Black Friday: An annual day of shopping deals and disasters. If you've one of the millions who can't resist the lure of Black Friday's pull, we've got a few tips to help you make the most of the day. Read on, and good luck!
App Up: There are tons of shopping apps that you can download to your smartphones that'll help you find the best deals in stores. If you're at Macy's, for instance, try Shopkick, which alert you to deals all around the store as your shopping. Other apps like Retailmenot or TGIBlackFriday, find Black Friday-specific deals across multiple locations.
Know What You're Looking For: Black Friday is a bit of a bloodsport, and the lure of getting a deal can feel all-too-intoxicating for some of us. If you're someone who can't help but jump at a 50 percent off sign, make sure you do your research ahead of time and know what you're looking for before you step into a store. After all, a deal isn't really a deal if you don't actually need it.
Wait 'til Cyber Monday: Many of us no longer enjoy the in-person shopping experience, and prefer to get our Christmas shopping done online. Even if you don't want to wait for Cyber Monday deals (the Monday after Black Friday), it's worth it to check out some of your favorite store's websites for deals on Black Friday, too. Many retailers are no longer waiting to reach the online shopping audience, and there are deals to be had.
Remember: A "Deal" Isn't Always A Deal: In order to make money, many stores will actually jack up prices before offering deep Black Friday discounts. So while it may sound good that you've gotten a sweater for 20 percent off by schlepping to the mall the morning after Thanksgiving, consider that the sweater may have actually been marked up prior to being so generously marked down. According to ShopItToMe CEO Charlie Graham, you shouldn't bite unless a store is offering a discount of 40 percent or more to make it really worthwhile — at least when it comes to clothing and jewelry. So do the math before making any major clothing hauls.
Get An Early Start: But please, be reasonable. Many retailers are trying to get a jump on Black Friday by launching their sales on Thanksgiving itself, which we find, well, a bit tacky and desperate. Yes, there's something primal about hunting for the best deals, but should it really be at the expense of spending time with your family and friends? We don't think so.
Don't forget about eBay and Amazon: If you're looking for something really particular, and are finding that stores are all out, don't forget about auction sites, and sites like Amazon, which offer consumers the chance to link up to smaller retailers across the country. You'll get that special Barbie you're searching for, we promise!
Keep the Receipt: Black Friday is the beginning of the shopping season, and the deal season. So keep the receipt: Not just because you may find that the item you purchased is the wrong size, or defective, but because there's still a good month or so of shop-ortunities. You may actually find something better between now and Christmas.