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Tracy Briggs, Published November 27 2013

The Great Indoors: Planning ahead is best route to Black Friday success

It’s become something of a tradition with my family. As Thanksgiving Day breaks, I pick up my paper (remember everyone: lift with the legs. That’s a heavy sucker). I read through the articles. I’m a good Forum Communications employee, right? But it’s not long before my daughters and I break into the inserts.

I love looking through the Black Friday fliers to get some Christmas ideas and to plot our shopping strategy. If you don’t go into this day with something of a plan, you’ll get eaten alive. So with a little help from Forbes magazine and my own time spent on the frontlines, I’ve come up with eight tips to Black Friday success.

1. Use your apps. There are a few apps out there that will help you set your strategy. It’ll alert you to the newest deals by the retailers you want. They include: TGIblackfriday.com and retailmenot.com.

2. Concentrate on electronics. Speaking of smartphones, tip No. 2 reminds us to concentrate on electronics on Black Friday. The best deals are on electronics – things like phones, tablets, DVDs and other gadgets. If you shop for nothing else, shoot for these.

3. Be smart about clothing purchases. If you’re looking for clothes, experts say don’t bother buying unless they’re at least 40 percent off. Anything less than that and you can find it during other sale days. In fact, Black Friday isn’t even the best sale day of the year, the lowest prices are typically found in August, September and January.

4. Look for brands that rarely go on sale. While clothing can be marked down anytime of the year, some brands very seldom go on sale. They include brands such as: Oakley, Ray Bans, Fossil and Prada among many others. If you find any of these brands on sale, you might seriously consider making the purchase.

5. The early bird does get the worm. If you’re a non-shopper, you might think they’re nuts. But there’s a reason thousands of people camp out overnight or get to the stores hours before the sun comes up. The best deals often are over by 8 a.m. If you don’t mind the cold temperatures or snoozing on asphalt, early rising is a path to savings.

6. Don’t go it alone. Find friends and map out a strategy. Figure out which areas of the store you’ll each tackle or have someone stand in line while another continues to shop. Some people choose to make Black Friday just an extension of their holiday. They wear matching T-shirts or crazy hats and even go out for a celebratory breakfast after shopping is done.

7. Shop online. If you’re not into waking up early or for that matter going out to shop on Black Friday at all, don’t despair. It’s estimated about 70 percent of sale items you find on Black Friday are available on store websites at some point. Let your fingers do the clicking.

8. Shop local. Here’s an option: don’t get caught up in the hubbub of the box stores. Shop local. You might pay a little more, but you’re supporting your own community, and most of the time the crowds will be lighter.

And here’s a final thought: When you think back to your favorite Christmas memories, how often do they surround the gifts you got? Oftentimes, your favorite memories involve the time spent with family and friends, not the material things. So maybe that’s reason enough to roll over when that alarm goes off.

Watch “The Great Indoors” with Tracy Briggs every Thursday on www.InforumTV.com.