The Only Black Friday Tips You Really Need To Know

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November 23, 2011

It’s a holiday scene you know well–no, not the Nativity–the Black Friday crowds. No matter where you spend Thanksgiving,  it’s always the top story after the turkey:  frazzled shoppers waiting all night to get this year’s next big gadget, frenzied moms throwing crap into their carts, and mobs trampling over each other for “doorbusters” at Wal-Mart.

…You can do better.

Here, our 9 no-fail tips to tackling Black Friday online and coming out on top–no lines, cashiers, traffic, or leaving the house. Grab that leftover turkey-and-stuffing sandwich, and let’s get to it.

1. No family? No problem. Lots of retailers start their sales on Thanksgiving now. So while everyone else is basting away, you can make out like a bandit online.  Get shopping early. Collect $200 and pass go–you win.

2. Go big or don’t bother. 70% off a plasma TV is worth more than 70% off gloves (unless maybe they’re cashmere). Don’t waste time on the small stuff that’ll go on sale later anyway.

Click for 7 more ways to win, plus our super-sneakiest Black Friday tip…

3. Think clearly for a moment. There will be lots of distractions–pop-up ads included–so research specialty sites that report on all the Black Friday deals first, like blackfriday.com and bfads.net. Sign up for the SHEfinds newsletter–we’ll send out a summary of sales right at midnight that day.

4. Beat everyone to the punch. First download the fastest browser,Google Chrome. When shopping sales, hit “view all,” scroll all the way down then start shopping at the bottom of the page. You’ll be more likely to get the stuff people haven’t seen yet–like shopping from the back of the store!

5. Get the hell out of there. Store your credit card info and shipping address(es) in your browser to speed up checkout. If your browser doesn’t offer the option to save this info, use tools like roboform.

6. Make some moolah. You’re spending enough this year–may as well make some, too. Bank of America’s Add It Up or Ebates.com shopping websites that allow you to earn up to 20% cash back on online purchases on top of retailer discounts.

7. Coupons are cool. Shamelessly use as many coupons as you can find–that’s the best part of no checkout line. For promotional codes, go toRetailMeNot.com or Google the name of the shopping site with the words “coupon code” or “promo code.”

8. Don’t be an idiot. Your quick pre-purchase checklist: will it ship before Christmas? Is it returnable? Is the shipping cost reasonable? (Sometimes it’s as much as you ‘saved’ during the sale–might be worth it to head to the store instead.)

9. Our super sneakiest tip: Fill your cart the night before with items you want, and when you wake up, get the discount! I did this last year at J.Crew and saved myself a ton of time and heartbreak. Another good idea is add your wishlist on Shopstyle, choose “sale alert” and get emails when the prices drop.

What do you think? Do you have more tips to add? Tell us in the comments.

PS: Here are some early Black Friday doorbusters you can get now, fromBuy.com.

Follow the author of this post on Twitter @shefindseileen

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