7 ways to prepare for Black Friday

Holiday Bargain Hunting
Holiday Bargain Hunting

One of the best things about the drowsiness that starts to hit us after a large Thanksgiving feast is the early bed time. It's a great feeling to doze off after a nice meal with family and friends. It's also important to get a good night's rest for what could be one of the most exciting shopping days of the year: Black Friday.

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It seems like retailers are opening up their doors earlier and earlier each year in order to appease hungry customers on the lookout for bargains and steals. We've all been there before: wading through the aisles of devastated merchandise after a Black Friday horde has come through. Yet each year we go back and most of us don't seem to mind the crowds or the hassle as long as we can get in on some of those great deals.

But competition is fierce on Black Friday. According to a recent poll, nearly 45% of people plan on starting their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving this year. So what can consumers do in order to prepare for Black Friday this year?

SEE ALSO: Amazon's Black Friday deals will include $100 Kindle Paperwhite, $35 Fire

Here are 7 ways to maximize your shopping experience on Black Friday:

List the Items You Want to Buy

Some Black Friday deals might be pretty tempting but there's no point in buying a bunch of junk you're never going to use just because it's on sale. Make sure that you have a defined list ahead of time. This will ensure that you are focused on the things you actually need and you can resist the extraneous sale items that are so abundant on Black Friday.

Do Your Research

Once you have your list, the next step will be to research what stores will have the best deals. The internet will be your best friend here since most businesses tend to release their Black Friday ads a week or two in advance.

You can also peruse forums on deal sites like Slickdeals or FatWallet in order to really prepare yourself. If you know the price range of the items you want to buy ahead of time, you won't be mislead by 'store promotions' or creative pricing on the big day.

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Case the Joint

It's a good idea to be familiar with the stores you're going to be visiting on Black Friday. Walk through the aisles and make sure to take note of the special Black Friday displays and clearance sections a few days ahead of time. Once the rush is on, you'll be happy you know the store layout.

Cash or Credit?

If you plan on spending a lot, a credit card might be your best option in order to reap as many reward points as possible. In addition, if you plan on making electronics purchases, most credit cards will offer purchase protection on these types of items. You may even consider opening up a store credit card.

But if you're the impulsive type, you might want to bring a fixed amount of cash in order to prevent impulse buying. It's a lot easier to spend money with credit versus cash.

SEE ALSO: 4 ways your credit card can actually save you money this holiday season

Coordinate With Friends

Black Friday can be stressful if you're out there by yourself trying to fight the crowds. But shopping in pairs or with a group can make waiting in lines more fun. Coordinate with your friends and see who's interested in teaming up with you. Plus, you can also split up your lists and be more efficient with your shopping that way.

Schedule Thanksgiving Accordingly

Thanksgiving is a big event for most families but Black Friday has recently been starting earlier and earlier. Most of the big retailers open their doors at midnight while some will be open all Thanksgiving day.

If you plan on going out Thursday, make sure that you plan your dinner accordingly. Let your family know that Thanksgiving dinner is going to be a little earlier this year.

Shop Comfortably

Shopping on Black Friday may require you to do a lot of standing and waiting in lines so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately. Some stores might have lines that stretch outside so make sure you come prepared and dress in layers or bring something warm in case it's cold out.

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