If you’re even thinking of going shopping on Friday, it pays to have a plan.

From snagging a good parking spot to catching those crazy markdowns, we’ve put together some tips and strategies to help ensure a successful shopping trip!


1. Know the Sales
Study the ads in advance and print out the coupons that will be good in the store.

2. Scout Out the Store in Advance
Go to the store before Friday to get your bearings. Take a walk through the aisles so you know where you’re going to want to go to get that special item on your list!

3. Be Prepared (Bring Food & Water)
Pack some food and a water bottle in your car. Rather than spending time eating, you can snack while you’re commuting between stores – leaving more time for shopping. If the weather gets nasty, you may also want to bring along a change of clothes in case you get soaked while standing outside the stores!

4. Dress Sensibly
Wear comfortable shoes that are good for walking. Consumer Reports’ Greg Daugherty also recommends bringing a credit card. “Credit cards have pit falls, but if you’re buying something expensive and it doesn’t work out, you know you have certain consumer rights with a credit card you would haven’t otherwise.”

5. See A Parking Spot? Park There!
Park as soon as you can. You may lose one place in line in search of a closer parking space and that could cost you the item you want. If the lots are already full, keep your eyes peeled for shoppers who are leaving the store and follow that customer to his or her car so you can snatch up their parking space!

6. Stick with Movers & Shakers
Shop with friends and/or family members who know how to move quickly! Go in with the “divide and conquer” approach – assigning each “team member” a mission to search for a particular deal. In the end, you’ll end up getting more deals! Be sure to take along cell phones to communicate – or just plan to meet up at the cash register.

7. Maintain Decorum
Black Friday is competitive and you need to get to your appointed deal with purpose – but NOT hostility. Your co-pay is probably more than the savings!

8. Keep Your Eye On The Prize
Finally, if you’re trying to get a great deal on a television, don’t stop three places along the way. Your curiosity could prompt you to lose out on the limited offer you were hoping to snag! “You go for the first thing you want first,” explains Judy Antill of Steubenville, “and you just get in line and try to get it!”

Black Friday is certainly NOT for the faint of heart. If you are not the kind of person who enjoys the crowds, you can always wait a little bit and still get good deals, maybe even better deals. Shopping online is another option to find the best deals – without wasting the gas or travel time!

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