It's that particular time of year where sales swell and with it so do the masses of shoppers. The Friday after Thanksgiving—known as Black Friday—is where many shops offer sales on hot merchandise for the upcoming holiday season. It is a time where many people do most of their holiday shopping for the best deals that save the most money. However, all those money saving deals attracts many people, there within lies the problem. Items fly off the shelves, people get rough trying to get what they need, and traffic becomes an utter nightmare. Black Fridays have never been peaceful days, here are some tips to help your Black Friday go smoothly.

black friday sales

Make a List and Do Some Research

If you go out all willy-nilly thinking you will just browse and find cheap things to give as gifts, you are going to have a bad time and probably spend more money than needed. Like Santa does every year, so should you—make a list. However, instead of writing down who  was naughty or nice, write down what they want to get for Christmas.

Write down what you want to get them, then you will have a good jumping off point. This way, you will be able find specific deals on what you are looking for. Who knows, one store could be having a 50% off sale on that item while another still has it for full price.

Now that you know what you want to buy on Black Friday, you need to figure out where you can buy it. Weeks before Black Friday, you will begin to see ads for the event from stores. Instead of tossing them out, collect them and look through. This way you will know what sort of sales they have and which stores you need to visit. For stores that match other retailers prices, be sure to keep that ad on you when the big day comes. If you are having problems finding a place that has the cheapest of an item, download a price comparison app for you smart phone or visit price comparison websites like BizRate or PriceGrabber, they are always helpful in planning and last minute decisions.

Some stores offer early bird specials, making people flock there at five in the morning. In order to get the best deal, nail out which store has the cheapest item and if there is a time limit on the sale. For sales that only last a few hours, be sure to put those first on the list while the others can wait until later in the day.

Sleep Well and Dress Appropriately

Since this day arrives immediately after Thanksgiving, people often miss out on sleep before hand. This makes it easy for tempers to flare and shoppers to feel fatigued lugging around massive shopping bags. Make sure to cut the festivities of Thanksgiving early if need be so you can get some proper rest. It will give you an edge power walking around stores to get at the items you are after.

Since shopping, in general, involves a lot of walking and standing in line be sure to dress appropriately. Wear your most comfortable shoes and clothes. Black Friday isn't the day to be fashionable, comfortable clothing is key to being able to getting around quickly and for a long time. If you are doing a lot of store hopping, be sure to bring a light but warm jacket, one you can remove but won't be a burden when you are carrying it.

Eat Before and Carry Snacks

Before leaving the house, be sure to eat a large meal. Black Friday isn't just big for stores, it is also a big day for restaurants. Many people shop with a partner, so they make a day out of it that includes lunch. While other shoppers are waiting to be seated at Applebee's or standing in line at McDonald's, you can still be going for those big deals.

However, hunger has a way of being a "three times a day, strike at the worst times" sort of deal. So pack a bag or a purse with a few snacks in it. Something you can sneakily eat within stores or easily eat in your car while driving to a new store. Many shoppers suggest nuts or a type of trail mix, both are known for being a near immediate source of energy as well as hunger satisfying. If you do plan on having lunch while shopping in between stores, do not eat at the restaurants by the stores or the food court in the mall. They will be packed, pick a place in between stores for the least crowds.

black friday crowds

Guard Your Goods and Be Vigilant

So Black Friday is a big day for shoppers, stores, and restaurants, but it is a big day of others as well—criminals. All those people packed into stores, bumping into each other, it is pretty easy for wallets to get snatched without anyone even noticing. Aside from that, it is perhaps the biggest day of the year for taking advantage of dropped credit cards as well.

Be sure you always have your purse or wallet closed and in hand until you need to check out. Do not leave it in a cart while you are browsing. In fact, on Black Friday, you probably shouldn't leave a cart unattended at all. People get so desperate for items that they will snatch them from unattended carts.

If you are shopping at several different stores, be sure to keep your purchases in a trunk or hidden under a seat if possible. Car break-ins and thefts are significantly more likely if they can see you have items in your car that they could steal and sell.

After the Black Friday shopping is done, make sure you have everything you left with. All your identification cards, all your credit cards, and all your purchases. It is easy for identify fraud to strike when you don't notice a card or two missing from your bag. If you did lose a credit card, be sure to cancel it right away, even if you think you may find it later.