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Do your homework: The first thing you need to do is determine who has the lowest prices for the items on your gift list. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through every ad for every store to see the best deals. There are a number of websites that post the Black Friday ads early, giving shoppers a chance to see the deals long before the big day. Easily compare prices at different stores by heading to Type the product name you are looking for in the Search box. Then a list of stores that have that item in their Black Friday ads, as well as the prices, will be shown. You can be as specific as you want in order to narrow down the list (like Sony Smart HDTV) or simply enter a keyword (like HDTV).

Plan your route: Once you decide which deals you want and where to find them, it’s time to map your route. Decide what products you want most and be at the store before it opens. Some shoppers will be in line hours before the sale starts. The best buys go quickly and most stores don’t issue rainchecks for the deeply discounted items. Walmart is offering a a 1-hour in-stock guarantee for the first round of their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. If they run out of the item between 6 pm and 7 pm, you can still buy the item at that time and they guarantee it will be shipped to the store by Christmas. See for more details. Keep in mind that some stores are offering multiple Black Friday events over the course of the weekend with different sales in each time period. See the ads for all the details.

Know the Policies: Make sure you know the policies on returns before you buy. Gift receipts are a great idea just in case the sweater doesn’t fit or your little one received five of the same toy. If your local store allows price matching, take advantage of this policy. During Black Friday, though, not all stores allow price-matching, even if that is their everyday policy. Some people buy items before the big sales and then plan to return them on Black Friday and immediately re-buy them at the lower sale price. Many stores that allow this during regular weeks will not allow it on Black Friday.

Shopping Day: If you approach Black Friday with a great attitude and sense of adventure, it can be lots of fun.

  • Shop with a friend to enjoy the experience even more.
  • Some families divide and conquer with mom going to one set of stores and dad going to another at the same time. Tip: let the kids sleep at Grandma’s the night before so you can get out and about without shopping “assistance” from the little ones.  Important – bring snacks and drinks. If you plan on going to multiple stores, early in the morning, you are going to need something to eat and drink. You need to keep up your energy for all that power shopping! You’ll also save time (and money) if you don’t have to stop for breakfast.
  • Wear comfortable shoes so you can get from store to store without aching feet.
  • Make sure you also stay safe. Try not to shop alone in the wee hours of the morning, if possible.

Online shopping and Cyber Monday: If any of the best buys you want are going to be available online, that’s a great way to avoid the crazy crowds and early hours. Many stores start their Black Friday sales online on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), allowing you to completely avoid the in-store chaos. The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday and there will be even more online deals offered by retailers. See for all the online deals as they become available.


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