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Black Friday Shopping Tips

5 Tips for Efficient Black Friday Shopping

Posted on 11/18/2012 15:52 EST

It's no secret that Black Friday means long lines, crowded aisles, and general chaos. If you plan to head out to the stores come Black Friday, be prepared. Here are five tips for effectively and efficiently conquering the best Black Friday deals without letting the day take its toll on your time and your wallet.

Photo by flickr.com/366206689

1. Make a Plan of Attack.

Black Friday is a shopping day like none other, so have a plan in place before leaving home. And that means doing some research in advance. In line with your Black Friday list and budget, determine which stores are offering the best Black Friday deals. Rank the stores in order by best Black Friday deals on your must-have items, with the most critical must-haves at the top. For example, if a new cordless drill is the gift for dad and it trumps other planned purchases and Ace Hardware boasts the best Black Friday deal, head there first. If possible, plan to hit up stores near each other so you aren't driving all over town; this tactic may require some flexible arranging of your gift priorities, however.

2. Shop with a Buddy.

It pays to shop with a buddy on Black Friday. For one thing, there will be long lines no matter where or when you shop and if you've forgotten something, a buddy can keep your place in line. Moreover, Black Friday shopping can be hectic and having a friend along can help lighten the mood and keep your overtired body and stressed-out mind from making rash decisions. And finally, if you absolutely must take advantage of two really best Black Friday deals at the same venue, you and your shopping partner can split up and each snag the desired items.
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3. Be Early.

Once you have your Black Friday shopping plan in place, find out when the stores will open. Your actual time of arrival should depend on what you're buying. If you're after one of the big door-buster deals, chances are there's only a limited supply on hand so you should be one of the first through the door; yup, that means getting there before the store opens and standing in line. Planning to arrive at least two hours ahead is a safe bet this Black Friday, particularly if you're eyeing that super-big deal. If you're just going to shop around, an early arrival means beating the worst of the crowds and getting the best pickings.

4. Arrive Prepared.

If you're expecting to wait in line for the doors to open on the best Black Friday deals, be prepared to hold onto your spot no matter what. That means dressing for the weather, bringing a snack and a drink, having a book or the above-mentioned buddy. Whatever is going to help you stay in line is nonnegotiable.

Once you get inside, you must also be prepared. If you're targeting just one best Black Friday deal, make sure you know exactly where to find it (part of your research plan calls for scouting out the merchandise layout ahead of time). If that deal is available only in limited quantities, have a back-up Black Friday deal in mind. For example, if you're wanting the best HDTV deal from Walmart and the store runs out before you snatch it up, being knowledgeable about other HDTV Black Friday deals will help you find something similar and save you from leaving empty handed, or worse -- buying something that isn't right for you.

5. Check Online.

Believe it or not, many people choose not to shop the stores on Black Friday, and maybe they're onto something. Ecommerce, anyone? Even before the appointed day, check websites to see if retailers are offering similar online Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. Also check Black Friday tips from other site like ConsumerWorld.org. Maybe, just maybe, you can catch a few extra hours of sleep and do your Black Friday shopping from the comfort of your own home this year.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

Filed in: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Frugal tips, Shopping
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