Is it too late to dish about BLACK FRIDAY?  I say NO WAY!  The Deals, Steals, and Doorbusters went down exactly one week ago, and if you’re anything like me, it’s taken a full 7 days to recuperate from the all-night shopping spree.

I am a faithful Black Friday shopper.  I live for Black Friday.  Black Friday is evolving into a 2, 3, 4-day shopping extravaganza and I SUPPORT IT!  I know many people argue that it takes away from Thanksgiving and family time, but I disagree…sort of.  In my blog post about why I always shop at Kmart on Thanksgiving Day, I mentioned a few reasons why I felt it was OK if stores are open for the holiday.  I won’t get into those reasons again, but I will say this:  for many families, shopping on Black Friday *is* family time.

Last year, when Hurricane Sandy flooded the office building of the company Ron worked for, he was working from home over Thanksgiving.  It was the first time he was able to go with me–out into the night–in search of good deals.  Gabriel slept over at my parents’ house, and we had a terrific time.

And we really needed it, too.  You wouldn’t think it, but….it was really like a date night.  An all-night date night.  We had such a terrific time together that we were BEYOND excited to do it all over again for Black Friday 2013.

Black Friday 2012 at Five Below

Flashback:  Black Friday 2012  —  Five Below

My earliest Black Friday experiences always involved a plan, and almost always meant I’d be standing in line for a deeply discounted item.  Those Black Fridays were boring.  It was all wait-wait-waiting, awkward chit-chat with the people in line around me, and then home to get some sleep.

Black Friday is so much more fun when you go out with someone you enjoy spending time with.  It’s so much more fun when you go out without a plan…without your heart set on a particular doorbuster.  It is WAY better to be in the company of someone who loves to laugh as much as you do…who has a sense of humor and enjoys visiting stores and looking at all the cool and/or ridiculous merchandise that was put out for us to buy, wrap, and give away.

And if we happen to get some good deals while we’re out, well…halleloo.

Our first stop this year was Walmart.  Walmart has staggered doorbuster events, so it was REALLY nice to walk in at 9:30 PM on Thanksgiving Night and have more than enough personal space to push a shopping cart around or lay down on the floor and make dirt-angels.  We missed their 6 PM event and 8 PM event…in other words, we missed the frenzy over $2 bath towels and $4 mini crock pots.

Giant Lindt Lindor Truffle

I want to crack this bitch in half and bury my face in it.  Yaaaaaassss….

The lovely discovery at Walmart (other than the Enormous Lindt Truffle) was a container of 600 Legos for $15!!

Gabriel is SO interested in Legos (especially the Ninjago stuff), and well…  Ron and I are confused.  Somewhere in the time where his childhood and my childhood ended, and Gabriel’s childhood began…Legos evolved from “open-ended building blocks” to “insanely expensive themed kits.”

Also, somewhere…someone at Lego headquarters and Toys R Us headquarters decided the price point of a 1,000 piece box of Legos was fairly priced at $59.99….  Um, no.  NO.  Just no.  Especially NO when both of us are unemployed and have to stretch a dollar as far as possible to put some gifts under the tree this year.

We moved on to Rockvale Square Outlets where we were expecting the usual mob of bargain-seeking mothers going buckwild at The Children’s Place outlet.

A huge portion of Gabriel’s wardrobe is purchased at The Children’s Place outlet every year on Black Friday.  They always had 50% off the entire store (including clearance) and I always had a 20% Off Your Entire Purchase coupon to stack on top of the great prices.

I always, always buy ahead.  Other than a nice winter jacket (which, because of the excellent quality, I can get 2 solid winters out of)–nothing I buy on Black Friday will fit him.  I had $200 budgeted to spend on the “future wardrobe” and I wanted to get the most bang for my buck, especially since we’ve been unemployed.  Had it not been for my “buy-ahead” strategy, Gabriel would not have clothes that fit properly.  Ron was laid off on Valentine’s Day and I remember thanking God in June and again in September that I had lots of 3T and 4T clothes…all because I bought them larger than I needed, and in the off-season.  $2 shirts, $3 pants…they were purchased when we both had jobs and I was so thankful to have them.

Well…  The Children’s Place was a major disappointment.  HUGE.  First, it was only 40% off the entire store.  Then, I found exactly one measly clearance rack.  In years past, there were clearanced clothes galore.  I looked around for a few minutes and realized I was not about to pay more than a few dollars per piece of clothing, especially for the same old, tired, semi-recycled “varsity sports” style-ish boy clothing.

We were both surprised that we walked out empty handed.  We’ve always done so well there in the past.  I think we spent over $100 last year because we bought Gabriel a new winter coat, but the year before, I walked out with two huge bags of clothing for less than $100.

