How to Strike Gold on Black Friday

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Are you looking to score great Black Friday deals without a lot of hassle and stress? Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is historically the busiest retail shopping day of the year. Countless numbers take to the streets and search the web for the best Black Friday deals and specials. With a little creativity and planning, you can survive this hectic day and have a pleasant shopping experience. Here’s how:1. Be Prepared. Make a “to-do” list of the gifts you need to buy and create a budget. Go online before you hit the stores to check retailers websites for “secret deals.” Also, gather the Black Friday ads ahead of time as many are leaked weeks in advance of Black Friday. Check for coupons too. Finally, don’t forget to keep track of what you spend as you go.2. Research Your Product. Take the time to check websites that employ unbiased professionals to evaluate products. For example, Consumer Reports, Ecoustics.com, PC Magazine, and Steves-Digicam offer unbiased product reviews. Also read customer reviews and opinions at Epinions.com and Amazon.com as they offer a true glimpse of product quality and satisfaction.3. Evaluate the Deals. Although a Black Friday special may look like a great deal, you should use several online shopping comparison tools to compare what a variety of online stores charge for that particular item. Visit sites such as Price Checker in Consumer World, or hop over to PriceGrabber.com or PriceSpider.com.4. Divide your Shopping List. Create a shopping list, grab a family member or friend and divide your tasks. For example, while you are in the sporting goods store, pick up items on both lists, while the other hits the bookstore. Alternatively, have a buddy stand in long lines while you grab your goodies.5. Be an Early Bird. Check out “doorbuster” Black Friday deals as early as 12:00a.m. and plan to get in and out of the stores quickly and efficiently. In fact, why not use your “lunch break” to avoid huge crowds.6. Park with Care. Choose a parking spot close to the exit to avoid parking lot isolation. Plus, it will be easier to leave when you are done shopping. Finally, remember “there is safety in numbers” so shop with friends.7. Plan Your Route. Don’t wander around the mall without a plan-it’s a waste of time and energy. Think about checking out key retailers the day before Thanksgiving to determine where the Black Friday deals will be located in the stores.8. Order Online. Why not save time, money, gas and avoid the crowds by ordering online? In fact, many Black Friday deals will be available on Thanksgiving Day or earlier. Shop at reputable sites and use a credit card that pays you rewards. Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping and tax (if any) and check out the online retailer’s reputation and refund policies. Use Shopzilla.com or ResellerRatings.com to find out this important information.Follow this advice, leave the chaos and long lines behind and enjoy the holiday season!