7 Black Friday Shopping Hacks All the Insiders Know

I'll admit it: Black Friday is a sport. Between the early wakeup calls, long lines, and high-stakes deals, it's not an endeavor for the faint of heart. But if you're determined to score the best deals, which you probably are given that you're reading this, we're about to share a few Black Friday shopping tips that will set you apart as an expert shopper even if you're really a novice at the post-Thanksgiving holiday. If it's your first time venturing out for the biggest shopping day of the year, you should be prepared.

Gone are the days of sleeping in and casually wandering your local mall on this day. Instead, it's common to find people who wake up at the crack of dawn or even stay up all night after Thanksgiving in pursuit of the best deals. We're not saying you have to be one of them, but we will share the pieces of advice that everyone who's a die-hard Black Friday shopper will know. And, you guessed it, planning ahead is the biggest way to come out successful.

Curious to learn everything there is to know about prepping for Black Friday shopping? Keep reading to discover seven hacks and then shop pieces we recommend at the end.

1. Wake up early

It should go without saying, but if you're heading out to score as many Black Friday deals as is humanly possible, you better not fall into a tryptophan-induced slumber. It seems no one sleeps in anymore after Thanksgiving (some even stay up all night), so get a leg up on the competition and set your alarm—early.

2. Strategize your plan of attack

3. Enroll in loyalty programs

4. Keep a shopping list

Just like keeping a list of your top brands and retailers you want to focus on shopping, you should keep a list of the actual items you're shopping for. Black Friday can be so overwhelming and stores will obviously try to inundate you with deals on deals, so stay focused by keeping key styles and item types in mind that you're shopping for. Not sure what should be on your list? We have a few ideas here.

5. Clip those coupons

Photo:

The Style Stalker

Yes, be that person who hoards a zillion coupons, at least when it comes to Black Friday shopping. Some might prove to be futile, but you never know which might come in handy until you have them all (neatly organized) in your wallet.

6. Check the return policy

Don't get stuck regretting spontaneous purchases only to realize everything you bought was final sale. (You shouldn't find yourself in this scenario if you bought only the items on your shopping list, but alas.) Check the return policies before you purchase—either go online to find out or simply ask a store associate in person.

7. Create a budget—and stick with it

Shop everything on my Black Friday shopping list: