The biggest shopping day of the year is quickly approaching. Black Friday, which falls on the day after Thanksgiving and has earned the reputation of being the busiest shopping day of the year, has officially started, that the American consumer is going to be inundated by retailers from all sides offering spectacular deals. If you’re not as organized, or just haven’t even thought about it yet. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the sales and discounts so you get the most bang for your buck.

To find the best deals on Black Friday, you have to have a game plan. This way, you’ll have all the necessary premises for purchasing the best product. Check out these easy insider secrets on how to get the best deals on Black Friday:

1. Make a shopping list and determine the budget

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for gifts for others, write it all down. Spend some time researching and create a detailed shopping list. When you get to the stores, stick to it. To save valuable time, do a bit of research ahead of time on what you would ideally like to buy. Make sure you know the differences in models, the need for any add-ons or accessories, and a backup store if your first stop runs out.

2. When doing the research

Check out the deals before hand. Many major retailers launch their Black Friday sales as early as two weeks before the official day. If you know what the deals are in-store versus online beforehand, you can avoid a lot of wasted time just trying to get into the store sometimes. And not everything is recommended to but on Black Friday. Take a look at this list of 11 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday.

a. Newspaper
Your local Thanksgiving Day newspaper will be stuffed like your Thanksgiving turkey with ads, coupons, and circulars. Not everything is cheaper on Black Friday. Even sometimes you’ll find lower prices on items like toys, tools and designer clothing if you’re willing to wait.

b. Internet
Not only from the newspaper, you can also check and make the list of the latest Black Friday’s deals through the internet. Several websites start posting Black Friday ads as soon as they become available – which for some stores is now. Check these sites for the latest deals:
• (click on the Black Friday tab)
• (check here for their valuable shopping tips)

To compare prices, check price comparison sites such as and to make sure you have everything complete. Or, you could check the producer’s web page to see the detailed information on the item you’re planning to buy, and then compare it to the one provided by the stores. DealNews also has a list of Price Matching Policies for Major Retailers and many apps to help you compare prices and find special offers.

c. Smartphone Apps
Even nowadays, everything is much easier with the presence of Smartphone Apps. There are now many Android and iOS apps designed to make shopping for the best deals on Black Friday easier. These apps will help you find the best place to park at the mall, help you find the best route to stores, alert you when the stores that you to go to have coupons and special deals, and help you compare prices while you shop. Here are the top picks on Free Money-Saving Black Friday Applications. Or, here the technology guide Digital Trends offers a list of 10 Apps to Help You Find Deals on Black Friday.

d. Get benefit from Early Bird and Night Owl Specials
Because there are lots of stores that advertise special offers for Early Bird and Night Owl Specials, you should take advantage of these two special offers. Many stores advertise early bird deals, generally between 4 and 11 a.m., to help draw in the crowd, but also offer night owl specials between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. to draw in the crowd that doesn’t like to get up early, but would rather stay up late. If queuing up at the crack of dawn is part of the thrill for you, you’ll love the trend of rewarding early birds and night owl with extra discounts. Don’t forget to check the list of store hours and special sales and ad coupons so that you don’t miss a good deal.

3. Be prepared for the shopping day

Before you go shopping at big-box and department stores, here are some preparations to do for an easier, safer, comfortable and fun shopping day:

a. Sort your list by category according to the areas of the store, and brings pals with you – friends or sisters. All of you can swap lists, divvy up the stores – one of you heads to the back of the store, one takes the middle section, and one remains near the front – stay in touch by cell phone and meet for coffee or lunch afterward. This way, you won’t miss out on the Black Friday deals in electronics because you are caught up in kids’ clothing. You could even head to the story a few days in advance to map out your path of attack so you know exactly where everything is.

b. Wear comfortable and easy outfit for the shopping day. Obviously, dressing comfortably will make for an overall more enjoyable shopping experience. It’s practical, easier to change in the dressing room, and gives you flexibility to move around among the crowds. If it’s an option for you, leave your winter coat in the car if you’re shopping in a mall. This will help you remove much less of the bulk when carrying your shopping and navigating crowds, as well as you will be much more cooler not having to wear that down parka inside

c. Don’t forget to bring along an iPod or a book to pass the time while you’re waiting to pay, and pack snacks, water and extra toilet paper in case the public restrooms run out

d. Shop safely by getting a credit card with price protection. Stick to the list, stay on budget, and carry a purse that closes securely and keep it in front of you at all times. Carrying cash is a great way to stay on budget, but it’s also less secure. Debit cards are one alternative, but fraud protection is weaker than for credit cards. Credit cards are safest but also make it easy to blow your budget. However, some credit cards offer “price protection.” There are some restrictions, but it can be a good way to save money. Here’s a list of Cards Offering Price Protection, from consumer news site NerdWallet.

4. Get coupons or buy discount gift cards

In the past, Black Friday coupons were hefty. But now you can just get printable coupons to pack in your purse. To find this year’s bargains, peruse local newspapers and online, while some exchanges like Cardpool and Raise allow you to buy gift cards at deep discounts. Use them at store for your holiday shopping and you can save twice. Here are things to keep in mind when dealing with discounts and return policy

a. Bring the ads.
Bring sales ads with you so you can have them available if you need to call a store out on their “lowest price guarantee.” Additionally, most local retailers will not meet internet prices even when the product is advertised on the same company’s website. Just print the web page that details the product and shows the advertised price. It may give you additional bargaining power and push the sales person into waiving other charges such as assembly fees.

b. Know the store policies.
Knowing the store policies on returns can help you determine where to buy. Although return policies generally don’t change for Black Friday, some retailers charge restocking fees as high at 15%, especially for electronics. So, ask about the return policy before paying – look on its web site or check signage at the customer service desk. You can always ask a sales clerk, but if you get bad info, the written policy will trump what a well-meaning cashier told you.

c. Mind the deadlines and have a receipt with you
The amount of time you have to return something is important since you’re buying nearly a month in advance. Having a receipt is also very important, because no receipt often means no return. You could also ask for gift receipts which generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Many stores are printing a gift receipt so you can include a receipt with the gift in the event of return or exchange, without divulging how much money you spent on the item.

5. Don’t forget Cyber Monday

If crowds aren’t for you, or you’d much rather shop from the comfort of your own home. Not to worry, you could just shop online after Thanksgiving, wait until Monday you’ll be able to reap the benefits of all of the Cyber Monday deals too. Find the Best Cyber Monday Deals to get the most out of Cyber Monday.

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