Is Black Friday shopping part of your holiday tradition? Our Savvy Shopper's Survival Guide to Black Friday will get you through the madness unscathed. Use these holiday shopping tips all season long.

Holiday Shopping Pre-Planning Tips

Don't even think about going Black Friday shopping without having done your homework. Look ahead for Black Friday deals. Planning the best stores and getting there ahead of time will pay off, especially if you know exactly what item or items you want.

Make a List: Don't leave home without it! Lists are a savvy shopper's game plan. It enables you to focus and go straight for your item and not wander around the store or be lured by an enticing deal. Create a list by writing down all the people who you would like to give a gift and ideas of what you would like to buy for them. 

Set a budget: Create a budget—and stick to it. Making a budget ahead of time can keep you from overspending or adding stuff that wasn't on your list or isn't a good deal. Black Friday sales, especially doorbusters, are usually only available in limited quantities and are designed to get you into the store so they can sell you something else. If you find that you're too loose with your charge cards, try buying with cash and see if you have better control.

Preview the Ads: The fun part! Begin studying the ads—in print and online—before Thanksgiving. You can find ads on Black Friday–focused websites such as blackfriday.com, bfads.net, and theblackfriday.com.

Determine the Deals: It's time to figure out which stores have the best deals for the items on your holiday shopping list. Don't forget to read the fine print: if it says quantities are limited, you should be one of the first in line. Also, be sure to double check what usually comes with the item you are looking for and what the store is offering. Many stores offer basic versions of products, which means you will have to spend money on accessories.

Do a Price Comparison: Before you hit the stores, shop around to see what the average retail price of an item is before you leave, so you can go to the store that is offering the best deal. Sites like PriceGrabber.com allow you to search by product, compare prices and read reviews. Even Pinterest has price alerts that monitor items you've pinned on certain websites and email you when they go on sale. Apps such as ShopSavvy can also provide price comparisons and offer discounts, such as coupons. 

Check Reviews: A low price on a lousy product is no bargain. A general Google search for an item on your list should provide results, including reviews on Amazon.com.

Familiarize Yourself with Store Policies: Knowing the store price match and return policies can help you decide where to shop and what stores to avoid. Some have restocking fees, shorter return deadlines, and other terms or conditions.

Get Additional Savings: Consider signing up for email alerts or check the retailer's Twitter or Facebook accounts. Many stores offer exclusive previews of their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for consumers on their email lists. Sign up for Black Friday shopping alerts about coming promotions, coupons, and discounts. Newspaper inserts often contain extra coupons, so they're worth browsing, too.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm: Scope out stores ahead of time to find your desired purchases and the closet checkout to get in and out quickly.

Shop Smart

Prioritize: It's impossible to be the first in line at more than one store, so prioritize and go for your big-ticket items first to maximize savings.

Bring Ads with You: Bring sales ads with you so you can have them available to review the exact item you plan to purchase or if you plan on showing the ad as proof for a price match.

Check Prices in Store: Did you stumble on something in the store that looks like a good deal, but you're not sure if it is? Use an app such as RedLaser or PriceGrabber to scan the price to find out. These apps include a barcode scanner to help you compare prices along with coupon codes and special deals.

Avoid Impulse Purchases: Don't get caught up in the frenzy. Impulse purchases will blow your budget. If you're standing in line, and you're tempted to add another item to your cart, ask yourself if you need it or just want it.

Don't Forget the Gift Receipt: Remember to ask for a gift receipt if you plan to shop for other people. That can make it easier for the recipient to return the item.

Comfort: Wear comfortable attire and consider a cross-body bag to carry your phone and wallet.

Shop with a Buddy: Consider bringing a shopping buddy for safety and to help grab bargains or provide drop off and pick up service. 

Final Shopping Recommendations

Above all, as crazy as it gets, remember to have fun and be courteous. Or, you're always welcome to stay home and shop in your pajamas.

We hope these tips make your Black Friday shopping excursion a little less stressful, maybe even more enjoyable. Now go be frugal, you savvy shopper. Ready, set, shop!

We hope you enjoyed these tips from Security First Insurance, provider of the best Florida home insurance. Stay safe and shop smart this holiday season. Do you have any tips to share?

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