Thanksgiving week isn’t only a time for eating turkey and visiting with family; it’s also a prime occasion for bargain shopping. Feedback from our community indicates that parent group leaders use Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) as opportunities to look for more than just discounted holiday gifts. Here are Black Friday tips from leaders—items you can consider purchasing at substantial discounts on Black Friday to save money for your group, either for the holidays or later on down the road, as well as other ideas for getting the most from your shopping experience.

Holiday shop all done? Thank your volunteers so they’ll be ready to help next year

Items You Can Really Save On

  • Kindles for bingo nights

  • Heavy-duty items for events: folding tables and chairs, slow cookers, etc.

  • Prizes for upcoming events

  • Board games for classrooms or after-school programs

  • Sports equipment for playground carts or field day

  • Items for do-it-yourself holiday shops

  • Holiday gifts for a teacher (and for later in the year)

  • Remaining Halloween and fall-theme clearance items for fall carnivals

  • Prizes—even some big-ticket items like iPads—for basket raffles

  • Preapproved equipment for the school (computer, iPads, TV)

  • Toys and other items to donate for a collection, children’s hospital, or a “giving tree” at the school

  • Items to enhance STEM learning like Lego and magnet toys

  • Toiletries and hygiene items to donate to shelters

  • Children’s clothing items (socks, undershirts, underwear, etc.) for the school nurse to keep for emergencies

Tips for Black Friday Shopping

  • Don’t try to wing it—search the ads and make a plan (check websites like for major stores’ sales)

  • Many sales are online, so you can bypass crowds and lines by ordering from home and/or requesting in-store pickup

  • Bring a friend if you can—lots of deals are limited to one or two per person, so you’ll be able to buy more of them if someone else is along

  • Forego the cart and bring a large shopping bag that will allow you to get through the crowd more easily

Photo credit: Diariocritico de Venezuela/CC BY 2.0

Originally posted in 2017 and updated regularly