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The holiday shopping season is upon us, so you know what that means: SHOPPING!

With so many sales and proclaimed great deals floating around, it’s hard to tell when in fact you are getting a good deal. Whether you plan to brave the crowds on Black Friday or you intend to do your damage on the internet, let me help you with some creative ways to prepare for the shopping extravaganza.

I’m ready — are YOU?

Do Your Homework

The best advice I can give anyone ready and willing to spend money is to do your homework first. Not every advertised sale is a good one, and it pays to know the difference! Some items are better purchased after the Black Friday insanity has subsided. Putting in a little due diligence before making a purchase can save you big bucks in the long run. You may even want to take some of those savings and get a little token of appreciation for yourself when you’re done!

Tip: Take some time to search the internet for specific items that may be on your list. Google your most wanted items and search for the cheapest price. Don’t sleep on great internet deals too: some web retailers will offer free shipping, purchase discounts and even tax free deals!

There's an App for That!

Black Friday sales ads have gone cyber! The famed BFAds.net has an iPhone app that will allow you to take your sales ads and shopping lists mobile. Download a QR scanner app that you can use to compare prices from different retailers while you’re out and about. You can also download apps for your favorite retailers to keep up with store specific sales. Some retailers will even offer email and text reminders of special sales and promotions. The neat thing with these types of features is that you can take advantage of great deals year round. Talk about mobile shopping!

Tip: Sign up early for store promotions and app downloads — you don’t want to wait until the day of the sales to prepare!  Android and iPhone users usually have access to the best apps, so if you have one just go to your market to see what’s available.

Don't Get Run Over

Not much into crowds? Check into your favorite retailers first to see what their Black Friday hours will be. In years past, there were hoards of people on the roads at the crack of dawn to snatch the best deals. However, this year many popular retailers are opting to open at midnight or even earlier! Many stores are also utilizing “special sale” hours on Black Friday.

What does this mean for you? Well, some merchants like Wal-Mart are going to stagger the products they put on sale. You may have to pack the patience if the item you’re waiting for isn’t the first one on sale, but it may be worth it if you’re saving big.

Tip: Stay calm and be nice! There is no need to hurt yourself, or anyone else for that matter, over a coveted toy or TV. Trust me, they will be back on sale again — and sooner than you think in most cases.  If you get overwhelmed in the crowd, it’s okay to take a time out. Decide if it’s really worth you being swept up in the madness: if it is, then buckle up tight and hold your ground. If it’s not, then just go home and try again later after the crowd dies down. Worst case scenario, you can always shop online!

Want More?

Head over to CurlMart and get to shopping right now!

Final Thoughts

Black Friday comes around the same time every year, but you can make it worthwhile if you plan your shopping ahead of time. Knowing when and where the sales are will not only help you save money, but it can save you a headache as well. It’s not always possible to predict where snags in your plan will occur, but it can at least give you alternatives if something doesn’t go as planned.  Shop smarter, not harder! Good luck and happy spending!