UNITED STATES—Are you ready to shop? The biggest shopping holiday of the year, Black Friday or as many people know it, the day after Thanksgiving is about a week away America. Some of those ads from those big retailers have already dropped, others are still pending and some, they might NOT even release ads this year at all, but there will indeed be sales.

Take it from me; I am a pro at this because it has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. Whether it was getting up at 2 or 3 in the morning to get into line to get the best deals of the hour or actually skipping Thanksgiving Day altogether to stand in line to get first dibs on those deals that come only ONCE a year. Here is the thing: DO NOT GO SHOPPING WITH KIDS! The kids need to stay home. This is not a day for kids and nothing is more annoying than parents who allow their kids to run rampant and have no clue as to what their kids are doing. This is that day where the kids should stay home and if you don’t have a babysitter perhaps you should stay at home and just shop online.

Plan a budget, this might be the one thing that hurts most people on Black Friday the most, they over spend because they don’t have a cutoff. Look, Christmas comes once a year, and it is nice to give and purchase gifts for family and friends, but you absolutely should NOT break the bank in the process. You don’t have to purchase multiple gifts or an expensive gift. Remember it is the thought that counts, which it seems so many Americans forget time and time again.

Let’s try to change that people. Keep it small and think about getting that item the person actually wants. That brings me to my next point: make a list of people you plan to purchase for. Your list does NOT have to include every single person in your family. It could be your immediate household, just your parents, your siblings or just your nieces and nephews, not the aunts and uncles and the people you see once a year. Keep it small and stay within your budget.

Once you have that list of people you’re planning to purchase for, you can only hope they give you a hint as to what it is they actually want. Why? That is going to save you plenty of money because you will NOT spend money on something a person does not want. A good shopper looks for deals, check the clearance rack, and see what is on sale at the retailer. Lots of retailers have already started their Black Friday sale and let me tell you some have pretty good deals right now.

Here is the key to getting a good deal. Anything less than 50 percent off is NOT A DEAL! Unless it’s a massive luxury item, even then I would still argue that is not a deal. Anything above 50 percent and now you’re talking this is where you’re going to save more and be able to extend your spending as a result. If you save more you can spend a lot more people. However, be warned just because an item is on sale does NOT mean you have to purchase it. Only buy it if it’s something that you absolutely want or need. Sometimes we buy just to buy and we’re left with things sitting in our closets and collecting dust: no one wants that. Lots of retailers have an excessive amount of product they HAVE TO GET RID of which means the consumer wins out big time in 2022, similar to what transpired in 2020 in the thick of the pandemic.

Have a shopping partner. Shopping with a pal, a family member or loved one can be fun. Who doesn’t get excited when they get a massive bargain! Review the ads to see what they have on sale and jot down that list of items that are must haves for you people. Have fun, enjoy, get a good night sleep and have plenty of patience, I expect 2022 to be a lot more chaotic at the retailers than what things were like in 2021 and 2020 as we were in the thick of the pandemic.

Written By Zoe Mitchell