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With Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, under a week away, it’s about time to start preparing yourself to deal with the crowds and get what you want with no hassle. The thing about Black Friday is that it’s not just your average holiday shopping trip. It takes a special kind of person to get out there at 2am and wait in line with other skilled shoppers who use every other shopping day of the year as practice for this day.

Some people are born to get out there sniff out the deals of the year that early in the morning, but for the rest of us normal people, here are a few tips so you don’t get left in the cold… both literally and figuratively.

Watch ads – The first step in Black Friday prep is to check the ads and make a list of things you want to go for when you get in the store.  The one rule to Black Friday is you can’t go into the store blind, you will get trampled by those who have been preparing since October.

Check store hours- Some stores open earlier than others, so it’s best to decide which stores you want to hit and find out when they open. If a store opens at 3am you can be sure the line will start forming around midnight on Thanksgiving.

Watch out for early bird specials- When you’re checking store hours you will notice that some stores will open early on thanksgiving night. These should be the stores you hit first because most people, other than those die hard shoppers, won’t know about early bird hours.

Research the product- You see the product in the advertisement it catches your eye, when you stand in line for hours and you finally get to said product you realize it’s not what you expected. Luckily, you did you research so you know exactly what to expect when you get in the store so you just grab and go.

Compare prices- Some stores will carry the same items, but at different prices there won’t be much difference but sometimes you will be happy you checked out those prices.  College students live for saving money so comparing prices is probably one of the biggest things you can do besides researching the product.

Learn the layout of the store- Yes this is a little compulsive, but in the end you’ll be happy you did. Think about it, the more familiar you are with the stores layout the faster you can move on to the next store.  Also being familiar with the store allows you to get your hands on more deals faster than others.

Gift receipts – Getting a gift for someone else, be sure to get a gift receipt. Heck if you’re getting a gift for yourself get a gift receipt. Last year I got a new GPS and on New Year’s Eve it had a little incident with being thrown off a balcony, thankfully I still had the gift receipt so I returned it and this time I got the warranty (another important thing to have.)

Get there EARLY-By early I don’t mean noon after your hangover is gone.

Dress appropriately- Standing outside at 1am it seems pretty easy if you have a little bailey’s in your hot chocolate, but depending on where you live you may get really cold out there.

Be careful- All jokes aside, Black Friday is all fun and games until someone gets hurt trying to get the last must have toy of the year. This is a day about having fun and getting great deals, hopefully this year we don’t hear about people getting hurt in the name of saving money.

Tags : Black Fridayblack friday 2010early bird specialsgift receiptsShopping

The author Kathrina

Kathrina is an enthusiast of all-things college lifestyle. She's the expert!

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