If you’re one of the millions of Black Friday lovers who venture into the crowds each year, we know you take your shopping very seriously. Weeks before the big day, you’re already sifting through ads, searching online for sales and choosing which stores to visit. Black Friday shopping starts earlier and earlier every year, with many stores opening on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you head out after the last bite of turkey or wait until the next morning, we’ve got the tips you need to dominate your shopping trip.


Plan Your Attack

Create a shopping list with your must-haves at the top. If you’re on the hunt for holiday gifts, add to your list based on Black Friday deals. Start collecting print and online Black Friday ads and coupons as soon as you see them. Sites like blackfriday.com show multiple store ads in one place so you don’t have to search for them individually. Make a spending limit based on your shopping list and hot commodities that may sell out quickly. Carrying cash can be a great way to stay on budget. No matter how you pay, keep your money in a secure place while you shop. 


Map A Route

With your shopping list and coupons in hand, it’s time to map your route. Plan which stores to hit first based on the items you’re shopping for. Check when each store opens on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday to determine which ones you’ll visit and in what order. Consider shopping centers and outlet malls so you can shop within a short distance, and only have to park the car once. They’ll be the popular choice, so keep the crowds and long lines in mind and plan your timeline accordingly.


Travel in a Pack

Ask one or two friends to join you on your Black Friday extravaganza. Not only is it more fun this way, but you can help each other snag more deals by fanning out and divvying up duties. Merchandise and time is limited on Black Friday so having an extra hand or two helps.


Do Some Post-Friday Shopping

Hopefully the planning pays off and you get everything on your must-have list. If you miss out on any, don’t worry – Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday can save the day! Plan your after-Friday purchases ahead of time just as you would with Black Friday. Check your list to see if there are better deals online. Find items at a non-chain store nearby to support local businesses. Skip huge lines and get a great deal? It’s a win-win.


Save Receipts

Check return policies and hang on to your receipts. If you need to return or exchange an item, having the receipt can save you a big post-Black Friday headache. Plus, if you purchase a gift for a charity or make a contribution on your way out of the store, you can deduct those donations when you efile with DIY Tax.


Happy shopping! Keep up with more helpful shopping tips here on the DIY blog. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay in the loop and let us know your Black Friday traditions in the comments below.