Black Friday will bring its usual frenzy of door-busting bargains, but the playing field has changed, with stores staggering opening times on what is now being called Grey Thursday.
Here's a five-part strategy to ensure you get the most for your time and money:
The founder of the True Couponing blog Kati Kiefer is a Black Friday veteran.
Her number one strategy? Don't plan your schedule around doorbuster deals. Rather, make your first stop the store that has the most items on your list.
Next, visit the big-box stores later on Friday. Kiefer says she hits up the big stores that advertise the hyped-up doorbusters, but not until long after the doors open and the crowds have dispersed. She heads straight to the returns section and says she always finds doorbusters that others have returned. She doesn't go thru the hassle of waiting in line to get them.
Number three, know what to buy and what not to buy on Black Friday. This year, retailers are deeply discounting consumer electronics. Shoppers can expect to see fantastic deals on laptops, tablets and televisions.
But you want to avoid winter coats, Christmas decor and toys, as they will likely be marked down even more two weeks into December.
And number four, you know the purpose of a doorbuster is to get you into the door, but what many consumers may not realize is the $10 coffee maker is strategically placed next to a to more expensive item you may not be on your list. Stick to your list.
Number five, don't leave home without a copy or download of the stores' ad and price match policy. More brick and mortar stores like Best Buy and Target are matching Amazon and their big-box competitors online ads. Walmart says it'll match any local brick and mortar store along with prices on Walmart.com.
Also, make sure to download a price comparison app like Shop Savvy that will allow you to scan bar codes in the store and let you know if the same item is a better deal on line or at another store.
Truecouponing.com has put together a Black Friday planner complete with store ads. Find that planner at http://truecouponing.com/black-friday-planner-free-download/ , and check out our Black Friday section at abcactionnews.com/blackfriday .