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Your Black Friday shopping survival list

Black Friday becomes a blur when you're on the floor and looking for deals. Be sure to be prepared with this survival list.

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    A man stands next to a Macy's department store holiday window, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Black Friday sales are attracting many to the retail holiday.
    Mark Lennihan/AP/File
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Shopping on Black Friday won’t be your usual leisurely stroll through the mall. Customers determined to get the best deals on holiday presents will be jockeying for position to nab the latest door buster or popular must-have electronic gadget.

You need to awaken from your Thanksgiving turkey coma prepared to shop strategically. In addition to your gift list, follow this checklist to make sure you have the information, discounts and creature comforts you’ll need to exit the parking lot victorious.

Coupons

Be sure to clip your coupons and have them organized and ready to be presented at the register. Many stores are offering discounts on single items or entire purchases in their Black Friday ads. For example, Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond have coupons in their ads, and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores offer coupons for 25% off your entire purchase or 50% off any regularly priced item. If you don’t have time to cut them out before you go, bring a copy of the Black Friday ad and clip the coupons while you’re in line.

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Member rewards or credit cards

Make sure to bring your store credit cards or member rewards program cards. Many stores offer big savings for their members. Macy’s doors will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and door-buster deals will be available until 1 p.m. on Black Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28. Petco’s sales are aimed at Petco Pals Rewards members; most merchandise will be discounted by 50%. Many rewards programs are free to join. If you don’t have a credit card for some of the stores on your list, Black Friday is a good time to consider getting one. Stores such as Macy’s and Kohl’s offer good sign-up deals.

Store maps

Even though you may be familiar with the layout of your favorites stores, holiday displays and special merchandise may require you to alter your usual route through the aisles. Having a map will come in handy, and many stores offer them in the days leading up to Black Friday. If you know what you’re looking for, it will help make your time in the store more efficient and minimize unnecessary — and perhaps expensive — browsing.

Your gift list

If you’ve spent weeks researching the items for your gift list, don’t forget to bring it on the big day. Make sure your list is organized by store, and you may even want to keep it near your store maps. Keeping your lists together can help you keep your cool when you’re in the crowds.

A smartphone

Your smartphone will keep you in touch with family and friends at other stores as well as on top of last-minute deals through some of this season’s best shopping apps. Best Buy and Macy’s plan to have apps that will help you find deals in their stores, as well as offer a few specials that aren’t in the Black Friday ads. Keep your phone charger in the car, because with various shopping apps and price comparisons, you’re bound to get low on power by the door-busting day’s end.

Reusable bags and storage

Help store employees, the environment and yourself by bringing bags that you can reuse. For shoppers on foot, sturdy reusable bags will make the day more manageable than paper or plastic that can easily break. If you’re driving on Black Friday, clear out your trunk and back seat for bigger items.

Food and water

Even if you need to work off some of your Thanksgiving feast, on Black Friday, you’ll be on your feet for many hours, waiting in long lines and constantly swiping credit cards. If you’re a go-getter when it comes to Black Friday, odds are you won’t be stopping to dine, either. Make sure to pack water, granola bars and other nonperishable favorites to keep your energy up.

Whether you choose to shop as a team or go for the divide-and-conquer method, it’s important to show up prepared. That way you’ll have less stress and more time to enjoy the shopping and the big Black Friday savings.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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