22 Aug 2014
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Black Friday Tips and Tricks

Bargain shopper extraordinaire Sara Conrad shares her plan for how to find the best deals—and survive—Black Friday shopping.

Black Friday Tips and Tricks

Can you believe it's that time again? The red, white and blue is through, turkey time is on the horizon and all that's left to do is fill our shopping bags with holiday cheer.

If your pocket book is a bit tight this year or you just dig a good deal, Black Friday has your name written all over it. But before you head out into the retail rush, here's my top tips to make it worth your while to head out and take part in this traditional holiday hustle. 

1) Getchyer game plan.  Take a cue out of the NFL's playbook and choreograph your Black Friday moves. Know exactly what you want, where it is and when you're going to get it. In the olden days, pre world wide web, one would have to wait for the Thanksgiving Day newspaper to peruse and plan. Now you can visit sites like  this or  this to see all the ads weeks before the big day. Make sure you prioritize your wants and needs so you are certain to snag the items highest on your list. 

2) Read the fine print.  Retailers want to snag you up so they've made all sorts of rules and regulations for Black Friday. Some stores will only have limited stock for a small number of customers while others will implement a voucher system. Make sure you know what the deal is before heading out. If you're going to wait in the cold for a couple hours you want assurance that you won't walk away empty handed. Also remember to check the times. Many stores are now starting their sales as early as midnight.

3) Divide and conquer.  The buddy system works well on Black Friday. Having a friend tag along can be helpful in a number of ways. Let's say you need two of a certain toy but there's a limit of one per person...your friend doesn't need that particular toy but needs two of another toy. You can buy two of that item and she can buy two of your item. Everyone wins!

Taking a friend can also help save you time at the register. A huge chunk of time spent on Black Friday is waiting in massive lines to check out. When you enter the store have one person go straight to the register to save a spot in line while the other has a list for both and retrieves the items off that list. You'll be through the line and onto the next store hours before anyone else!

4) Buy it no matter what.  This may sound odd at first, but often on Black Friday there's such an influx of people that by the time you get to that special item you've had your heart set on, all that's left are the wrong colors or sizes. Don't worry, buy it anyway! Many stores will allow you to exchange it later when new stock arrives so you'll eventually get it right but you'll have done so at the rock bottom Black Friday price. If the store doesn't receive new stock you can simply return the item and keep on trucking.

5) Stay home.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out last year that I could shop from home via the Internet while sipping my coffee, donning my PJ's and I still got those amazing prices that make Black Friday the most magical shopping day of the year.

Another plus of shopping from home is that you can do so via sites like  Ebates or  ShopAtHome to actually make money while doing so. They will pay you a percentage back on your purchase depending on the store. I've used both for years and so far I've been paid $125 on Ebates and over $300 on ShopAtHome.

The only drawback to staying in is you may have to pay a bit in shipping but to stay warm and crowd-free cozy, I felt it's pennies well spent. Just make sure to check ahead of time so you know if your store and your particular deal will be web worthy. 

Hopefully those tips and tricks will help you navigate the stores a bit better on Black Friday. Happy shopping and may the deals be ever in your favor!

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