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Here’s How to Prep for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Braving the stores the day after Thanksgiving? Use our Black Friday tips to make the whole experience more enjoyable.

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Beautiful young brunette sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee and reading newspapersImpact Photography/Shutterstock

Do Your Research

Most stores will advertise their top Black Friday deals in advance of the big day. If you’re looking for a specific item, compare prices between major retailers. If you’re purchasing electronics, it’s wise to write down the exact model number of the item you want, as many product names sound similar.

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Closed sign inside the store door for customer know we will back tomorrow.ShutterOK/Shutterstock

Check Store Hours

Over the last few years, Black Friday shopping has started earlier and earlier, sometimes even on Thanksgiving. In response, many retailers are beginning to scale back their holiday hours to give workers time at home.

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Woman housewife shopping for electric kettle, smilingSergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock

Plan Big Purchases, Even If They’re Not Gifts

Traditionally, Black Friday is the kick-off to the holiday gifting season. But it’s worth shopping for major home purchases, too. You’ll find household appliances like refrigerators and blenders on sale, as well as furniture and linens. See what kitchen appliances are good buys on Black Friday.

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Retail, credit card payment service. Customer paying for order of cheese in grocery shop.Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Make a Budget

Overwhelmed by deals in the store, shoppers often return home only to discover that they spent more money than planned. Setting a budget cuts down on impulse buying. Remember, you’re not saving money if you’re buying something you don’t need, even if it is on sale!

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Woman using tablet and holding Black Friday shopping bag while standing on the stairs with the mall backgroundPopTika/Shutterstock

Set a Game Plan

Have a list of stores you plan to visit and what you’re looking for at each one. Many stores offer a few incredible deals and those items will sell out immediately. If you absolutely need that TV, arrange to get to that store first and head directly to the electronics department.

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Customers and staff in a busy clothes shopMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Shop Small

Don’t forget local businesses, many of which offer deals on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday—often without the throngs of people. If you’re eager to start holiday shopping without the intensity of the deal-seeking crowds, small businesses are a good choice. Build a list of unique gift ideas, then head to bookstores, toy shops and boutiques.

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Summer Beach Holiday Online Shopping

Shop in Your PJs

Here’s one of the best Cyber Monday shopping tips: Don’t wait until Monday! Most web stores start their sales on Black Friday (or Thanksgiving) and carry them through the weekend.

To find out about deals and coupon codes, sign up to get emails from each specific retailer. They’ll often send subscribers additional discount codes or early alerts to price cuts. Don’t miss these Cyber Monday deals, too.

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Hungry freckled blonde girl eating taco on a food court on a sunny summer day in park.Lyubov Levitskaya/Shutterstock

Stay Hydrated and Fueled

Starting at dawn? Don’t forget to take breaks to eat and drink water. It’s easy to get dehydrated after a few hours of errands, especially if you had a bit too much wine with Thanksgiving dinner. Bonus points if you pack an easy Black Friday snack, which is much quicker than a detour through the food court.

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Beautiful young family enjoying their holiday time together, decorating Christmas tree, arranging the christmas lights and having funImpact Photography/Shutterstock

Have Perspective

The build-up toward Black Friday, the crowds of shoppers, the ads screaming about deals—it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated. Remember, it’s just one weekend of shopping. Many stores will continue to have sales throughout the holiday season and prices often dip to their lowest immediately after Christmas.

Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.