Get ready. Set. Shop.
Roughly 166.3 million people plan to check out deals this holiday weekend, the most since the National Retail Federation, an industry trade association, began keeping track in 2017. And once again, the biggest shopping day will be Black Friday, typically one of the two busiest of the year.
While many will click and browse, 67% of the 114.9 million people looking for Black Friday bargains say they intend to head to an actual store. That's up from 64% who said they planned to shop in person last year.
“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement announcing results of the shopping survey conducted with Prosper Insights & Analytics.
So as you race through the aisles to get ahold of that last doorbuster, you just might need a plan. Whether you're heading to a store on Friday or any other day this holiday season, here are a few items to tuck away in your shopping tool kit.
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Take your smartphone
Your mobile device can prove essential as you browse for deals. You can use it to look up coupons and reward programs as well as scan and compare prices at different retailers. It can also help you speed up your shopping journey, enabling you to pay for purchases with the tap of a screen, or locate the exact shelf where you can find the item you're looking for.
Stay powered up
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It's easy to drain your device's battery as you snap Instagram shots of your Black Friday finds and check shopping tips on social media. So, make sure you have your portable charger or power bank with you.
Bring along those store ads
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Your phone will work as well, but you might have an easier time keeping track of all the items on your shopping list if you bring along physical store ads, marking the pages that feature the items you want.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Is Black Friday better than Cyber Monday? How you can save the most this holiday season
It's not just your smart phone that might run out of juice during a marathon day of shopping. Standing in line and jostling with crowds can wear you out physically. Bring along a protein bar or piece of fruit along with water to stay energized and hydrated.
Be ready to bring the receipts
Keep up with your receipts. You might need them if you're going for a rebate, and a receipt will also make it easier to return that sweater that didn't fit. (Bonus tip: Ignoring rebates means leaving cash on the table, so don't forget to mail them in and to use the cards or checks in the required window.)
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Pack your patience
The store may run out of the item you want, so pack your patience and stay open to other gift ideas. You might even make a list of alternatives before you leave home.
Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Black Friday Shopping made easy: cash in on deals with these pro tips