Check the ads before heading out to plan your schedule for the day. Some stores offer special discounts that are time specific. Look for QR codes, quick response, codes that can bring you directly to an offer.
2.) Do your research before Friday
Be knowledgeable about the products you want to buy, stores you plan to visit, and hours the stores open. Check out the store's track record with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
3.) Compare prices
Utilize price-comparison Internet shopping sites such as PriceGrabber.com to assist you in comparing product prices. Compare the "options" included with the product. Some retailers will low-ball the advertised price on a stripped down product, and then you will be charged extra for the necessary parts that will make the product perform as expected.
4.) Look for early bird shopper discounts
Stores offering early-day shopper specials usually run the deals from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. and with no "rain checks," which means once they run out of the products, you are out of luck.
5.) Watch for night owl discounts on Thanksgiving
Internet shoppers can beat the early birds by shopping online in the pre-dawn hours of Black Friday. Many Black Friday specials can be ordered online and picked-up at your local store. Special "Web only" deals will also be available starting as early as Thanksgiving eve. Many of the aggressive outlet malls and factory stores will be opening Thursday at midnight
6.) Bring the ads with you
Many stores offer a "lowest-price" guarantee; however you may be required to produce a copy of the exact product being advertised for less. Most local retailers will not meet Internet prices even when the product is advertised on the same company's website, but it cannot hurt to try. Print the Web page that details the product and shows the advertised price. It may give you additional bargaining power and push the sales person into waiving other charges such as assembly fees.
7.) Know the store policies
Knowing the store policies on returns can help you determine where to buy. Make sure you know what the return and exchange policy is for your Black Friday special and that a return is even possible – especially if you're buying online. Many retailers are including restocking fees and shorter return deadlines. Almost all of the major retail chains have clamped down on requiring receipts for returns and exchanges, and many keep a database of individuals who tend to abuse return policies. If you get onto an "abuse" list, prepare yourself to be turned down.
8.) Ask for gift receipts
Gift receipts generally include a description of the item purchased but do not disclose the price paid. Including gift receipts inside the gift box will make returns or exchanges easier for the gift recipient. Without proof-of-purchase, the recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item or risk receiving an exchange for the current selling price of the item.
9.) Charging it can pay off
Many credit card companies entice consumers with free benefits, which include extended free warranties, return protection and sale price protection. Set up those rewards cards now. However, cash is always a sure bet so as not to go over your spending limit and avoiding issues with register systems.
10.) Dress appropriately
Let's face it, comfy wins over style on Black Friday. Wear light layers instead of chunky sweaters.
11.) Carry a small purse
To make it through the crowds, downsize the big shoulder bag for a more compact purse.
12.) Pack a snack, drink.
Stay hydrated and pack a snack to munch on while standing in line.
13.) Use the buddy system
Going with a friend can help keep you company, sane, and you can help each other scout the deals. Work as a team.
14.) Be patient and civil
Everyone is in the same boat. Try not to complain. Be considerate of fellow shoppers.