Black Friday's on its Way: Don't Miss Out!

Make sure you get the best black Friday Christmas shopping

Black Friday is the Christmas shopping day in the United States. Like it or loathe it, you know about it, and you also know there are deals galore just waiting for you to find them.

Believe it or not, though, there is a strategy for getting the most value out of shopping for Christmas on Black Friday, and it's not just about showing up early. If you really want to find the deals, follow these handy tips.

Getting the Most from Black Friday

1: Do your homework.

Many stores have fantastic deals on Black Friday - and many just throw up sales signs to drum up business. Make sure you know the difference. Before you choose Black Friday as the perfect day to buy that iPad, take a look at what it costs normally and make sure you're getting a deal.

Browse ads and flyers ahead of time, too: you don't want to miss out on anything. Ideally, you should take those ads with you in case store employees mysteriously forget about promised bargains.

2. Remember that there are deals online, too.

Any deal you'll find in a store, you'll generally find it mirrored on the store's website. So if you don't feel like braving the crowds on Black Friday, never fear: this is why online Christmas shopping exists. Again, do your homework, hunt down the bargains, and be ready to shop early.

3. Be early - maybe even the day before

As with Boxing Day sales, many stores start marking merchandise down a couple days before Black Friday. Doing Christmas shopping in advance can really pay off. And even if you wait for the day itself, make sure you get there early. You'll be fighting crowds of shoppers, and great deals sell out quickly.

4. Ask for gift receipts

In the excitement of the moment, it's easy to forget that you're shopping for Christmas, which is still more than a month away. Most stores have a 30 day return policy, but are willing to extend it around Christmas. Asking for a gift receipt can spare everyone a lot of headaches in the future. Just make sure that the recipient will be able to return the item (unless you're absolutely certain they want it).

5. Compare prices

Here's another reason to bring your ads with you: many stores offer price matching or beating, but you have to show them the ad - they won't just take your word for it that their competitors have that flatscreen TV on sale for $20. If stores don't price match, be ready to shop around and make sure you're getting the best possible deal.

Whether you're online Christmas shopping or braving the malls, there's a strategy to getting the best deals. Make sure your Black Friday plan is in place before you get started.

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