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| by Salma Khattab

Double Your Deals This Black Friday with 14 Secret Shopping Tips

Don't we all love to get the best deals for products we've been longing for? For every shopping lover out there, yes, we do feel you. We, too, feel the victory whenever we win a bargain or spot a once-in-a-life-time offer. That's why when a major shopping event such as Black Friday takes place, it's like our own Oscar Awards event. The deals offered during the Black Friday period seems to be the best that we could ever get. But wait a second, can you imagine that these bargains can actually double? Yes they can! There are some tricks I’ve learned, to make the day even better and less stressful and yet multiply the deals and do the right picks! So let's move on to the juicy part you're all waiting for! The following is my top secret tips and tricks to make the most out of the year’s biggest shopping scene, “Black Friday”.

1.  Double the trouble with discounted gift cards

It is always fun to get a deal, yes? Well, it’s even better to get a great deal. In order to do this, just remember to have a discounted gift card(s) before you head out to shop. There are numerous websites offering gift cards for hundreds of retailers. Believe it or not, you will be able to put a lot of money right back in your pocket! Try Raise.com; it's probably my number one Black Friday shopping secret.

2. Sign up for newsletter emails

This tip requires you to decide which stores you will shop at first, then visit their online stores to sign up for email newsletter. This should be done at least two weeks before Black Friday. Putting you on the list of people that will receive the store's emails can take time, that's why you need to register early to allow for enough time for this process.

3. Prepare a "must find" shopping list

In other words, prioritize your shopping list. First, arrange the things you need to buy from the most to the least important. Then, write down each store for each item. That way, you won't be roaming around a lot while shopping, since you'll be mind-organized already about which department or store you should visit first. That way, you won't be missing on something that you badly needed to buy.

4. Make a plan B

Because you know there are many other people out there that want to make the best bargains too, always consider that there is a probability that you may not find the item you are looking for. Accordingly, you need to have a backup plan by adding a second item to your list, to save time that could be wasted by standing in the middle of the shopping mall thinking of an alternative product.

5. Take a shopping mate with you

Not only is it more fun to shop with someone who shares the same interest with you, but it can be super helpful too! First, this will help you both find the items you want to buy faster and easier. Your friend can visit the furniture section for the coffee table you want while you might be checking the electronics section for them at the same time! It's also a very nice trick to share buying a certain offer. Sometimes a store offers 2-3 items for less, so you can simply divide the deal between both of you, and each can take what they only need from the package.

6. Do it without your kids

Black Friday involves a lot of standing in line and walking through stores, and you surely don't want your kids to suffer. Kids aren't patient as we are, so instead of feeling guilty for making them stand for a long period of time or for making them feel bored while you search for the best deals, just leave them with someone you trust at home. Neither you, nor your kids, will be happy sharing the Black Friday shopping experience together. Besides, you will most likely miss a lot of hot deals because all you will be thinking of will be the fact that you should go home.

7. Don't miss the Pre-Black Friday Deals

You might notice many retailers put some items on sale right before Black Friday's arrival. Well, these discounts can actually make the most amazing deals that probably won’t be available later in the week. Some shops/brands don't take part in Black Friday; all they offer are the sale before that event. That's why thinking that you might get a hotter deal if you wait to shop from them on the big event might make you lose the whole bargain since they won't be offering the sale anymore.

8. Shop for future holidays/events

Why not plan for the future? Make a list of the events coming up during your up-coming year such as the weddings you know you'll be attending, and look for a masterpiece evening gown that you can own with a big deal during Black Friday. This way, you will be saving money on the long run since you know that the same dress would cost much more during normal days. Also, if you know someone -or if you- are going to move to another house in the near future, why not consider having a look at the appliances or furniture sections and save more money?

9. Consider shopping online

If many of the in-store deals will be available online, so why not avoid the hassle of the endless cashier line? Well, sometimes deciding to stay home during Black Friday may be the best thing you could do to yourself. From the comfort of your own couch, it will only take you a couple of clicks to shop with the best deals; just make sure you check out the 'Black Friday Codes and Deals' database. Online coupon codes and deals at hundreds of retailers are the easiest way to make the most of Black Friday.

10. Walk early into stores

The sooner you arrive to your target shopping store, the more likely you will find the items you want. Plan on waking up early to get the items on your list and be the first to take the best deals before everyone else does.

11. Follow your "cash" budget

Because not everything is really a deal, you need to know your budget and get it in cash. Leaving the credit cards at home will make you think more about every purchase which will reduce impulse shopping. This way, you'll be sure that everything you buy is something that you really need, and isn't just because it's on sale. There will be no way you can overspend since you won't be having the money to do it. Also, before you ask "how would I know it's the bargain of my life?", I'll tell you. Well, always check the original sticker price on the product, then compare that to the discount to see if it is really a great deal. Not all items will be deeply discounted, so don’t fall for the hype of the shopping season. Some items are originally overpriced so that when days like these come, they could still be profitable for the retailers. Imagine if the original price didn't have a discount and ask yourself whether you would think of it as an average-priced product or an overpriced one.

12. Pay attention to return policies and gift receipts

This is especially important if you're gifting someone. Don't let the shopping mood get you. What if you gift someone, and they need to exchange/refund the present for another item but the return policy doesn't allow this? You won't be able to make use of any penny you spent on that gift. So, don't make it go to waste by asking about the shop's return policy, or just make sure you pick a correct size for you or the recipient.

13. Use shopping bags instead of a cart

Carts can slow you down if you're shopping in a crowded place. Slowing down on a Black Friday means you will miss a lot. Therefore, it is always recommended to grab the nearest shopping bags before you start your mission. You can also take a couple of reusable shopping bags with you from home since some shops will only have carts. No matter how many items you might choose, stuffing your shopping bags will always be so much easier than pushing a heavy cart.

14. Chat with your "colleagues" in the cashier line!

This doesn't sound like an actual tip, and it actually is! Why not talk to the people around you whenever your are waiting in a line? Instead of feeling like you're waiting forever, you can exchange ideas with people to know how to get the best deals. Some people are really talented at this, and you will probably be standing behind one of them. Not only that, but also if you glimpsed a hot deal you didn't pay attention to, and you needed to dart out quickly to get it, the majority of people you might have befriended the minute before will allow you to get back in line where you were.

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Tags: Black friday  Sale   Offers  Shopping tips  Shopping  Shopping on a budget  Chic outlet shopping  Shopping 101  Clothing stores  Saving money