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Your Black Friday Shopping Survival Guide

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So, you’re willing to go outside and brave the Zombie Apocalypse in search of supplies Black Friday shopping crowds and risk being trampled by a stampede of angry shoppers on a mission to get the newest Xbox 50% off. No problem – as long as you’re prepared. There are a lot of articles telling you why you shouldn’t go shopping on Black Friday (such as this one). But, if you insist, we’re going to advise caution, as this event is no joke and should not be taken lightly. Read our guide if you want to emerge from the mall with great deals and a sense of accomplishment (or, at the very least, alive).

Plan Ahead/Organize Your Shopping List

We know it’s difficult to plan too far in advance, as some deals aren’t posted until the day before — or at all. Make a list of the things you need to buy, and try to stick to that list only. It is very easy to get carried away when you see items on sale that you want rather than need. Again, stick to your list! Then once you’ve finished it, you can browse for other deals. Save your energy for when it matters most: in the beginning of your quest. Extra tip: clip or print out all of the deals you found in case the store employee isn’t aware of a discount that was advertised.

Set a Budget

As we mentioned previously, it is very easy to get carried away on Black Friday. With so many dirt-cheap deals going on, it’s hard to resist temptation. You will be extremely surprised to see how much all those little things cost once you add them up. Be smart when you head out. Go for big-ticket items (like that certain kitchen appliance you really need) that have been reduced to a much lower price, rather than 20 shirts that cost $10.00 each. Setting a budget also makes it easier to throw down $200 in one transaction when you’ve planned and prepared yourself for it. That said, do your research. See how much it was retailed for originally, compare with other stores, see if it was on sale at any other time during the year, and see if the deal is really worth it. As this LA Times article points out, some Black Friday deals are very misleading and not, in fact, a bargain at all.

This is no family affair

Leave the kids at home. Sorry moms, but Black Friday is not fun or safe for kids. Unless you’re shopping at Ikea and can leave your kid in a ball pit for 4 hours (even that’s questionable), spare them the agony. There is too much commotion happening, and young kids cannot process the craziness and do not cope well in these situations. Plus, you never know what to expect from other shoppers. People push, shove, and get a mob mentality. Just watch this video and you’ll see why it’s a good idea to leave your child (or even your pregnant self) at home.

Pack your essentials

You will most likely spend a few hours shopping, so you need to come prepared in case your stomach starts rumbling halfway through the trip. You most likely won’t want to stop at the food court to have a meal (and even if the food court is open, be kind to your stomach and don’t have it struggling to digest a Big Mac). Pack a sandwich, fruit, and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Bring a Friend

Having somebody with you on the Black Friday shopping trip can make the experience much more enjoyable (or at least tolerable). Be sure to make a plan in advance, so you don’t end up fighting with your friend over the last PS4 on the shelf. Compare your lists and see if there are any items that are the same, so you can hit up the same stores at the same time and buy what you need. Splitting up can make the process even more time-efficient. If you plan it accordingly, you can split up the list so that one person can head to the electronics section and pick up two of the same items, while the other can head to the appliance section and do the same. Afterward, it’s easy to split the items and the cost between the two once you’ve left the store. Also, bringing a friend ensures that you have back-up in case of a fight (Just kidding. Please don’t get into any fights!).

Remain Calm

If somebody took the last digital camera that was on sale, don’t try to pry it out of their hands. Black Friday shouldn’t be the reason for us to regress back to some caveman/primitive ways. It’s not the end of the world if you didn’t get that deal you expected, so try to be courteous to people around you, even if they’re not reciprocating. To get an idea of what you’re dealing with on Black Friday, we recommend reading this list of the most brutal Black Friday injuries and deaths ever recorded.

Set yourself up for failure

You might walk away empty-handed, and you should come to terms with that. With so many people rushing to get the deal, there just aren’t enough items to please everybody. Have realistic expectations and don’t become emotionally invested in certain items you plan on buying (you’d be surprised at how many people do). Accepting the possibility of failure makes it easier to actually cope with it.

All jokes aside, exercise caution when you go shopping on Black Friday, especially in stores like Target, Best Buy, Future Shop and Wal-Mart, where there might be massive store-wide savings that will attract lots of customers. If you see a potential mob or stampede about to happen, it’s just not worth it. Get out of line and leave. Your health and safety is more important than saving twenty bucks on a gaming console.

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