If you're going to brave the throngs of shoppers on Black Friday, you may need a little help (and a lot of patience).
Big-box stores are opening earlier that ever before, creating a sort of "gray" Thursday on Thanksgiving Day.
Many others open at midnight or very early Friday morning. Several stores are offering waves of doorbusters. Many are also advertising online deals, which include free shipping, and Black Friday prices all day on Thanksgiving.
Here's everything you need to know about Black Friday. Read on for more specific deal information. We’ve highlighted popular Black Friday spots and included “sweetest deals.” We’ve also added some other noteworthy destinations including information on area malls. Enjoy!
Black Friday deals (Click on store name for local Black Friday Ad)
TOYS 'R US: 8 p.m. Thursday
Why go: They call this their “lowest prices ever" sale and flaunt more than 200 doorbuster deals
Sweetest deal: Purchase the iPod Touch for $199.99 and get a $20 Toys 'R Us gift card and $30 iTunes multipack.
WALMART: Three sale events: first at 8 p.m. Thursday, second at 10 p.m. Thursday, third at 5 a.m. Friday.
Why go: Family specials on toys and games at 8 p.m., marked down electronics and gadgets at 10 p.m. and deals on everything else all day Friday.
Sweetest deals: Nook Color for $99; $75 gift card when you purchase the iPad 2 for $399. Shop online on Thanksgiving. Walmart will have special deals for online shoppers, including the Xbox 360 plus Dance Bundle for $229 and the Apple iPod Touch with bonus accessories for $179
KMART: 8 p.m.-3 a.m. doorbusters
Why go: Deals on everything from footwear to bicycles to electronics—don’t forget Kmart has layaway
Sweetest deals: Proscan 50-inch LCD HDTV for $288. Don’t forget about Kmart’s layaway—put a little down on Friday and pay it off later. Members get a $5 Kmart award card when they spend $50 or more.
TARGET: 9 p.m. Thursday
Why go: Free Target gift card with many purchases.
Sweetest deals: 50-inch Westinghouse HDTV for $349 (while supplies last). Find Black Friday deals online on Thanksgiving.
Why go: Free Droid Razr (with two-year activation), great prices on televisions and gaming consoles, and you can’t forget about the free gift cards with purchases.
Sweetest deals: iPod Touch 5 for $294.99 plus a $50 gift card; $100 iTunes card for $80; Toshiba 40" LCD HDTV for $179.99.
KOHL’S: opens at midnight Friday.
Why go: All shoppers receive $15 of Kohl's cash for every $50 spent; more than 500 early bird specials, including 50 percent off children's games
Deals: $19.99 for a Crockpot 4-quart slow cooker or Black & Decker blender; Keurig special edition brewer on sale for $149.99; Polaroid 8-inch internet tablet for $119.99; Discovery Kids digital camera for $19.99.
MACY’S: midnight on Friday.
Why go: Snag free headphones with any $75 fragrance purchase, including Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber Girlfriend
Sweetest Deals: Selected small appliances for $9.99 (after rebate); 60 percent off Christmas china and holiday dinnerware and linens.
OLD NAVY: "Cheermageddon" hits at midnight on Thanksgiving and lasts until 4 a.m. Some local stores are open 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Why go: If you get to Old Navy early enough and spend $40, you will receive a Super Mario Wii U game and also have a chance to win one of 1,000 Wii U consoles given away on Black Friday.
Sweetest Deals: Half-zip fleece jackets for $5; coats for kids are $15 and coats for adults are $19; thermals for $8.
Braving the busiest shopping day of the year
- Check out all the circulars and ads. Many have coupons or savings passes to clip.
- Go online and visit the stores’ websites for invaluable information.
- Check out Black Friday websites, many which include comparison charts, sale schedules and valuable tips.
- Blackfriday.com and BFads.net and theblackfriday.com have all the ads available in one place with timely updates.
- Shop Local allows you to plug in your ZIP code for specific local offers.
- Offers.com offers great advice on saving money with their Black Friday Savings Center. Check here for the most up to date store opening/closing information.
- Mobile apps can also keep you on your toes and moving when you’re out and about. Fatwallet’s mobile app can find you the best prices while you are on the go and Pricegrabber’s mobile app compares in store and online deals.
- Many stores, like Toys "R" Us and Walmart offer their own apps to help you with shopping.
- BFads.net has a phone app available this year also. If your phone helps you with other tasks, this might be the way for you to maneuver the Black Friday mania.
- One last bit of practical advice for dedicated Black Friday shoppers, we can’t state it enough: Many sales are happening late at night and into the wee hours of the morning so bring a buddy and be safe!