Ethan Todd shares how to make shopping a success this Black Friday

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Follow these Black Friday tips to make this holiday season a success.

Ethan Todd, Staff Reporter

As the holiday season quickly approaches, so too does the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. I was introduced to Black Friday years ago when I was forced to tag along with my mother one year. It was the most stressful moment of my young life. But I also understand that the Black Friday hustle isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people downright hate the idea of shopping the morning after Thanksgiving. And while there’s something to be said for staying home in your pajamas, there are ways to make Black Friday shopping a little less painful and ensure you score stellar deals. Use these tips to tackle your holiday shopping like a pro and to get the best deals with the least amount of stress.
1. Set a Budget
Start by creating an overall Christmas budget including all holiday-related expenses, such as gifts, food, decor, and entertaining. Then, allocate funds to each category. Add up the total to see if it’s an amount you can afford to spend. If not, prioritize your list of expenses and reduce the amount you allocate to low-priority categories. It’s also a good idea to split your gift budget among your friends and family so you have individual spending limits for each person on your shopping list.
2. Make a Game Plan
Black Friday is not a day for window shopping. It’s a hardcore shopping experience, and if you don’t make a plan, you could get lost in the shuffle. Retailers are famous for advertising teaser deals, also known as Black Friday door busters, to get you in the door and then making a bundle off other items in their inventory. These instances are by design. Know what you want ahead of time, stay focused, and only purchase items you need.

3. Check Online
Before you head to the stores, always compare your in-store deals to online deals. While Cyber Monday technically doesn’t start until the Monday after Thanksgiving, many online retailers kick off sales early. You may find better prices online that negate the need to fight Black Friday crowds. Just be sure to factor shipping costs and retailer ratings into your online purchases to ensure that you’re getting a great deal from a trustworthy source.
4. Bring a Friend
Shopping with friends makes Black Friday more fun,  and teamwork can also help you score big deals. Together you can cover more ground and hit up different areas of each store before meeting back at the cash register – and this improves your chances of nabbing every item on your list. When I go Black Friday shopping with my friends, we check our lists together and split up the shopping to help share the load. Just make sure you have charged cellphones so you can touch base about unexpected deals and meet up before checking out.
These four key steps are your pathway to success. You do not want to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off during Black Friday. Veteran shoppers will know and the will surely exploit your weaknesses. With that being said, get out there and shop until you drop.