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Here is a short list of Black Friday shopping tips that could help insure that you get not only the best deals, but also some peace of mind once you bring the item home. Happy shopping!

Do Some Research Before Black Friday.
Many of the major retailers release Black Friday specials, so do some research to find out what will be the best deals for you to grab on Black Friday. See a list of posted Black Friday ads.

Online Might Be Less Stressful.
Shopping in huge crowds can be a stressful. Some retailers offer the same or even better deals on their website. In past years, some of the biggest retailers, including Walmart, have offered several online only sales during Black Friday week that have included many of the same items offered as part of their in-store Black Friday events and often combined with low- or no-cost shipping deals. Online exclusives you couldn’t get even by walking into one of its retail locations is a deal that you might not want to miss. Other offer great deals on Cyber Monday.

Sign up for e-blasts.
Most stores use e-mail alerts to encourage store loyalty and more frequent shopping. Sign up for alerts that will let you know about upcoming promotions and to receive exclusive coupons or discounts not readily available to everyone. Shoppers can also learn if the products they want are stocked and available, or if an item is eligible for a “buy online, pick up at store” option that can save shipping charges.

QR codes.
More retailers are now using those square black-and-white Quick Response (QR) codes which act like supercharged bar codes in newspaper and magazine ads, on packaging, and even on websites. QR codes can be read by a cell phone equipped with a QR reader app. Often QR codes will simply provide more information about the product, including links to see videos, but they may also contain coupon codes or special deals.

Shop close to home.
You don’t necessarily need to drive all over town to get deals. With electronics, for example, consumer reports research shows that in many cases the prices for highly promoted TV sets from major electronics brands, such as Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony, vary by only a few dollars from chain to chain. So you can safely shop at the closest retailer without feeling that you’re missing out on a bargain.

Check the stores’ return policies.
Sometimes Black Friday sales are “final sales,” meaning the item can’t be returned. Other items may have a shortened return or exchange policy, or one where you can only get a store credit rather than a refund. Also, make sure there isn’t a restocking fee on a returned item.

Check the warranty
For example, the term may be much shorter, or the repair provisions could be different: If a problem arises, there may be no in-home service, or you might have to pay shipping if the item needs to be sent to a service center. If so, make sure you’re comfortable with the terms, and find out in advance what will happen if you need the set repaired. You may find that it will be your responsibility.

See if you can get a price-match guarantee.
Postponing price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend is usually the norm, but you should ask for one anyway. After all, these are supposed to be “the lowest prices of the year!”

Total Package.
Often stores will combine two or more items into a specially priced package they say will save you money. But you should check the individual prices of these items at both the store and its competitors to see if you’re really getting a great deal. And make sure you really need everything that’s included in the bundle. For example, several deals that combined an HDTV with a low-cost sound system that included a standard DVD player. With prices for Blu-ray players and Blu-ray Discs falling rapidly, this may not be as great a deal as it first seemed.

You want it they’ve got it.
“Doorbuster deals” draw us in because of their low prices, but they may not be the best for your needs. In electronics, for example, this is especially true of bigger-ticket items such as TVs, which you’ll be living with for a number of years. Doorbuster items are usually knockoffs or sub brands especially for the event, usually have lower specs and lack features found on a manufacturer’s standard lines. Because so many shoppers are looking for the cheapest TVs, which provide little margin for the retailer, the sales staff may be more willing to cut deals on better models, where they have more wiggle room on pricing. And you may find that you’ll actually get a better deal by buying a slightly more expensive set that ultimately proves more satisfying for you and your family.

Know when to hold em .
Stick to your guns and don’t get talked in to something you don’t want or need.

Don’t buy pricey accessories.
Even if you’ve purchased the right TV at the best price of the year, it’s easy to be talked into buying pricey accessories, such as costly HDMI cables, that will take away any savings. Buy the cables ahead of time from a website such as or and avoid the temptation entirely.

Have a fun, safe, satisfying shopping experience this Black Friday weekend. And if you have any great money-saving tips of your own, Happy shopping!

And above all, remember that a bargain is never a bargain if you don’t need it!