We were going to walk down the strip to Carter’s, just for the heck of it, and Ron suggested we go into a store called Hartstrings.  “That’s for just for girls,” I said.  “I think my sister used to buy some things there for her girls.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.  “Isn’t that boy stuff over there?”

I looked in through the window, and saw boy stuff.  We went in…I wasn’t expecting to find much, but I also didn’t really want to go into Carter’s…

The minute I laid my eyes on a rack of Puma track suits, I knew I was in the right place.  My kid can ROCK a Puma track suit.

pretty fly for a white guy

My BABY!!  When he was two…my wee little nugget.

Anyway, Hartstrings turned out to be one of the big (great) surprises of the night!  The entire store was 50% off (or more) and an additional 10% or 20% off….I forget.  There was a second outlet store and it was 75% off everything.  My wardrobe budget was exhausted but my kid will be clothed at least until Black Friday 2014.

Bonus:  he gets clothes for Christmas so the tree won’t look so bare on Christmas morning.

We found a great clearance deal at Kmart…this boy is obsessed with these things called Monsuno.  He discovered them last year, and we thought they were overpriced, crappy, jointed robot-like animals and nothing more.  Shit, I still don’t know what they do or what their purpose is.

But he found one at Goodwill once, and it was cheap, so we let him have one.  OMG, he loves the damn thing.  And shame on us–we should’ve known better, because Gabriel loves small animals.  He’s never been into cars and trucks, it’s always been tiny plastic animals, reptiles, dinosaurs, snakes, etc.  Of COURSE he fell in love with Monsuno when he first spotted them.

Monsuno_Core-Tech_Lock

He has this guy (but I think he’s gray).

Well.  Kmart had all this Monsuno stuff on clearance, plus an additional 20% off.  What a wonderful surprise!  The Monsuno figures were under $3 each, which totally fits our unemployed budget.

We stopped in at a Toys R Us outlet, and found….get this—action figures from Papo for 75% off!!  Papo is a French company that makes highly detailed figurines for play or for collecting.  (Similar to Schleich).  These sets were originally $39.99–they were from the Fantasy collection.  They are “Mutants.”  I can’t find a picture of what we got…they came two to a package.  I know for sure one of them was a crocodile and a Crocodile mutant Knight.

papo crocodile mutant

The kid…is going to LOSE HIS MIND.

I’ve always been a frugal person…well, always tried to be, at least.  I love a good deal, but I’ve gotta tell you–I feel incredibly blessed to have found some AMAZING deals on things my son loves.

I know, I know….Jesus is the reason for the season.  Absolutely.  But we DO the Santa thing, too.  In 2008, 2009, 2010–he was too young to “get it.”  In 2011, he came down with a nasty stomach virus on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day was horrible for us.  We didn’t get to see my family (didn’t want them to get sick) and Gabriel didn’t have energy to open more than 3 gifts.  Last year, he finally GOT IT….the excitement of the magic of Santa…  I loved it…because I have such wonderful memories from my childhood Christmases.

I really didn’t know how we were going to put gifts under the tree this year.  It was like those Monsuno, those Papo figurines, and those beautiful clothes from Hartstrings were calling to us–while everyone else was going nuts over Doorbusters, we were having a relaxed, enjoyable, and blessed Black Friday together, playing “Santa Claus” within the budget we had established.

In a way, it’s like a little Christmas miracle.

santa claus knows what you did last night

I found this in a candle shop and loved it, but figured I could make something just like it and give it to me, from me!

macpainterly

MAC Paint Pot Spoiler Alert!

Santa knows I’ve been a good girl and had a bad year, so he’s putting this “WAY UP HIGH ON MY LUSTY COSMETICS DESIRE LIST” MAC Paint Pot in “Painterly” in my stocking.  You don’t know the amount of restraint it takes to pretend this Paint Pot is not in my home right now.

IMG_2705 copy

What does the fox say?

Um, nothing appropriate, I assure you.  I have a mouth on me, and even *I* can’t repeat that vulgarity that came forth from his foxy little mouth.  He reeked of alcohol, though.  I think all the attention from the sudden thrust into the public spotlight is taking a toll on him.  He’s Amanda Bynes-ing.  He’s Lindsay Lohan-ing.  He’s Charlie Sheen-ing.

IMG_2707 copy

YUM–Mr. Sticky’s Sticky Buns were on sale for Black Friday, too!

And finally, this was me on Friday afternoon.  Last stop–Best Buy.  Second to last stop–Mr. Sticky’s.  At this point, I had been awake since early Thursday morning and I was wearing this makeup for 24 hours.  I wanted carbs, a shower, and sleep.  For a long time.  And that’s precisely what I did.

I…   Love…  Black…  Friday.

What about you?  Leave me a comment and tell me if you got any great deals…or if you stayed home and away from the crowds!

And hey!  Do me a solid and join the Glitter and Bruises community on Facebook HERE.  I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU FOR IT.