Tips for shopping strategies on Black Friday

LOS ANGELES Know what you want a head of time
Not everything is on sale on Black Friday. Save yourself wandering around like a Day After Thanksgiving Zombie and leaving empty handed. Scan the Black Friday sale ads. The best deals are advertised because stores buy them in bulk.

Case the place
Check out your store of choice the day before Thanksgiving so you can make a beeline to the items you've coveted. Talk to sales associates and get the low down on what will go down.

The early bird gets the deal
Don't mock the people that get up in the middle of the night -- they'll be there to get the deal on the computer and you won't. Hot items sell out fast. Shopping after brunch is a gigantic FAIL to your wallet!

Be sale smart
Bring sale ads with you for clarification and extra in-store coupons. They also make great leverage for price-matching. Hit the back clearance racks and look for additional discounts, take advantage of early bird savings, and look for specially priced doorbuster items.

Do the Black Friday Google
Don't have the time to go through the papers? Can't remember who has what from the ads you saw on TV? Do the Black Friday search. There are hundreds of Web sites with Black Friday sale information, like, where you can peruse the latest sale ads and updates at all the stores. You can also go to your favorite store's Web site NOW for the sale skinny on FRIDAY.

Make friends with a sales associate
It's the best way to get the inside scoop on everything. A day or two before Black Friday, check in with them. Often times, they have been briefed on the exact location of all the hottest items their store will be selling, and how many they have. They usually know the quickest way to get from one department to another. Tell them what you're after. Listen to their advice. Plan your strategy.

Put it in park fast
Don't waste time circling the lot eight times in hopes of getting a coveted location. It will only take away from time you could be using to get those great deals. As a plus, taking a distant parking space can help you walk off some of the half a turkey you ate the day before.

Bring in your ads if you want to price match
Unfortunately, stores aren't going to take you at your word and give you the item without proof. So if one store offers your computer at one price, and another store advertises for less, if you forget the ad and the cashier hasn't been provided with a copy, expect to pay the higher price.

Keep an eye on quotas
Some items will have purchasing limits on them. This is usually mentioned in the sales ad, and if not, the associate working the area will know. So if you get caught trying to buy four of an item that's limited to two per customer, don't take it out on the associate if they say something to you.

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