As my husband said the other day, "I can't believe we have a national holiday for shopping." and as his colleague in Norway noted, "Yes... you have two holidays. One for Thanksgiving and one for Black Friday."
Weeeeeeeelllllllll.... It is fun to shop on Black Friday, but it's not actually a national holiday. Some people take it seriously enough for a national holiday, though, which is why you should be a boyscout this year.
1. Be Prepared.
Go through coupons and sale ads before your nap on Thanksgiving to decide which stores will best fit your time, and which items you want to shop for in each place.
- Traffic will be miserable, so having a plan of where to go and when to can cut down on unnecessary traffic stress.
- Stores count on making money by shoppers buying things on a whim, so don't get caught up with the sales hype and excitement!
4: What stores don't tell you
- Stores may open their doors at 5:00 a.m., but that doesn't mean their deals start that early! They may hold out until noon, but you'll probably still buy something for the effort of getting up at dag-nabbit 4:30 am! They win.
- High-ticket items on sale may only have a few in stock that qualify. If you plan on buying a large or expensive item, be sure to get right to it and put it on hold or call ahead and find out about quantities to save some time.
- High-ticket items, typically electronics, may offer deals on products of lower quality than their standard models. Sometimes it's true: You get what you pay for. Beware of derivatives!
- DON'T ASSUME DEAL MATCHING! Stores that would ordinarily price match may not on special shopping days.
3. It's ok to ask for help.
iPhone apps can make finding deals and shopping easier, faster, and more fun:
4. Avoid Black Friday
Know that you can avoid the Black Friday stress at certain stores that have posted alternate sales hours:
Khols: Thanksgiving Day
Toys-R-Us: 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night
Amazon.com: Last Monday
Some stores, like Best Buy are even offering the same Black Friday Doorbusters online! It pays to check it out:
Check out more holiday shopping secrets and news from CNN.com!