5 editor-tested sale shopping tips for getting exactly what you want on Black Friday

If you’ve ever been in the midst of an H&M collab opening or a Black Friday sale, you know that if you don’t stand your ground, you will watch your treasures slip away before your eyes. It’s hard to wait on the sidelines and see your frenemies snatch up the very stuff you’ve long coveted (we’re looking at you, M2Malletier). This year, you’re in luck with our editors top tips on snagging the best deals—and trust us, these people love saving money and shopping. So read our sale-shopping tips before the clock strikes 11:59 p.m. on Black Friday Eve.

Make a wish list

It’s easy to get excited about saving money when you see sales for 70 per cent off, thinking about the money saved rather than the money spent. “Something isn’t a bargain if you don’t really love it,” says editor-in-chief Bernadette Morra. “I try to approach a sale with a wish list and stick to it. I had my eye on a sparkly VBH clutch for a few seasons. Then one Boxing Day at The Bay it went on a triple markdown—what a score! It’s a modern classic that I always feel good pulling out for fancy occasions. Those are the best bargains: special things that you wouldn’t normally splurge on.” This applies to basics, too. “I make a list of things I want before I go, so I’m not wandering around aimlessly,” says associate digital editor Suzie Michael. That means if I want a winter coat, I’m only looking at winter coats. If I forgot to put something on the list, it means I probably don’t think it’s as important, so it can wait.”

Keep tabs on your must-haves—literally

“I feel like any good shopper has a bit of stalker in her,” says executive digital editor Randi Bergman. “I get to know my favourite store/site’s sale periods so that I can hold off until the price is at its lowest—i.e. wait until about three to five weeks after the first sale announcement—OR I strike while the iron’s hot on an item I know will sell out fast, like after the first markdown. Another thing that works is to keep tabs open on your favourite items online and refresh them a few times a week to see what’s going on. If the sizes are seriously depleting, make your call quick. If not, you can play chicken with them until it gets marked down, and marked down, further.” You can also fill your online carts with the things you want, says photo editor Erin Reynolds. “Then add in the promo code on the sale day and see if it’s worth buying any of my cart items. This way I don’t just blindly buy things with a deep discount; it’s stuff I actually want.”

Dress appropriately

There’s no time for wardrobe malfunctions during sale shopping—meaning heels and puffy coats stay at home. The key here is agility and speed (those bootcamps you’ve been doing come into play here.) “I always wear my shopping uniform: T-shirt and jeans,” says online contributor Renée Tse. “During sale periods, the changing rooms tend to get busy, so this outfit allows me to try on coats and sweaters easily on the shopping floor. Since these pieces are so basic, they almost always go with anything I try on during my shopping trip.” Our market editor, Caitlan Moneta, agrees with Tse. “There’s no time to wait in long lines for a change room. I dress in a slim long-sleeved tee, leggings and slip-on flats so I can pop items on and off without having to get undressed, and stow the bare basics in a little cross-body bag for hands-free shopping. Elbows out!” If you want to avoid the try on-take off spin cycle, stick to shopping for accessories. “Scarves and jewellery are foolproof because they’re one size fits all,” says senior editor, fashion news Sarah Casselman. “While everyone is racing to the clothing racks, make a beeline for the marked down extras. A printed scarf or a pair of statement earrings have timeless appeal and instantly update any look.”

Be practical (it’s boring, but it works)

Before you go to shop, set your budget. “It sounds horribly boring,” says copy and health editor Emilie Dingfeld, “but this will spare you that heart-sinking moment when your credit card bill is way higher than you anticipated.” It can be far too tempting to just grab a few things—remember, a few things on sale can add up to something you really need that’s regular price. You can also save money in the future by shopping smart (and saving money now on something you have to buy later is money in the bank). Beauty director Lesa Hannah does this with her kids’ clothes. “I will buy a size up for my kids so that I can stock up for when they’re bigger.” When it comes to paying with credit cards, Executive editor Jacquelyn Francis is particular about her plastic. “I have a credit card that is dedicated for online purchases (my preferred method on Black Friday. I keep the spending limit on that card relatively low so I don’t a) overspend or b) if it gets compromised (which happened last year) it won’t wreak havoc on my automatic withdrawals or affect my husband’s purchases.”

Rest your feet for a free movie later

Shop till you drop, then head to your favourite couch to take in a film—and soak your feet at the same time. “Take a movie break from Black Friday’s hectic endorphin rush and watch a movie, free of charge,” says features editor Elio Iannacci. “It’ll help you clear your head and get away from the crowds for a few hours so you can focus. Cineplex has an amazing deal going on right now. You can get a free ticket to the movies if you download a classic film at home—$9.99 before tax—from I plan on digitally renting Xavier Dolan’s Mommy so I’ll be able to see Cate Blanchett in Carol, (in theatres Dec. 11), for no charge.”