The 10 Black Friday Commandments

Beauty & Style | Camille Travis | 11/26/2013 | 02:45 PM EST

The scene will be hectic, but we've got a few tips to make the best of this shopper's holiday

Leave the hassle of Black Friday to unprepared patrons. Follow these 10 Commandments to post-Turkey Day shopping for a guaranteed in-and-out trip, leaving you plenty of time to bask in the fruits of your labor.

Thou shalt do thy homework…

Unlike most shopping trips, Black Friday demands pre-planning. Make a detailed list of the items you are looking to purchase to avoid impulse buys. Before setting out on your mission to bag the latest gadgets, research local stores to find which one holds the best deal. There’s nothing worse than finding out a 55’’ flat screen was a few hundred dollars less up the street.

After researching said flat screen (or item of your choice), check product reviews to ensure a sound purchase.

Thou shalt set a budget…

Along with doing your homework, it’s important to set a realistic budget of what your pockets can afford. Not only should you be aware of your financial situation before heading to the checkout line, but remember that Black Friday is one Friday. One day. There are plenty of weeks—and sales—to catch up on purchases before it’s too late. So, mind your pennies!

Honor thy coupons…

So you’re not a regular extreme couponer, that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend for a day. Be on the lookout for money-saving coupons inside your mailbox or daily newspaper. Websites like RetailMeNot offer discount codes for the smart shopper, so take advantage.

Thou shalt not push, shove nor steal from thy neighbor…

This should go without saying, but every year…

Be courteous, people, be courteous.

Neither shalt thou buy “trap” items…

Toys, brand name HDTVs, digital cameras, jewelry, winter apparel and other items are often known as “trap” purchases. The attraction of a new Nikon camera at a slightly lower price is tempting, but come February, that “old model” will be even cheaper. Patience is a virtue—and a money saver.

Toys can be tricky because, let’s face it, kids want what they want. But don’t be discouraged: many stores discount these items a few weeks before Christmas.

Thou shalt be mindful of scams…

There will always be a Grinch trying to steal Christmas before it even gets here. Be aware of scammers looking to sell discounted gadgets (Apple products in particular) and counterfeited luxury products such as handbags and jewelry. If you’ve opted out of Black Friday and are waiting for Cyber Monday (see below), be protective of your personal information on the Internet.

Thou shalt not put any megastores above small businesses…

Small business and specialty shops are often blown off by consumers looking to score deals at Walmart, Target and other megastores. When it comes to smaller, more personalized gifts, you can’t go wrong with your locally-owned retailers. Many stores abide by the Black Friday tradition to offer great deals as well. And, you’ll be a help to your community. Win-win.

At 4:00 a.m. thou shalt wake up, and do all thy shopping…

There’s one thing that will never change about Black Friday: The early bird gets the discounted goods. So brew that coffee, pitch a tent and prepare to head out before the sun comes up. Your pockets will thank you.

[Make stores] utilize thy price-match policy…

You’ve seen the commercial…”If you find a better price somewhere else, we’ll match it!” If you forgot to do your homework (see above), take a store up on their price-match policy to keep a few extra bucks in your bank account.

Remember Cyber Monday…

When all else fails, enjoy your weekend and hit the web on Monday. In recent years, Cyber Monday has become increasingly popular with buyers who want to skip the headaches of Black Friday. Don’t forget to check out marketplaces like Groupon and Living Social to find awesome discounts.

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