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Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Tips

Are you heading out bright and early on the morning of Black Friday (or waiting in line before the sun comes up)? Actually, with some stores starting their sales on Thanksgiving, may-be you'll be shopping right after you've had your pumpkin pie.

Either way, check out these tips for a successful and safe shopping trip. And if you have any other tips that have worked for you, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Do your homework

Go through the Thanksgiving Day ads, compare prices, and make your list.

Don't forget to check prices online. If you're comfortable shopping on the internet, you'll want to see how the Black Friday prices compare to the deals offered online.

Don't limit yourself only to the big-box and department stores. You'll often find great deals at smaller stores, like craft stores, office supply stores, and clothing stores. The lines will be shorter too.

Plan, prioritize, and make a list

Decide which items to include on your shopping list, prioritize your list according to what time the stores open and which items are most important to you to try to get.

Don't shop alone. You may be waiting in line for hours for those early morning sales. That's never fun, but it's even worse when you're by yourself. Bring one or more family members or friends, and you can keep each other company while you wait for the stores to open.

Practically speaking, more shoppers in your group means you can split up your shopping list to have a better chance of getting everything you're shopping for.

Bring snacks and coffee Some sales start at midnight the night before Black Friday. If you're shopping that early, you probably will be up all night. Other stores are opening at 4 or 5 a.m., so pack a few snacks and grab some coffee and may-be a water bottle. Black Friday shopping is exhausting enough without being hungry and thirsty too.

Dress to stand in line and for the weather Wear comfortable shoes. If you live in a cold climate, wear several layers instead of a big, bulky coat you'll have to carry around the stores.

Be safe

Every year you hear about people getting trampled or fighting over merchandise, so be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.

Keep your purchases in the trunk of your car, not the inside of your car where they can be seen by potential thieves.

Reward yourself

When you've finished your shopping, unwind with a brunch or lunch. Then go home and take a nice afternoon nap!

Don’t stress

If you didn’t get everything on your list, don’t stress out! Stores are offering deals just as good (or almost as good) right up until Christmas day. And don’t forget to check online for the items on your list, especially on Cyber Monday and “Free Shipping Day” in December.


A few extra tips...

Don't forget to ask for gift receipts.

Take your store ads along. If a store is out of an advertised item, another store may match their price, but you will have to show the ad.

Make sure everyone in your group has their cell phones charged, so you can keep in touch about when and where to meet if you split up. Keep your phone in your pocket on vibrate, since you may not hear it ring in the loud environment of the store.

Don't overspend. Stick to your list.

Leave the kids at home. Children will be miserable if you take them shopping during the chaos of Black Friday (and so will you).
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