Get Your Game Face On--14 Must-Have Black Friday Shopping Tips

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November 4, 2010

I have a confession to make: I love shopping, but I never go shopping on Black Friday. Shopping is a fun activity for me and beating down mobs of people to get the last Sing-a-Ma-Jig is not fun. At all.

But this year will be different. Why? Because tons of stores are bringing their Black Friday deals online. All I have to do is stay up until midnight or set my alarm clock (a.k.a. my daughter) to wake me up by 5 a.m. and I can get the best online deals right in my PJs.

Any other time I’d keep my shopping strategies to myself, but because this is the season of giving, I will share (a few, wink wink). Commit these 14 tips to memory (or print them out) and you’ll win big this Black Friday.

1. Make a list. Before Black Friday arrives, know who you need to buy for and what you’d like to get him/her. Check people off as you order their gifts.

2. Watch out for deals in disguise. Some stores (like Gap) charge more for items online than they do in stores.

3. Aim for the big ticket items. 70% off a plasma TV is worth more than 70% off gloves.

4. Know what’s on sale where. Check out specialty sites that report on all the Black Friday deals, like blackfriday.com and bfads.net. Stores (like Sears ) are releasing their Black Friday deals extra early this year, so keep your eyes peeled.

5. Shop from the bottom up. Hit view all, scroll all the way down then start shopping at the bottom of the page. Everyone else will be shopping top down so things sell out more quickly at the top of the page.

6. Use a fast browser. We find Google Chrome loads web pages the fastest.

7. Use shopping search engines. Use comparison engines to help compare prices. Shopstyle.com has specific databases for fashion, home and kids’ products; shopping.com and bizrate.com ferret out the best prices on commodity items like big screen TVs.

8. Use an autofill tool. 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.

9. Watch out for shipping charges. Sometimes the deal loses its allure if you’re spending what you just saved on shipping charges.

10. Wait. Some items will get marked down more as the season goes on. This is especially true with clothing like sweaters and slippers.

11. Earn cash back. 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.

12. Know the return policy. Some of the sale items may be final sale, which means you can’t return them if it doesn’t fit or it’s the wrong color.

13. Check delivery dates. Make sure the items you’re planning to purchase are in stock and guaranteed to arrive before Christmas.

14. Use coupon and  promo codes. To find promotional codes, go to RetailMeNot.com or Google the name of the shopping site with the words “coupon code” or “promotion code.”

Some things that are sure to be on your kids’ wish lists? UGGs, Lelli Kelly shoes and boys’ skinny jeans. Get them (and more) in our buying guides.

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Click here to email Jeanine, the author of this post.

 



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