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In a few short days, Americans get to celebrate the yearly post-holiday holiday known as Black Friday. We hear the stories every year; unruly crowds, aggressivet shoppers and long lines are tradition. So, in honor of the day businesses get back “in the black”, here are seven tips to help you survive and thrive this Black Friday shopping excursion.

1. Don’t go crazy
I know. It’s Black Friday and you want to spend freely. But don’t let the tone of the day dictate your plans. There will be aggressive people roaming the aisles. Try to keep things into perspective when you’re in the midst of the craziness.

2. Steer clear of store credit cards
How many times have you heard this phrase: “You can save an extra 20 percent today if you sign up for our credit card.” Well, get ready to hear it 30 more times on Black Friday. So here’s my advice: Don’t fall for it. I’ve talked about how dangerous store credit cards are before, and I can’t reiterate it enough. Even congressmen are warning us about them. The average interest rate of 35 major retailers is 23.83%, nine points higher than the average bank card. Leave the store credit alone and stick with either your own credit cards or cash.

3. When in doubt, put it back
If you don’t love it, don’t get it. Don’t buy something just to purchase it. Before you make a fast dash to the register, make sure what’s in your hands is something you love. Remember, it’s not a great deal if it you don’t actually like it.

4. Check online
Savvy shoppers out there know this well. Browse the inventory at your favorite stores online. If you see something you like, go to Google Shopping and compare prices. Most likely, you’ll be able to get it somewhere else cheaper and with a good deal on shipping.

5. Stick to your guns
Back in October, I told you to plan your holiday spending ahead. Black Friday is when you really put that budget to the test. But when you’re shopping, remember the other costs like wrapping paper, cards and shipping.

6.  Make a list. Check it twice
Like planning your budget in advance, do the same with where you’ll go. When you hit the malls on Black Friday, know exactly where you’re going and what you’ll get while you’re there. This focus mindset will help you avoid overspending.

7. Beware of ATM card scammers
Be sure to protect yourself by covering up the keypad when you type in your pin or by using the credit option to sign your name instead. You should also try to use an indoor ATM if neccessary since these machines are less likely to be tampered with than outdoor ones.


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