Black Friday is an annual American shopping event held the Friday after Thanksgiving (United States). It is considered the beginning of the holiday shopping season and offers some of the best discounts of the year. With that in mind, it can also be one of the most chaotic and stressful times to shop, so it’s important to prepare ahead of time.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience:

Start paying attention to retailer newsletters a few weeks before Black Friday. They are the easiest way to stay on top of promotions – more efficient and accurate than just Googling for deals. It is also worth adding retailers to your ‘Favourites’ or ‘Wishlist’ so that their ads pop up on your computer or smartphone. If you have a Gmail account, it is often a good idea to pull these emails into your primary tab so that you don’t miss any early tip-offs.

Ensure your online accounts with retailers are set up correctly & up-to-date with your billing & shipping details. This can save you a lot of stress in the run up to Black Friday when items sell out fast & can prevent heart-breaking emails telling you that the item is no longer available. Using a credit card is also an excellent idea as it can provide strong fraud protection and rewards which can be very helpful when making a large purchase.

Make a list of who you’re going shopping for, what kind of gifts they’re expecting and what you plan to buy them. This is the best way to keep your sanity and avoid spending more than you planned on.

Having a plan is important as most retailers don’t maintain accurate signage and advertising in-store so it can be easy to lose track of where you’re supposed to be & what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the return policies and restocking fees, if any, for the stores you’ll be visiting.

Be aware that it is very easy to buy stuff just because it has a big discount Elementor Black Friday on it. It’s important to think about whether the item is something you really need or want and if it isn’t, ask yourself if you would have purchased it anyway, regardless of its price tag.

Be prepared for long lines, huge crowds & chaos. It’s a good idea to get an early start as items sell out quickly on this day, particularly electronics. Expect some of the top tech deals to be at Macy’s, Amazon & Best Buy. The hottest toys will be at Belk, Target, JCPenney & Kohl’s. Other hot categories are beauty & personal care products, luggage & jewellery.