So what are you doing the day after Thanksgiving? Recovering from a turkey coma? Finishing the dishes? Or…heading out for MAJOR DEALS? Yep, Black Friday, is officially upon us this week!

In retail lore, “Black Friday” is supposedly the day when stores went into the “black” — meaning they started to make money. But sometimes it can feel like they make money at the expense of our sanity. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to make it as painless as possible.

1. Have a plan

You know you should never go shopping without a plan, and that goes double for Black Friday. While the internet is a boon for shopping (more on that later), it’s also opened up a whole new world of shopping possibilities. No longer do you have to obsessively watch TV commercials, or wait for the THUNK of the gigantic daily newspaper with all its circulars. Instead, you can get your Black Friday planning on much earlier. Check out any of the many Black Friday ad websites, which are DEVOTED to listing out the best deals from each major retailer.

Of course, you can’t be first in line at all the stores. So figure out where you most want to go and position yourself there for the best chance.

2. Do BF with your BFF

Some people love Black Friday shopping. For them, it’s a fun tradition to get up at the crack of dawn, caffeinate themselves, and stand in line to get the best deal. But if you want to avoid Black Friday store rage, having a partner can make it lot more fun and help you keep your good cheer in check. Because while the clueless shopper butting in line is annoying when you’re by yourself, it can become comical when you’re with someone else who can join you in painting a dire backstory for the interloper. Making it a family tradition with aunts, uncles, or cousins is a great way to squeeze in more family time.

3. Shop the day before

Yep, some stores actually open ON Thanksgiving evening. And that means you could get similar deals with the added benefit of fewer crowds.

Before you judge, though, remember for some people, heading out after dinner can be the perfect way to avoid watching football. Or doing the dishes. Or, you know, talking politics. You do what’s best for you.

4. Just say no

Of course, there are alternatives. Like waiting for Cyber Monday, where you can shop from the comfort of your couch in the comfort of your PJs, gnawing on a turkey leg and racking up those great deals (often with free shipping).

Or you can always opt out of the madness entirely. We say do whatever makes your holidays painless!

Safe and smart | Financial safety


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.