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Black Friday is a day of huge sales at many chain stores. Consumers can get especially good deals on electronics, appliances, and sometimes even cars. Clothes, too, are often steeply discounted.

10 Tips for Smart Black Friday Shopping

  1. Try to get Friday off work. Thanksgiving Thursday is a federal holiday, and public and private schools are closed on Friday. Still, many people including healthcare providers, retail sales clerks and restaurant workers will have to report into work on the day after Thanksgiving. So if you’re hoping to get big bargains on Black Friday this year, arrange beforehand to get that day off work. Note: In 2011, some retailers started Black Friday on Thanksgiving evening. In 2012, some started the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Avoid impulse purchases. The best way to do this is to make a shopping list before you set out, with some idea of what you want to pay for each item – and stick to it. When there’s a shopping frenzy all around you, having a list in hand is the best way to avoid making purchases you’ll regret later.
  3. Scope it out first. You can’t be in two places at once, alas. Will you go to an individual store, like Century 21, or a mall? In Brooklyn, New York, you’ve got a growing choice of malls: the Atlantic Center Mall? Kings Plaza? Macy’s and the stores in the Fulton Mall? Or Gateway Mall?
  4. Prioritize the most expensive items first. You won’t be able to get everything on your list, so you might as well save the most money on the largest items.
  5. Make sure your credit or debit card is ready for Black Friday shopping. There’s nothing worse, or more embarrassing, than standing in line for an hour only to discover that your credit card isn’t accepting the charge.
  6. Decisions, decisions: Are you a solo shopper? Or do you like company? For some, the motto “he who travels lone travels fastest” applies to shopping. Others like to bring their spouse, sister or friend. If you’ve got your eye on two very different big ticket items, like a TV and also a car, then you might need to enlist your family members or friends to help shop so you can get the best bargains early. If you’ve got young children, it’s wise to leave them with a babysitter; this is heavy-duty shopping, and kids won’t find it all that much fun.
  7. Be prepared to wait outside or in. Wear comfy shoes, travel light and bring a snack. Wear weather-appropriate clothes, like a jacket or rain coat if you’re going to get to the store super early and wait online outside. Wear super comfortable shoes, too — and outer wear that won’t be bulky if you end up taking it off inside an overheated, crowded store. Bring snacks like an apple or energy bar, a bottle of water, and your patience. Lines can be long.
  8. Work out your transportation: Figure out how you’re going to get to the store, and back. If you’re going very early, check the mass transit schedules or the parking situation. If you plan to buy a huge item, like TV, either drive or have the phone number of a car service handy.
  9. Charge your cell phone or smart phone the day before so you can stay connected.
  10. Even if you don’t arrive at 4 a.m. try to get there as early as you can. Some stores have limited quantities on the best bargains. Some end their sales when you might normally be enjoying your second cup of morning coffee. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm.
Ten Tips for Smart Black Friday Shopping

Ten Tips for Smart Black Friday Shopping

Or … Stay home instead! Have a bagel, stay in your pajamas, and shop online. See www.DealsofAmerica.com or just check your favorite online sites.

Brooklyn shoppers — whether you’re visiting for Thanksgiving or live in Brooklyn — have more than a few choices. You can go to the local Brooklyn stores and malls, which offer a good selection. Or, head to Long Island or upstate New York to the discount malls. And, of course, you can always head to Manhattan, a shopping Mecca.

Tip: Some experts suggest that consumers can buy an item in advance, and then bring it with the receipt to adjust the price on Black Friday. This strategy carries the obvious risk that the stores will say no.

Black Friday is the retailers’ way of enticing shoppers to start spending for the big Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season. Happy hunting!

Michelle Obama has launched yet another incentive to try to slim down the U.S. as part of her Let’s Move campaign.

Tips from the First Lady and healthy living fanatic include to “steer clear of the cookie, snack and soda aisle” in a “supermarket shopping 101” cheat sheet on the letsmove.gov website.

Michelle Obama offers suggestions on the best times to shop, how to work your way around a store and a five-night meal plan with downloadable recipes.

“By always heading to the essential areas of the store first, you’ll train yourself to form a shopping pattern that’s healthier, and, in time, will get you in and out of the store faster,” Michelle Obama writes.

Michelle Obama has launched yet another incentive to try to slim down the US as part of her Let's Move campaign

Michelle Obama has launched yet another incentive to try to slim down the US as part of her Let's Move campaign

She warns: “Whenever you decide to shop, just don’t do it on an empty stomach, hunger pangs will tempt you to stray from your shopping list.”

But if you can’t resist a snack, the First Lady has a few options for healthy treats to satisfy the craving, giving the green light to plain popcorn, frozen edamame, nuts, dried fruit, low-fat yogurt, hummus and raw veggies or salsa and baked tortilla chips.

Michelle Obama recommends buying in bulk, taking advantage of sales and keeping an eye on what’s in season.

Shoppers are also advised to opt for packaged food with short ingredient lists, paying close attention to exactly what is in it.

Michelle Obama’s shopping guidance appeared among a series of articles published on ivillage.com when she was guest editor.

She shared her personal experiences of being the primary shopper in her family before they moved to the White House, crediting a “flexible work schedule” for allowing her to seek out the best stores for healthy bargains.

“I am an absolute list person,” she said.

“And I actually enjoy the efficiency of the list because it also keeps me from buying stuff that we didn’t need. I had my path through the grocery store and I would make my list based on the path that I took.”

Michelle Obama continued: “I would start in the frozen -no, I would go over to the far right aisle in Dominick’s and work my way up.

“And the last thing I would do was the produce section and get all the vegetables and fruits and all that, and then get right into the line. And I stayed on the outer aisle.”

“And if you stay at the outer aisles you try to avoid going in and getting the processed, packaged foods.”

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