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Top 10 Black Friday Tips

Follow these suggestions to be better prepared for the holiday shopping rush.

Forget the worry about Black Friday shopping. Follow Lilburn Patch's top 10 list of what to do to make sure you get the best deals available in the area.

For some local suggestions, click here.

1. Do Your Research Before Friday.

Even a product at its cheapest price won't be a deal if it's not any good. Go ahead and do the research before you wait in line or fight a crowd at stores to make sure it's worth your time.

2. Check Out the Ads.

Stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, local newspapers will be full of ads, coupons and circulars. And, because of that, it could be your best source for local Black Friday savings, helping you organize the many special offers that many stores will be offering, especially those with time limits.

3. Look for Early Bird Shopper Discounts.

Stores offering early-day shopper specials usually run deals from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m., and when they run out of the products listed, there are also usually "no rain checks."

4. Compare Prices.

Be sure to compare options included with products when you're doing price-comparisons on items. (Like the fact that you may need ink to go with the printer you're buying.) Sites like www.pricegrabber.com can help with this.

5. Get sleep the night before.

It may sound like advice you don't need to hear, but getting up early, after Thanksgiving dinner and parties can be hard. Get enough rest so that you're ready to stand in line or find those items that you got up to get.

6. Beat the Crowds with Night Owl Discounts on Thanksgiving.

Many retailers will be posting Black Friday specials, which can be ordered online and picked up in local stores. Internet shoppers can beat the early birds by shopping online in the predawn hours of Black Friday and some will offer "web only" deals available as early as Thanksgiving eve. Lilburn's Walmart will start its sale at midnight, with the electronics and home entertainment part of the sale starting at 5 a.m. and ending at 11 a.m., Friday morning.

7. Bring the Ads.

Most local retailers will not meet Internet prices even when the product is advertised on the same company's website, but it cannot hurt to try. Some stores will offer a "lowest-price" guarantee; however you may be required to produce a copy (ad) of the exact product being advertised for less.

8. Know the Store Policies.

The previous trend of stores extending "return days" during the holidays is being seen less this year. Now, retailers are including restocking fees and some shorter return deadlines. Almost all of the major retail chains have clamped down on requiring receipts for returns and exchanges, so knowing the store policies on returns can help you determine where to buy.

9. Ask for Gift Receipts.

Generally, a gift receipt includes a description of the item purchased, but does not include the price paid. Including these kinds of receipts can make returns or exchanges easier, because without one, a gift recipient may be turned down for returning or exchanging the item

10. Saying "Charge It" Can Pay Off.

While there is obviously no bargain in paying big interest rates or running up high credit card bills, using the right charge card can be of value to consumers. Some credit card companies entice consumers with free benefits, which include extended free warranties, return protection and sale price protection. If you have such a card, it can work to your advantage.

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