Black Friday shopping tips: Get the bargains and keep your sanity.

We’ve all heard about the crazy deals shoppers can score on Black Friday, but all the hype can be intimidating! Here are some tips to help you get the bargains and make it home in one piece.

1. Check Out the Ads

Your local Thanksgiving Day newspaper will be stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with ads, coupons, and circulars. This will be your number one source to local Black Friday savings. It will also help you organize your day to maximize savings, since many stores offer special discounts that are time specific.

2. Do Your Research Before Friday

If you are hoping to scoop up a deal on Friday on a big-ticket item, go ahead and get your research out of the way as soon as possible. A bad product is a bad deal no matter how cheap it costs. Being knowledgeable about the products you want to buy will help you avoid being sucker-punched with loud advertising for poor products.

3. Make a List, Check it Twice

Be like Santa and make a list of who you want to buy for and who you don’t. Black Friday is perfect for impulse buys, but you don’t want to load up your cart with a lot of gifts that have no intended recipient. A good list includes all the major family members, plus all the extra people: your co-workers, babysitters, mailmen, etc. Think about everyone you know who might be expecting a treat and make sure they are covered.

4. Have a Plan

If possible, make a list of gifts you want to buy for each person. This not only saves time, but allows you to keep a budget of gifts and stay on track with intended purchases.

5. Bring the Ads

How many times have you tried to purchase a sale item that doesn’t ring up the correct price at the register? Grrrr. When you have the circulars with you, you’ll easily be able to provide proof and avoid annoying arguments with a salesperson or waiting around for a manager.

6. Shop at Insane Hours

It might sound like a burden to shop at 2am or rouse out of your warm bed to be at a store by 5am, but it’s only one day out of the year! If you’re serious about getting good deals, it’ll be worth it.

7. Fly Solo

On this particular day, shopping with a buddy will only slow you down because inevitably, you’ll spend time too much time chatting and browsing on another person’s agenda instead of your own. This day is all business. Get it done and get outta there.

8. Keep Your Receipts!

When you impulse shop, you’re bound to get things home and second guess purchases because of fit, need or you may even find it cheaper somewhere else. Be vigilant about a routine for storing receipts (keep them all in your wallet, a folder, or in each individual bag—but be consistent in your strategy). Make yourself aware of the return policies (some stores offer as little as 7 days to return items) and keep all required paperwork because stores are making it harder and harder these days to return and exchange items.

9. Save with “Triple Plays”

To save the most, combine the primary ways to save: buy items at a good sale price, use percent-off/dollars-off coupons offered by some stores to lower that price even more, and look for items that also have a cash back rebate. Ca-ching.

10. Be Patient

Lines, crowds and rude people, oh my. Shopping on this day will certainly test your inner strength, but stay focused, polite and push through. It’s only one day out of the year, after all.

PS: Don’t forget about online sales! Many retailers are offering Black Friday online which helps you to avoid those crazy crowds altogether! Check your favorite sites now for impending sales and alter your shopping list accordingly.

Happy Shopping!

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