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15 Black Friday Shopping Tips

by on November 23, 2012 7:13 AM

With Black Friday upon us, The Centre County Gazette offers some tips for those of you headed into the madness on Friday morning — and in some cases, Thanksgiving night:

1. Beat the crowds with night owl discounts on Thanksgiving: Many stores are now opening late Thanksgiving night for those who would rather rest and avoid the 3 a.m. lines. After sleeping off the effects of the tryptophan, shoppers can head to stores like Target and Toys ‘R’ Us at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.

2. Do your research and check out the ads before Black Friday: Instead of waiting to check out Black Friday deals at stores, shoppers should gather Black Friday flyers ahead of time. Shoppers should also check store websites and Black Friday online listing for deals. This will give them an idea of which stores they should head to for certain purchases and what stores have the best deals.

3. Make a list: After looking through ads and store sites, make a list of items to be purchased on Black Friday. In doing so, shoppers will make the hectic early morning a little less crazy for themselves.

4. Compare prices: When looking through ads and creating your list, compare item prices. Oftentimes, numerous stores will have Black Friday deals on the exact same item, so shoppers will want to make sure they are getting the best bang for their buck.

5. Look for early bird shopper discounts: Check flyers and websites for doorbuster deals that can only be redeemed during the earliest hours of Black Friday. Many stores only have a certain quantity of doorbuster items, so shoppers should aim to be at the beginning of any lines that form outside the door.

6. Map out your day: Shoppers should make a plan of which stores they need to visit at which times. Because of doorbusters and limited quantities of certain hot items, shoppers need to plan accordingly. Choose to visit the stores with the best deals first.

7. Familiarize yourself with the stores: In case of long lines or crowds, shoppers should be familiar with stores’ layouts. By knowing where items are located within the store, shoppers have a better chance of snagging the items at the top of their lists.

8. Bring ads with you on Black Friday: In case of confusion, shoppers should carry all Black Friday ads with them. Because the day can be confusing for shoppers and store employees alike, it is better to have the printed materials displaying Black Friday deals.

9. Stay focused: And because the day can be confusion and a bit crazy, shoppers should stay focused on their goals. By sticking to the list they created a few days before, shoppers will have a much better Black Friday experience.

10. Only shop the deals: Focus your time and energy Bon lack Friday exclusives and save the rest of your Christmas list for later. Black Friday sales are for one day and one day only. They are a must get. Other items may go on sale closer to the holidays, so they can wait.

11. Ask for gift receipts: No matter the day, shoppers should always ask for gift receipts. But in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, colors, sizes and many other options may be forgotten. By asking for a gift receipt, shoppers make it much easier to return a Black Friday purchase.

12. Use store credit cards: Some stores offer extra discounts on Black Friday merchandise if shoppers use store specific credit cards. But shoppers must make sure they don’t max out these cards. Black Friday can be an exciting shopping experience, so all shoppers should set a limit and stick to it.

13. Get enough rest to deal with the crowds: Because no one likes to deal with a cranky shopper, make sure to get enough sleep. Being wide awake while shopping during the wee hours of Friday morning will make the day run much more smoothly.

14. Use the buddy system: Always carpool with a friend when Black Friday shopping. Friends can be great shopping companions, a good shoulder to cry on when a deal was missed or someone to complain to when that lady cuts in front of you in line. Even if shoppers don’t have to head to the same stores on Black Friday, still car pool with someone. Set a time to meet back at the car to head out for some much needed coffee.

15. Shop online on Cyber Monday: And don’t forget the great deals found online on the Monday after Black Friday. This day is for all those shoppers who can’t deal with the crowds or for those who would much rather do their holiday shopping in their pajamas. Many Cyber Monday deals provide shopper with similar discounts to Black Friday, allowing them to save while in the comfort of their own home.

Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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