It’s that time of year again! Time to start making that list and checking it twice before heading out into the madness that is Black Friday. Whether you love shopping on Black Friday or dread it, there’s no denying that there are some amazing deals to be had. If you plan on braving the crowds and hitting the stores after your turkey and stuffing, check out these seven tips to make the most of your Black Friday shopping:

1. Plan early

You probably never thought you’d have to study to go shopping, but being prepared before you hit the stores can make or break your trip. That means flipping through ads and making lists between bites of cranberry sauce and turkey! KCL will keep you informed of all the Black Friday deals as soon as we find them, so start keeping a list of which ones you’re interested in as you see them. Once you’ve accumulated your list of deals, you can begin to rank your items based on their level of importance and what your budget allows. This way you’ll know exactly which stores you want to hit first and which items are your priority so you don’t get to the store to find that your most-wanted items are already gone. Be sure to check KCL daily so you don’t miss anything!

2. Bring ads with you

Although stores are pretty thorough with signage on Black Friday, the fact is, signs do occasionally get missed, knocked over, or even deliberately taken off by less-than honest customers. To avoid having to try to locate an available employee (which is not always an easy task on Black Friday), bring your ads with you. Not only can you whip out your ad to verify items that are not marked, but you can easily inquire about any items you can’t locate. See something that you were originally planning on getting at the next store? Bust out that store’s ad and ask for a price match! Although many stores suspend price matching on Black Friday, it never hurts to ask!

3. Check the return policy

Even if you’re thoroughly familiar with the return policies at your favorite stores, it’s important to call ahead to find out if that policy is different on Black Friday or on the doorbuster items. Sometimes Black Friday deals or doorbuster items are “final sale” or have a shortened return policy. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy and buy items that you’re unsure of because you don’t want to miss out, so be sure you can rectify any potential buyer’s remorse.

4. Get price-comparison apps

Before you get caught up in the madness of Black Friday and grab everything you see that looks like a good deal, stop and scan! Using apps such as Red Laser, ScanLife and ShopSavvy, you can scan items to see if anyone else has that Hot Wheels set or that MP3 player that you’re eyeing for a better price. Many stores advertise those doorbuster items in an attempt to get you into the store to (hopefully) buy more profitable items. Instead of falling into that trap, scan the items that you find yourself interested in to locate the best deal. These apps, like the ads, are also a great resource for price matching. If you find an item cheaper somewhere else, show that price on your phone to an employee to see if you can get a price match!

5. Scope out stores beforehand

One of the best ways to get the items on your list is to hit the stores early and do a bit of pre-shopping reconnaissance. Many stores will start setting up products and rearranging displays the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so that they can simply place the products and/or signs when the sale begins. Hitting the stores on Wednesday will allow you to check out where items are located so you know exactly where to go come Friday morning. This is also a good time to decide on colors or other variations on products and to try on clothing so you know exactly what sizes and items you want to grab. Black Friday shopping often means little to no time to browse, so knowing exactly what you want beforehand is key!

6. Divide and conquer

It can be extremely frustrating when you run into a store and grab one of those hot deals on your list only to find that by the time you get to the second item, it’s already gone! If you’ve got more than one item on your list at each store, consider shopping with a friend or two and dividing the list. Decide which items each person is going to go for and create a game plan outlining the items and their order of importance. There is power in numbers, and the best way to get all of the items on your list is to recruit friends. This Black Friday, let your shopping experience be guided by the words of Julius Caesar: "I came, I saw, I conquered!"