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The Coupon Lady: Black Friday deals

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I sincerely would like to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Growing up in Alabama, Thanksgiving was a day where all of my family would get together at my grandparents’ house, eat, play board games, watch football and enjoy a day together. The women in my family would start preparing the feast a day before, and the countertops and tables would be so full of dishes you could hardly find a place to set your plate down to eat.

My grandmother’s homemade macaroni and cheese and my mother’s chicken dressing still have no rivals in my mind. Even though my grandparents are no longer with us, I will always cherish those memories. It is my deepest hope that I can recreate that atmosphere for my own children.

For that reason, I have decided not to shop on Thanksgiving Day. Although I enjoy a good deal as much as anyone else, if I’m shopping on Thanksgiving Day, then that means that I am supporting a retailer that is taking away the holiday from someone else.

It is a personal choice not to participate. But if you wish to participate in Thursday’s and Friday’s sales, here are some hints on how to have a successful evening.

With retailers opening on Thursday, retailers will be demanding all employees to show up in order to handle the large amounts of expected traffic. Limited amounts of discounted items can cause a boiling point among shoppers. Employees will be needed for crowd control and to keep as many checkout lanes open as possible. I’ve witnessed fistfights here over appliances during a previous year’s Black Friday sale.

Wear tennis shoes and comfortable, layered clothing in order to be comfortable during long waits outside.

With the high volume of sales, there is also an enhanced risk of theft. Make yourself less of a target by leaving your purse at home or choosing a small, generic purse instead of your favorite name brand. Take only what you absolutely need: keys, cell phone, ID and your payment method of choice. If you own an SUV, consider taking out any visible electronics such as DVD players and bringing a blanket in order to cover purchases.

If you are going to shop on Black Friday, the key to saving is to have a plan. Make a shopping list based on who you need to shop for and start looking at ads now to plan your course of action. Web sites such as www.blackfriday.com have many Black Friday ads available online now and even lists the deals by the hour.

According to MSN.com and Yahoo Finance, the best deals for Black Friday this year are electronics. If you are in the market for a new television, tablet, or gaming system then you will want to get in on the sales. There will be package deals on several new gaming systems that are in high demand. Microsoft has just released a new Surface Pro 2 computer/tablet hybrid, so the previous generation Surface tablets should be on sale to reduce inventory. Fifty-five-inch 3D televisions will be on sale for about $430, which makes them cheaper than a similar sized HDTV.

Some of the biggest deals I see for Walmart’s Thursday sale is a 32-inch LED HDTV for $98, a 16GB iPad mini for $299 with a $100 gift card, a $38 Blu Ray Player, and a HP Touchsmart Pavillion laptop for $278. At Target, Black Friday doorbusters begin at 8 p.m. Thursday night and include 60 percent off the Nikon L320 camera for $99, a dual screen portable DVD player for $69, and a 50-inch LED HDTV for $229.

However, if electronics are not on your shopping list, then Black Friday might not be worth it. A majority of Black Friday deals will be available online, and Amazon has already been offering steeply discounted short-term Lightning Deals on many items for weeks.

With Amazon and some other early retail sales, shoppers may even be able to skip shopping altogether and still score some fabulous deals. It just depends on what gifts you are looking for.

Be safe, and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.


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