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Shopping on Black Friday? Here's What You Need to Know

Sara from SarandipitySaves.com shares her Black Friday shopping tips and tricks, and a few of the top store's best deals.

There's some argument as to why we refer to the Friday following Thanksgiving as "Black Friday." Philadelphia claims their police force coined the term in the 1960s after throngs of folks took to the streets to shop 'till they dropped.

Others say the name was adopted by retailers as it was traditionally the first day of the year in which their sales brought them out of the red and into the black.

I'm leaning toward the latter explanation as last year more than 138 million consumers took advantage of the deep discounts of Black Friday, spending $45 billion in a single day. This year is expected to be an even bigger event.

If you're gearing up to head out and throw elbows to snag the day's biggest steals, here's some tips on how to make it a successful trip.

Bring along a bargin hunting buddy

Going it alone on Black (and blue) Friday isn't an option. We've all seen the news reports of crowds stampeding over each other and fights breaking out. With a buddy in tow, you can double your chances of both both winning that fist fight (Hello, tag team!) and assuring you both get everything on your wish list. Splitting up will allow you to each dash towards one of the door busters that are highest in demand.

Many items have limits of how many each person can buy. With two people on the roster, you can double that limit. You can also designate one person as the shopper and one as the line hopper, meaning one gathers all the items on each of your lists while the other secures a spot in line at the register. This will save you potentially hours of time as checkout lines typically are so long you could be waiting an hour to checkout - and that means you'll be an hour behind getting deals at the next store. 

Don't pay attention to sizes or colors

This tip may sound like I've lost my marbles, but following it will ensure that even if your size in that sweater is sold out or the color of appliance you've been pinning after is gone, you'll still have a chance to get that item at the super discounted price.

How? Simply buy the item in the size or color that is still available and then exchange it for the correct variety after the Black Friday frenzy is over.

Most stores will restock the merchandise that sold out and if even if they don't you can check with that company's other stores in the area. If you can't find the items you're pinning for you, can return it and receive a refund or give it as a gift. 

Be a pro and leave nothing to chance

Shopping on Black Friday is no joke. To be a success, you will need to treat this like a covert mission that's not impossible, but almost.

A few days before the big day, do some reconnaissance at the store to scope out exactly where the items you're most excited about are located so you can beeline right to them without hesitating.

Most major stores actually offer Black Friday maps on their websites, so be sure to check if yours does and map out your plan of attack. You can also ask the manager at the store if certain items will be sold via the voucher system or if items will be relocated to special displays. The voucher system is when folks wait in line and specific merchandise is sold in a first come, first served manner, and vouchers are passed out to those making the cut.

Further, check store fliers before you head out and make a list of what you most want to take home. Most important, don't stray from that list. There is going to be deals and amazing prices everywhere you look. You must stay focused on what's most important to you.

Stay home and shop online

Here's another reason to love the Internet: Most stores offer the same prices online that they do in the stores Black Friday and many will offer those deals before they're available in person.

Be sure to check the store's website before going this way to make sure this option is available. If it is, you'll not only save money on your holiday gift, but on aspirin as well.

And if you do shop online on Black Friday or anytime this holiday season, that offers tips on how to save online.

For those planning on joining the millions of Americans out and about on Friday, here's a list to get you started. I'm including store start times as well as some of their best deals.

TARGET

Start Time: Doors open at midnight on Friday. Stores will be open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Best Deals: Acer 10.1-inch Netbook $157; DVDs start at $1.99; Disney Princess Enchanted Musical Vanity, $49; Rachael Ray 14-piece Nonstick Cook Set, $97; Folding Firepits, $29.99 and Dyson Multi-floor Vacuum $279.

Click here to see the full ad!

WALMART

Start Time: Doors open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Black Friday events will be held at the following times:

  • 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day: Toys, home and apparel
  • Midnight on Black Friday: Electronics
  • 8 .m. on Friday through the weekend: Gifts for the entire family, electronics and more.

Best Deals: Rival Waffle Iron, $2.84; Assorted board games $3.88; Memory Foam bath rug, $6.97; Shark Electric Steam Mop, $38, Ladies Danskin Microfleece Pullover, $4.97; DVDs starting at $1.97; Selected Blu-ray Movies $10; Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect, Kinect Adventures Game, Wireless Controller, $199.96 plus you'll get a $50 Walmart gift card back, essentially making this $149.96; HP All-In-One printer, $19; LG Blu-ray Player, $49.

Click here to see the full ad!

KOHL'S

Start Time: For the first time ever, Kohl's will be open 24 hours from midnight on Thursday to midnight Friday, and then on Saturday from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Best Deals: Selected diamond accent jewelry $11.99; Barbie dolls, $6.99; Rachael Ray three-piece stoneware set, $29.99; Memory Foam Bed pillow, $17.99; fleece throws, $3.99; junior's wool coats, $37.99

Plus, you'll receive $15 in Kohl's Cash for each $50 you spend.

Click here to see the full ad!

BEST BUY

Start Time: Doors open at midnight on Thanksgiving Day.

Best Deals: Toshiba Smart Blu-ray Player $39.99; "Harry Potter and the Dealthly Hallows Part 2" Blu-ray DVD $9.99; HP Deskjet Wireless All-In-One Printer $24.99; DVDs starting at 99 cents; Blu-rays starting at $4.99; Harmony 650 advanced remote, $39.99 (I own this remote and LOVE it!); Sunbeam cupcake maker, $24.99,

Click here to see the full ad!

To see sneak peeks of all your favorite store's Black Friday sale fliers, click here.

LOCAL MALL HOURS & INFO

BAYSHORE TOWN CENTER, 5800 N. Bayshore Drive, Glendale

Start Time: The mall is closed on Thanksgiving Day. Doors open at 7 a.m. on Friday. 

Click here to see sales and specials!

BROOKFIELD SQUARE, 95 N. Moorland Road, Brookfield

Start Time: The mall is closed on Thanksgiving Day. Doors open at 5 a.m. Friday.

Click here to see sales and specials!

SOUTHRIDGE MALL, 5300 S. 76th St., Greendale

Start Time: The mall is closed Thanksgiving Day. Doors open at 3 a.m. on Friday.

Click here to see sales and specials!

MAYFAIR MALL, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa

Start Time: The mall is closed Thanksgiving Day. Doors open at 5 a.m. on Friday.

Mayfair has some fun shopping incentives for Black Friday. Click here to check them out!

Happy shopping and be sure to come back and let us know what great deals you were able to score!

__________________________________________

Super shopper Sara Conrad tells readers about the best deals in town with her column, which can be found on Patch three times a week. And more savings can be found on her website, sarandipitysaves.com.

Nick Lauren November 22, 2011 at 04:42 AM
Ahhh great article. The one thing is you missed the best Black Friday deal in years. The $199 42" Sharp LCD 1080p at Best buy.
Sara Conrad November 22, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Rumor has it there will only be about 10 of those available at each store.....but Best Buy will be holding outdoor showings of Harry Potter's latest movie so perhaps waiting in line for one won't be too bad. :)

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