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Some easy tips for successful holiday shopping

Black Friday is the single busiest shopping day of the year. Some retailers even offer “doorbusters” that begin shortly after Thanksgiving dinner. Undeterred by the lines and crowds, millions of consumers get excited to nab unbeatable deals on the hottest new toys and popular electronics.

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2018 consumers spent an average of $313.29 on gifts and other holiday items over the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. The most popular items are apparel, toys, books, and video games.

Better Business Bureau offers these tips to make your Black Friday shopping experience productive… and maybe even enjoyable: Make the most of Black Friday deals. Start with a list of items you are looking for and use sale flyers and promotions to determine which store has the best price. Also, figure out how much you can afford to spend… and stick to it!

Read the fine print. Some retailers may offer an additional percentage off your purchase, but could exclude certain deals or items such as “doorbusters.” Also, be cautious of companies that boast a high percentage off; the item may be “75% off,” but the original price could be inflated.

Plan your approach. In many cases, you no longer have to wait to see what deals will be offered on Black Friday. Retailers now release their Black Friday flyers weeks ahead of time, so consumers can plan out their shopping spree. Make a map of the stores you plan to visit and what items are at which store. Some retailers only honor sale ads during a certain time frame, or on certain days, and could limit the amount of deeply discounted items you purchase.

Sign-up for email alerts. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals and exclusive coupons to people who have subscribed to their emails. Sign up ahead of the holiday season, but be cautious of what information you have to provide in order to receive such alerts.

Do your research. Read product reviews on extremely discounted items. It could be a cheaper model or brand advertised, and not what you initially think you’re getting. As you are looking through the sales flyers and ads, check for Business Profiles of the stores you want to visit, and read what other customers’ have experienced.

Know the return policy and warranty information. Be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item. Gift receipts are an easy way for recipients to return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right, but make sure the item is able to be returned before purchasing.