The day after Thanksgiving – commonly known as “Black Friday” – is one of the busiest shopping days of the year.For many people, hitting the mall on Black Friday is part of their annual Thanksgiving tradition, and it can be a fun ritual to help you get in the holiday spirit.The term Black Friday was originally coined to identify the day of the year on which retailers started to turn a profit – going from “in the red” to “in the black.” But now we think of it as simply the day that crowds descend to get the very best deals on everything from books to toys to appliances.Prices are cut so drastically at some of these early “doorbuster” sales that shoppers line up in the pre-dawn hours to get the best discounts. And mall parking lots are jam-packed for the entire day.Here are a few tips for scoring the deepest discounts on Black Friday (and beyond).1. Plan ahead. Map out your plan of attack before Black Friday arrives. What time will you need to set your alarm so you can arrive at the stores early enough to get the best deals? Pay special attention to any advertisements in the paper on Thanksgiving Day or the days immediately preceding it. Make a list of the items that are most important for you to get, and prioritize your day accordingly. Discounts on this special day can be quite drastic, and quite limited, as well.2. Make a plan of action for the rest of the day. Plan to arrive at the mall or shopping center before it opens so you can get a good parking spot and so it’s easy for you to make trips back to the car to drop off your purchases.3. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Once you get to the shopping center and you’ve secured those most important purchases, relax and enjoy the excellent people-watching this day makes possible. Spend time with your loved ones and treat yourself to lunch and/or dinner out.4. Don’t panic if you don’t get it all done. Keep in mind that online retailers are also having Black Friday sales, so if you don’t get everything you need at the mall – or if you simply feel like skipping the mall this year, you can always settle in with a cup of hot cocoa at home and shop online.Make sure to look for special Black Friday coupon codes and free shipping offers before you finalize your online orders because special promotions abound. And if Black Friday comes and goes, you’ll still find lots of good online deals during the entire Thanksgiving weekend.And, on the Monday following Thanksgiving, you’ll find even more discounts. In fact, this day is commonly known as Cyber Monday because those shoppers who didn’t find what they were looking for at the mall will turn to their favorite online retailers once they are back at home or work. Retailers plan special deals, coupon codes and promotions for Cyber Monday as well.