Usually on Thanksgiving I hit up the closest gas station (after my first cup of coffee of course) and get an old-fashioned newspaper that is FULL of ads. While all the hustle and bustle of getting the thanksgiving meal ready (for my family – less about turkey more about Cicatelli) I spread out all the ads and plan my strategy for Black Friday.
Black Friday might be a time when you are thinking about what you are getting for your children, office gift exchange, your family or let’s be honest - treating yourself! While there is absolutely no shame in that (hey – you’ve worked hard all year!), for me …it’s all things PLAY!
Being a Play Therapist is expensive. On the low end (like these kits here) it can take $70-80 to minimally stock an office…but the high end? You are talking thousands of dollars. From the toys, the furniture, the storage, and the rotating items like play dough, markers, and glitter. So. Much. Glitter.
I have always been on a budget to stock my playrooms and when I first went into private practice, you bet I bought everything from my doll house to my couch on Black Friday. I spent hours going through my list, flipping through ads, and making sure everything fit within my budget.
I wanted to drop my top 7 tips for Black Friday shopping as a Play Therapist!
1. Have a specific list – take stock of your playroom and identify the specific things you need to add or replace. Looking at all those ads across multiple stores can be overwhelming, especially if you are not sure what you are looking for or what you need. With a specific list it becomes easier search to find the best deal. AND don’t get things just to get things - if you get everything you want or is at a good price your Playroom will run the risk of looking full and cluttered!
2. Keep to theory - make sure that what you are buying is aligned with your theory and has a specific purpose in the Playroom. That life-size pony might look ahhhhhmazing BUT does it align with a specific purpose for play? AND what one play therapist is looking for on Black Friday might differ from the next due to theoretical orientation, types of children you work with, and most frequent techniques used!
3. Look at multiple stores – be willing to compare across multiple stores to see where you can get the best deal. Look for lowest price, best quality, most accessories, or most durable.
4. Be open to ALL stores – my favorite stores to by things at are Fleet Farm! Who would have known that a tractor supply store would have such a rocking selection of kids toys?
5. Order online + order early – Over the years I have enjoyed the transition from being up at 2am and in line at some store (which is quite cold in Minnesota in November and usually involved hand warmers) to sitting in my cozy pajamas on the couch clicking add to cart. Most stores offer some of the Black Friday sale product online. If this is the route you are going set a timer for when you will buy so you know when is the time to take all that loot to the checkout, seriously. Some things go quick online and if there is something you really have your heart on it could be gone quick. AND some stores will open sales online on Thanksgiving day – so read the fine print!
6. Set a budget – it is SO easy to start adding to cart (both online and in person) and at check out realize you overspent. There will be some good toys you will leave behind and that’s okay. As Elsa would say “let it goooo”!
7. Know your shipping and your map! If you are going shopping online make sure to see if a store has free shipping or a charge. Sometimes it is worth it to buy from the same place (if you have to be over a certain dollar amount) to save on shipping. If you are going in person (which, who knows in 2020?) make sure you are not zig zagging hours across town to hit all your stores. Plan a good route and have good coffee!
And there you have it – my top 7 Black Fri-PLAY tips!
Now, what are you thinking about for your Playroom this year? Drop a link in the comments if you come across any MUST HAVE deals for Play Therapists!
Not sure how to stock your Playroom or what you need? Check out this training HERE!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC, RPT-S, and EMDR Consultant. I help other therapists grow in their passions as play therapists, trauma therapists,and child and adolescent therapists.