It's the holiday shopping season, and that means it's that time of year to open your wallet, burn some cash and take the shops by storm.
Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is notorious for long lines, crowds, door busters and the best deals on products. Black Friday has the ability to bring out the competitive spirit in the most mild-mannered shopper. However, despite these drawbacks, it's a day highly anticipated by shoppers hunting for the perfect bargain.
It's common knowledge that door busters can sell out within minutes. But if you're determined to make the most out of the first shopping day of the holiday season, use these tips and tricks to help find the best Black Friday deals:
Use a targeted approach
Most excited shoppers have a wish list of things they want for the holidays. So first, make a shopping list. Then, prioritize the list and get an idea of how much money you're willing to spend on each item. This will help keep you focused on what you really want to purchase, without browsing and buying items in the heat of the moment.
Danielle Reischer, a junior health sciences major, is doing just that to make sure she leaves with exactly what she wants this Black Friday.
"I really want to get a new laptop this year, so that's at the top of my Black Friday shopping list," Reischer said.
Review print and online ads on Thanksgiving Day
Take a few minutes to browse through the newspaper after your holiday meal, or Google your favorite store to find a Black Friday ad. Print the ads for the items you want and bring them with you to the store for reference.
"Typically I will get the Thanksgiving paper with all of the Black Friday ads and figure out where the best deals are and what stores will be worth my time," said Hailey White, a senior marketing major. "In the past, going to Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy were best to get out of the way first because their door-buster deals are time sensitive. After the major chain stores, I go to the mall and start at the department stores like Dillard's, Macy's and JC Penney, then just go wherever catches my eye."
According to the National Retail Federation, between foot traffic on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and online sales on Sunday and Cyber Monday, consumers spent $57.4 billion during the four-day weekend in 2013, with typical consumers spending an average of about $402 over the four-day weekend.
Price matching is a great way to ensure that you maximize the best deal and save money. Check store websites and ads to compare prices.
How to find the best deals
Newspapers almost always have Black Friday ads, and researching your favorite stores on the Internet is a good way to look for sales and deals. Most stores will "leak" their sales information to gain an edge over their competitors. BlackFriday.com also has an app that allows you to view your favorite stores, ads, products and sales information.
"The newspaper with the Black Friday ads is my usual method for finding the best deals, but BlackFriday.com is a great website because it posts these ads weeks in advance," White said.
Social media sites are also good places to check for sneak peeks of deals at your favorite shops.
"I like to go online to look for deals on Facebook and Twitter," Reischer said.
Now that you have some idea of what you can do to make sure you come out on top this Black Friday, here are some local spots and their deals you may want to be aware of this year.
The Oviedo Mall
The Oviedo Mall is offering a few rewards to its consumers for shopping on Black Friday.
Among the first 200 shoppers at the Oviedo Mall at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, $5,000 in merchant gift cards will divided. Line up in front of the Regal Cinemas ticket booth to get rewarded.
The shopping spree continues: Spend $250 or more on Black Friday and receive two free movie tickets. Present your receipts at Grounded, located next to Gymboree.
Note: While quantities last, there are limited quantities available. Receipts must be dated Nov. 28 and can be redeemed for up to two weeks after Black Friday.
Target's Black Friday deals include:
Xbox One Console for $329.99
Element 29" LED HDTV for $79
Vizio 39" LED HDTV for $219.99
Samsung 37" Soundbar with two speakers for $87.99
Sony Wi-Fi Blu-Ray Player for $49.99
RCA 7" Android Tablet for $39.99
RCA 8" Android Tablet for $69.99
Nikon D3200 DSLR with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses for $496.99
GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition for $249.99
Standard queen plush pillow for $3
Xhilaration twin-size complete bedding set for $34.99
Bath towels, wash cloths and hand towels for $2
Threshold fuzzy throw blanket for $19.99
40 percent off all apparel
"Super Target is one of my favorite stores to go to for clothes. During the year, Target's clothing is moderately priced, depending on what you buy. But during Black Friday, Target's clothing is always highly discounted," Reischer said.
Best Buy's Black Friday deals include:
Panasonic 50" LED HDTV for $199
Samsung 55" LED Smart TV for $899
Blu-Ray DVDs for $9.99
Dell Inspiron 15.6" Laptop for $299.99
DigiLand 7" tablet for $39
Beats by Dr. Dre for $79.99
Video games from $19.99 to $29.99
Nikon CoolPix S9600 Megapixel Digital Camera for $149.99
Prices are valid from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.
"On Black Friday, I normally wait in line at Best Buy with my group of friends and get the best deals first," said Huan Le, a junior marketing major. "Then I'll just go to the mall after Best Buy and see if there are any good deals still left from the aftermath. I also want to get a new game console from Best Buy, like an Xbox One or a PS3."
Waterford Lakes Town Center
Waterford Lakes Town Center has partnered again with Ameripark to offer a Holiday Courtesy Shuttle to guests during peak shopping hours. A six-passenger golf cart will travel through the center starting on Thanksgiving through Dec. 27 for shoppers to "flag down" when in need of a ride to another store or to their vehicle. The shuttle drivers will be wearing a 4-inch button with the words "Need Help … Just Ask," and will also seek out shoppers in need of assistance.
This Black Friday, Wal-Mart has an offer when you buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s — you will get a $75 Wal-Mart gift card.
You can also trade in your old smartphone and get up to $200 on a Wal-Mart e-gift card.
Wal-Mart's Black Friday deals include:
Vizio 65" LED HDTV for $648
Apple iPad Mini with free $30 Wal-Mart gift card for $199
PlayStation 4 with a free $50 Wal-Mart gift card for $399
Canon Rebel T5i DSLR Camera with two lenses for $699
Jam Part Bluetooth Speaker for $59
Better Homes and Gardens 525-thread count sheets set for $25
Better Homes and Gardens nine-piece comforter sets for $25
Bissell Advanced ProHeat vacuum for $98
Black & Decker appliances for $9.77
Dirt Devil Cordless Hand vacuum for $14.97
Stainless steel mix and measure set for $9.77
And if you're lying on the couch in a turkey-induced food coma and can't bring yourself to fight the crowds, you can always shop online.
According to comScore, the top sites visited during the 2013 Black Friday weekend, in order, were: Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and Apple.
Shoppers have changed their ways over time, but the thrill of finding a bargain never fades. No matter which way you shop, remember to stay in the holiday spirit.
"I personally love Black Friday. My mom and I go out every year and it is a bonding experience. By 6 p.m. everyone in my family is typically done eating Thanksgiving dinner and ready to go home anyway, so pulling an all-nighter and getting the best deals of the season are totally worth it to me," White said.
Oviedo Mall will be closed on Thanksgiving, but will be open on Black Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is located at 1700 Oviedo Mall Blvd., Oviedo, Fla. 32765.
Target will be open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. Target is located at 325 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, Fla. 32828. Prices are valid Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.
Best Buy will be open Thursday, Nov. 27 from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday, Nov. 28 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Best Buy is located at 845 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, Fla. 32828.
The Holiday Courtesy Shuttle will operate during the four-day holiday weekend until Dec. 27: Thanksgiving 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Nov. 28 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Nov.29 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Waterford Lakes is located at 413 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, Fla. 32828.
Walmart's door busters begin at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 6 a.m. on Black Friday. Walmart is located at 4255 Alafaya Trail Oviedo, Fla. 32765.