Before going any further, let’s just acknowledge the fact that people have a genuinely good point when they say that there’s something questionable about Thanksgiving weekend turning into a major shopping frenzy. That being said, almost all of us can benefit from saving money and, as long as you don’t go overboard or crazy, it can make the upcoming holiday season a lot less stressful (since you will have secured your gifts at a more affordable price). Here are some tips to scoring great deals in the most efficient way possible.

Be Prepared

Don’t wait until it’s time to line up at the strip mall to start figuring out whether what you need is on sale. Most stores release their flyers well in advance so that you can go through and make a list of the items you are looking for. This way you will know where you need to shop and whether you will have to go to more than one place.

Compare Prices

Once you have your list in place, you can compare prices which, of course, is one of the most important aspects of participating in Black Friday. You are looking for the best deal possible. Far too many people just jump at the nearest deal instead of making sure there isn’t something better. Take the time to do a quick comparison.

Bring the Ads

The entire Black Friday (or Thursday … or weekend) is steeped in chaos. It’s notoriously busy in the stores and the pricing is crazy so it’s easy to get confused. If you have your heart set on a certain item, make sure you bring the store’s flyer with you so that you can prove the advertised price, if need be.

Consider Using Your Credit Card

There are a few reasons to be hesitant about using your credit card. If you pay interest on your purchases you may not save any money at all due to high interest rates. You could, however, practice some discipline and pay the card off right away in order to use it to reap the benefits without dealing with the drawbacks. Using your credit card may actually double or triple the manufacturer’s warranty on the items you purchase. Further, your card company may offer refunds up to 90 days from when you bought it. You could also have sale price protection built in your card which, essentially, means that if the things you bought are marked down considerably after the date of purchase, you could be eligible for a refund. Call your credit card company for more information.

Stick with Online Shopping

It’s becoming increasingly popular for stores to offer their sales online. The deals may not be as discounted but many people are choosing to skip the crazy crowds in favor of staying safe in their pajamas as they shop. While many of the best bargains will be reserved for Cyber Monday, you will still be able to find great prices on Black Friday.

Download the App

One of the easiest ways to streamline the whole process is to download some of the very useful apps. There are a lot of them out there so, really, it will really depend on your own personal preferences. You will be able to access the ads, select favorites and easily compare prices. Among the most popular are: Blackfriday.com, Brad’s Black Friday, TGIBlackFriday and BuyVia.

Will you be shopping on Black Friday this year? Do you have a plan of action? We’d love to know!