Uh oh! Black Friday is slowly approaching and most people are either insanely excited or terrified. I grew up in a household where Black Friday shopping was the norm and so I’ve always been one of those people wide awake with excitement at the mall at 4 a.m. on a chilly Friday. Those who don’t parlay in the Black Friday madness may not know, but there are rules to the game. Of course these are unwritten rules but following them can ensure that you not only get what you’re looking for but also that no one gets hurt in the process. And by hurt, I mean getting trampled or run over by carts. Trust me, people…these things do happen. Hopefully these Black Friday tips will help make your experience a little more rewarding.

Get an idea of what you’re looking for before showing up to the store.

It sounds simple, but you wouldn’t believe how many people just show up for Black Friday shopping just for the thrill of it. Sure, it can be fun but running around looking for random items and not having a real mission can complicate things for you and fellow shoppers. So yes, having an idea of what you’d like to purchase before showing up at the stores can make a huge difference in your experience.

Take partners with you to make the wait time go quicker.

Black Friday scouting and shopping can be done alone but I have found it to be much more fun with others. Not only can you take turns standing in lines but having a partner or two can help make scouting out for items so much easier. Let’s face it, you’re only one person and it’s crazy difficult looking for a printer when you only have 2 feet. Asking your friends to go with you increases your chance of snagging whatever it is you’re looking for. Plus, it’s just more fun Black Friday shopping with others.

Shop Cyber Monday for better deals.

Last year I was on a hunt for a point and shoot camera and was all set to gather my girlfriends to head to an electronics store at 4 a.m. only to discover that the exact same camera that was on sale on Black Friday, would also be on sale on Cyber Monday. You mean, I can oh so conveniently dodge the crowds and just order my gadget online from the comfort of my own home? What a win! I’ve found that many tech gadgets tend to be just as cheap if not cheaper on Cyber Monday. Do your research ahead of time to confirm this.

Find out if savings are worth the inconvenience.

Finally! That game console that your kids have been begging you for is finally on sale. Even better, it comes with a nice bundle of games and other goodies. But wait…are you really saving more money with this Black Friday deal? Crunch some numbers to determine if your savings are actually worth dealing with the Black Friday crowds and madness.

Check out the ads and visit BlackFriday.com.

It should go without saying but all serious Black Friday shoppers should check store ads before plotting their missions. In fact, you may be better off physically taking the ad with you to the stores. To make this easier, the website BlackFriday.com happens to have many store ads and even a mobile app to help you save even more.

Did we miss anything? What are some of your Black Friday tricks and secrets?