With Black Friday quickly approaching — a week earlier this year than normal, even — it’s vital to plan ahead to prepare for making smartest decisions possible, getting the most out of the deals.
Do your research.
Figure out what you want and what deals are available before the big day. If you are in the market for something specific, check around for the item to see if there are better deals elsewhere else, and compare. This could also mean waiting around for Cyber Monday.
You might consider setting up Google alerts for certain brands. Again, know what you’re looking for before you go in, as there may be a better winter coat or TV for a lower cost elsewhere.
Another way to be extra prepared is to do a test run the weekend or Wednesday before Black Friday. This way you can see what items you would want to buy at the price they are listed at, and have something to compare them to when you return for the sale. Not only will you be excited about your savings, but you’ll know you bought something you actually wanted.
Don’t “blind shop.”
Go for brands you typically buy and wear throughout the year, so you’ll wind up with labels and styles you trust and know you wear. Think: staple items in your wardrobe and life.
Purchase quality items.
Look for items that you would buy when they aren’t on sale. These are the pieces that you will not regret splurging on during the sales. In other words, rather than seeing a sale tag and thinking you must have it since it’s such a good price, slow down and ask yourself if you would it buy it at full price.
Also, don’t buy several pairs of yoga pants as a material motivator to make you follow through on your New Year’s resolution to work out more. Purchase items you want, need, and know you will wear for more than just an ambitious “look” or goal.
Don’t buy just because it’s Black Friday.
Buying under pressure is never advised. And Cyber Monday is, of course, right around the corner, not to mention the many, many post-holiday/January sales that’ll be here any minute. Zara, just for starters, typically marks down its items almost by half right after the holidays.
Go with a friend.
Some may shop better solo. But if you are going to brave the actual Black Friday situation, and hit stores like Wal-Mart or Target the night of Thanksgiving, you may enjoy it more if you have a wingman. Lines can be long, and company may help. Besides, having a second opinion on hand may keep you from buying anything you don’t really need (or like).
Make a list.
You may think you have it all in your head or know staple items you want or need, but seriously: Consider handwriting a list on a piece of paper. Bring said list into the store to actively remind you why you are there and what you are looking for. Because really, shopping is very much an adrenaline rush, especially when you see sale signs and think you’re getting a bargain. Before you get carried away and put five pairs of shoes and a tent in your cart, go back and look at that list again, maybe even cross items off along the way. It’ll keep you focused and grounded.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: