There are few days that elicit excitement, fear and general mania quite like Black Friday. For the veteran shopper, the day after Thanksgiving is a chance to flex some serious deal-hunting muscle.
But for the Black Friday newcomer, the big, bad shopping day can be daunting. Cynthia Groves, head of global retail consulting at Newmark Knight Frank, says there is no reason to fear. Here are some of her tips:
1. Start with a plan and make a list. "There have to be clear expectations on the part of the shopper before starting out," Groves says. "Am I buying for myself or my family? Am I buying holiday gifts?"
2. Prepare to be enticed. Even with the best-laid plans, you're sure to encounter deals you weren't expecting, Groves says. Know your budget and have a plan to deal with on-the-spot temptations.
3. Know what's on sale -- and what's not. This is the right time to buy televisions, computers, small appliances, clothing and even food, especially seasonal specialties such as chocolates and nuts. Home furnishings are better left for after-Christmas sales.
4. Know your transportation options. Decide whether you want to drive or take public transit to your shop of choice. "Traffic will be horrific on the roads, and the parking lots will be even worse," Groves says. "The traffic alone could make the deals not worth it."
5. Pack for the day. Recognize that success on Black Friday requires, to some degree, going into basic survival mode. Take along healthy snacks and water to keep your energy up, wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers and even bring a phone charger.