Shoppers, on your mark, get set, save: Blogger offers Black Friday tips

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

JANESVILLE--Skip the shopping carts.

Divide and conquer.

Don't forget the chocolate.

Those were just a few things that tough shoppers learned at the Black Friday Boot Camp held Tuesday at Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main St.

Blogger Dannelle Gay of Operation40k.com led about 25 troops through the training. Gay has developed a coupon-cutting, saving-savvy following across Wisconsin. Her Black Friday presentation at Hedberg was the 26th of 27 such presentations.

Black Friday, which is Nov. 29 this year, is the day when stores roll out big sales for Christmas holiday shopping. Gay has studied trends—and online ad circulars—to figure out how to make the most of the sales.

If this year is your first time out, Gay advises against making traditional rookie mistakes. These include:

--Underestimating opening times. Get to the store 60 to 90 minutes before opening time.

--Being hungry, either while you're shopping or throughout the day. Bring snack bars.

--Being cold while waiting in line.

When the store's doors open:

--Skip the carts. They're difficult to maneuver in the aisles and they'll probably be gone by the time you get there. Bring a big shopping bag—think of Ikea's big bags—or a duffle. If you do have a cart, keep an eye on it.

“I can't tell you then number of times I've seen people shopping out of other people's carts,” Gay said.

--Divide and conquer. If you're shopping with someone else, split up the store so you can both hit the best deals.

All this advice is, of course, predicated on advance planning, knowing what you want, checking the ads and seeking on-line deals.

Again, Gay offered some practical tips:

--Think about events you'll be buying for throughout the year, such as birthdays. In addition, think about what your household might need.

--During the holiday season, computers, small appliances, televisions and winter clothing go on sale.

When looking for deals, make sure you're comparing like items, especially when it comes to electronics.

“Here's a 40-inch television on sale, there's a 40-inch television on sale,” Gay said. “But this one might be HDTV, this one might be 1800-DPI and the other one might have gerbils on the inside of it.”

--Don't forget holiday baking.

“My husband used to think that Aldi's was German for food stamps R us,” Gay said. “But they're owned by the same parent company that owns Trader Joe's. They have some good stuff in there.”

For more suggestions, including smartphone apps for price comparisons, visit Gay's website.

Last updated: 9:31 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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