Black Friday shoppers guide

November 21, 2012 4:09:14 AM PST
The countdown to Black Friday -- or should we say gray Thursday -- is on. This year, more stores will be opening Thursday evening. But before you brave the crowds, we have a Black Friday guide to save you big.

If you plan on shopping on Black Friday, you have to plan ahead to get the best deals. We asked a consumer expert for his best shopping advice to tackle the busiest shopping day of the year.

If you plan on shopping early on Black Friday, you will have some competition.

"My strategy is to get here early and beat everybody," shopper Phillip Arbor said.

"Coupons, coupons, coupons on top of savings is always the best, and get there very, very early," shopper Empress Hill said.

But money saving expert Paul Ivanovsky says it's not enough to get there early.

"You gotta know what it is you are looking for before you get there shopping. Otherwise you see stuff and you start grabbing," Ivanovsky said.

First study the ads, something most shoppers will be doing.

"Definitely looking at the ads, checking my email from all the stores; I am on their e-mail list," shopper Tamara Ayers said.

Next, it might seem obvious but ask family members what they want for Christmas.

"We have seven kids and my wife thinks she knows what all of them want and I have a toy room full of toys that don't get played with to prove we don't always know what our kids want," Ivanovsky said.

Now that you have your list ready, price match.

"A lot of the big stores are price matching now, and what that allows you to do is get some of the greatest deals where there is not going to be any lines," Ivanovsky said.

And new this year, a handful of stores are taking price matching to a whole new level by price matching "online deals." Target and Best Buy will be price matching advertised online deals.

"They have to carry the same exact model number and you've got to be able to prove it," Ivanovsky said.

For the savviest Black Friday shoppers, you can layaway purchases now before Black Friday.

"Then you just go back anytime on Friday -- if it's within that same time period -- bring your ad in and when you payoff the layaway they will price match it for that price," Ivanovsky said.

Next use social media like Facebook and Twitter to find unadvertised deals. And don't shop for just Christmas gifts.

"There are a lot of great deals out there that you can use year round," Ivanovsky said.

And finally, if you don't do any research, a smart phone with the ability to scan bar codes will come in handy while you are shopping!

"It allows you to scan your SKUs and find out where the best price is on that item," Ivanovsky said.

Keep in mind some of the door buster deals are limited in number so if you don't get in line early for those you will be missing out. Stores do this to "fill" the store early. However, this year Walmart has guaranteed three early bird door buster deals.

Shoppers also have the idea of doing layaway now, and picking up on Black Friday at their leisure. But there's a catch: The items you want to layaway need to be physically at the store. Special items will only be available on Black Friday or late Thursday evening so you can't put those on layaway.


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