1. Divide and conquer - I've never gone by myself. I usually go with a group of friends and family and we plan out locations. Because stores open at various times, it's nice to have extra hands on deck to snag your hot ticket items before they go.
2. Plan, plan, PLAN - Don't go to browse; it's too crazy and hectic! Figure out your most coveted or important items on your list and get them marked off first. Since stores are opening at different times, prioritize and maybe hit the stores with your largest deals or most sale items. Or go geographically..whichever works best for you.
3. Don't forget your ads - You can double check door busters and use coupons that typically come in Black Friday ads. You can also use them to price match. Last year, I wasn't able to find certain DVDs and video games for my two brothers at one store, but managed to find them elsewhere for a higher price. Whipping out a competing store ad and showing an associate, I was able to snag every item and get the same discount, which saved me over $100 on 2 video games and a few boxed DVD sets!
4. Ask a store associate - Or get a store map. For door buaters and super sale items, I find an associate and have them help. I'm not doing all the leg work and if the item's out of stock already, they can recommend something similar or comparable.
5. Shop online - Cyber Monday, anyone? Amazon and other retailers have great discounts, sales and coupon codes to be used for those who want to shop from home.
6. Start early, very early - Veteran's Day is just before and I managed to get some great deals, a few better than what stores and Black Friday offered. So start scanning ads to see what's available and what sales are happening.
That's what I have, off the top of my head. I know it's early, but I'm one of those loons who start thinking and prepping ahead for this time of year lol. Saving that amount of money is incentive enough and I get a sick little thrill from it... Anyone else crazy/brave enough to join the mad dash this year?