If you want the very best deals on Black Friday you have to have a shopping plan.  Whether its online shopping or in the stores, simply saying “I’m going to go look around…” won’t cut it if you want to knock out some of your holiday gifts with least hassle.

So how to do it?  Where do I start?  What are the best deals on the things I want to get for gifts this holiday season?

The Savvy Sleuth is going to give you some Savvy Sleuth clues to planning your Black Friday shopping to maximize your dollar and keep your sanity in tact.

  1. Plan ahead for your entire day.  Seems simple enough, but so few do it.  Everything from your gift list, to times you’ll take a break and rest a bit, should be planned out.  Gas up the car the day before.  Plan a to-go breakfast or a run through a drive-through on the way to the stores. Make a plan for when you are going to stop shopping.  Whether it’s when you’ve spent a certain amount or a time of day, and stick to it.  Yes, variables like waiting in line occur (even online the sites get backed up and you can’t click through to make your purchase), but an attack plan will help calm your nerves and give you forward momentum to get the job done!
  2. Make your Black Friday list and check it twice before shopping.   If you have decided on specific gifts for those on your list and you’re on the hunt, it’s easier to have a list because you know what prices you want to pay for the items and if you don’t see them during your Black Friday shopping – don’t buy ’em – put it off until you find the right prices.  It’s likely you will see the right deal at the right price in the days or weeks following Black Friday.  Don’t overspend on items you don’t really want, just because they are on sale.  Many will be heavily discounted in no time, you just have to be patient. Again, variables will occur, like finding a screamin’ deal on something not on your list but that will be PERFECT for Aunt Mary is OK, but if you get it, don’t buy the other item on your list.  Revise the list after purchasing the ‘non-list’ item and move on.
  3. If you’re agoraphobic, stay home on Black Friday and shop online. Do you panic in a crowd?  Do you find yourself getting mad when you can’t move through a store?  Stay home.  Save yourself the grief and shop Black Friday deals online. There are some great ones that begin at 12:01am on Black Friday, and you can shop through Ebates.com to get cash back – which will probably be Double Cash Back during both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.   You’ll be happier and probably snag as many great deals as your brave friends who got up at 3am to stand in line for the possibility of snagging that amazing deal on tube socks.
  4. Check out Black Friday deal sites for ad scans right now.   Did you know you can get Black Friday ad info today?  Many deal sites are around that offer up ad leaks (the ads that go in the newspapers before Black Friday) listing the deals that will be available at specific stores during Black Friday.  You can literally look at them online as you would see them in your local paper, but weeks before they come out.  (**Check the Savvy Sleuth Black Friday and Articles categories for links to the Savvy Sleuth’s favorite Black Friday ad scan sites.)   This is a super-easy way to plan your Black Friday shopping.  It’s also a fabulous way to learn what to expect on product pricing – especially helpful with electronics – so that if you’re shopping the deals online during Black Friday you know if it’s a good deal or a great deal when you find it.
  5. Don’t try and get it all done on Black Friday if you want the very best deals.  Black Friday is a retailers way of throwing up the green light for the race on your holiday cash.  It’s not necessarily the best time to do all your shopping or get the best deals.  Following Black Friday there are still 4 weeks until Christmas, which means a month of great deals to get even better!  Admittedly there are those who don’t have time to shop by waiting and watching, but they probably aren’t reading this anyway.
Remember that Black Friday is a fun time to shop, but it’s not the only time to get great deals online and in the stores. Cyber Monday is just around the corner too, and if you shop through Ebates and Fatwallet.com, remember to snag your cash back by going through their sites when shopping online.
If you want to be a satisfied Black Friday shopper, make a detailed plan and stick to it.  While you may end up battle fatigued, by the end of the day you will have won the holiday deal shopping war!