stores, but they’re worth your time if you regularly buy these items at full price.

Plan ahead

Several websites are devoted to Black Friday deals at national retailers. Sites like theblackfriday.com, blackfriday.info and bfads.net have scans of all major retailers’ circular ads, and on some of the sites you can even create shopping lists and compare deals between stores. It’s important to do your research ahead of time, especially for electronics. Map out what you want in terms of specifications and brands so you know exactly what you want before you hit the stores: Would you prefer a 42-inch Sharp television at Best Buy for $199.99, or a 32-inch Samsung television at Target for $277.99? Decide before the frenzy – you may find through your research that you really only need to go to one store for your purchases.

One long weekend

The deals don’t end on Black Friday. Many stores will continue sales through Sunday, but you can jump start your work week with Cyber Monday, when big retailers will offer new deals online. Discounts are usually not as deep on Cyber Monday as they are in stores on Black Friday, but you won’t have to brave the mobs or wake up in the middle of the night.

All are great options, but it’s even easier to pop in to a local store and see what is on offer right here in Malibu.