Smart Shopping: Tips for a Successful Black Friday

Is waking up at the crack of dawn for Black Friday as much of a tradition for you as Thanksgiving is? If so, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make this year's day of scoring great deals safe and successful...

Do Your Research: Make sure you do a little homework before the big day and know what really is a deal and what's a scam. Prices get hiked up and quality falls by the wayside to get shoppers in the door. Remember it is about the stores making money after all right? Some big stores even buy appliances and electronics with a slightly different name or number preventing you from comparison shopping. So remember to compare features on these items and not names.

Avoid Shoppers Remorse: Don't let the excitement of all the flashy, shiny sales get the best of you. Have a list of what you need to get, what you want to get, and what you wish you could get (if you find a super, killer deal). Put them in order of importance and stick to it.

Shop Sober: If you are preparing to head out at midnight or three in the morning maybe re-thinking that last glass of wine at Thanksgiving dinner might be a good idea. This is an obvious statement if you are driving, but even if you are in the passenger seat having a clear head to better avoid coming home with a pile of 'stuff' that made you say, "what was I thinking?" or " I spent what?" might not be a bad idea.

Don't Forget Your Coupons: I think this one is self-explanatory.

Stay Together: Keep track of the people you're with. If you are planning to go your own way or happen to get separated agree on a non crowded meeting place and time in case you don't hear your phone ring or your battery dies.

Observe Your Surroundings: We have all heard of people being trampled during the frenzy of Black Friday events. Be aware of your surroundings and try to stay away from the people with the 'sale crazy' eyes. You may not get the free gift for the first 50 people, but at least you will be able to walk out of the store without assistance.

Be Safe: With all of the gifts and money and people in a frenzy you should take extra precautions while shopping. Don't leave your purchases out in the open or under a blanket in your car while you go for more. Keep everything locked in the trunk. Try to park under a street lamp and lock your car as soon as you get in. Also, be aware of your credit card and cash at all times. Don't walk away from the counter stuffing things into your wallet. Get everything settled before you move on.

Reduce Your Load: Find out what's better to wait for Cyber Monday to purchase online, and what is better to get in a brick and mortar business.

Image: Chuckman's Photos

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Alysha is a photographer and designer living in Seattle who loves dark chocolate, tea, and all things furry. In her spare time you'll find her with paint in her hair renovating her 1919 Craftsman and sharing the process on her blog Old House New Tricks.