For those of you who dare to raid the shops with thousands of others on Black Friday, I admire you. However, you must be smart about it. Research, plan and mentally prepare. Use these strategies to maximize your savings and successfully conquer Black Friday.
- Map out a plan, including a timeline to keep you on track. Warning: You will get distracted – keep to the plan.
- Know store opening times, then set priorities. Retailers often put time constraints on discounts. Visit your favorites first.
- Memorize floor plans. There’s no time for browsing. You must know where the deal is located and go straight to it.
- Be aware of the deals. The day before, research all sale prices, coupons, shopping applications, ect. for your favorite stores. Retailers may require you to print out coupons or check-in on social media websites to get the sale. Have everything prepared beforehand - coupons in hand, proof of Foursquare check-in.
Tip: Check local newspapers for time-sensitive discounts. Many retailers offer bigger discounts if you shop before a certain time, such as 10 a.m.
- Bring a partner-in-crime. Someone to keep you focused, preferably a loved one who will care and look for you if you get lost.
- Dress for comfort. This is not a fashion show, but a race. You will be competing against millions of other Black Friday addicts for the best deals. You need to wear apparel and shoes that allow you to move quickly for a long period of time. This means leave your coat in the car – I don’t care if you get cold waiting in line, this will ensure you will be the first one to the jewelry counter.
- Do pushups beforehand. Get the blood flowing. There is a chance you will have to fight off other serious shoppers. If this is the case, your muscles will be warm and ready to go.
Tools to help you shop:
This year, major retailers are entering the social media scene, offering users discounts for "checking in" on location-based outlets like Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla. Check out The Huffington Post's guide to seven social media tools you can use to snag great deals on Black Friday.
Retailers are also participating in application-based programs for your iPhone, Blackberry and Android. I've brought all the best apps to you:
- Point Inside (Android, iPhone): Offers 700 mall maps, including Northgate, Cary Towne Center, Southpoint, Crabtree and Triangle Town Center. Free.
- Amazon Mobile App (Iphone, Blackberry and Android): Makes it easy to comparison-shop and read reviews on the go. It can also analyze photos of items that catch your eye and try to find them in its huge inventory. Free.
- Shop Savvy (iPhone and Android): Helps you comparison-shop – simply scan a product's barcode with your phone to see reviews and compare prices across 20,000 stores.
- The Find (iPhone and Android): Can draw you a map to the best deal.
- The Coupons App (Android): Displays discounts from nearby retailers and restaurants. Free.
- Coupon Sherpa (iPhone): Displays discounts from nearby retailers and restaurants. Free.
- TGI Black Friday app (iPhone, Android): Allows you to create a shopping list and send it by e-mail to yourself or others. Free.
- Black Friday by BradsDeals (iPhone): Makes it easy to research the products in the ads online.
- DealEngine (Android): Displays lists of deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Free.