Black Friday is a great time to find deals on the year’s hottest holiday gifts, but the frenetic pace of the day can cause you to spend more money than you’d planned or veer from your original shopping list.

Doing a little research before you go and setting up a game plan can help you reduce stress, save money, and still find gifts for everyone on your list this season.

Before you grab your coffee and list, and go stake out a place in line, follow these tips to make this your best (and most money-wise!) Black Friday shopping spree yet.

Do a dry run: Map out the store to locate deals and split up the shopping.

It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of the uber-caffeinated Black Friday mob and be steered away from the things you intended to buy. Before jumping into the fray, take a trip to the stores you know you’ll be visiting on Black Friday and scope out where everything is located. This way, you can plan the most efficient route through the store to get to the deals you want before they’re gone. If the items on your list are on opposite ends of the store, divide and conquer. Decide which ones you’ll grab and what your shopping buddies can pick up for you.

Haggle for even better deals.

Even though stores offer deep discounts on Black Friday, you still might be able to save even more.

Check eBay, Google and other ecommerce sites for current pricing on the products you’re looking for and then use that information to your advantage. Many brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling the pinch of “showrooming”—when customers check out the product in the store, then go online to find the cheapest price—and will often match online prices. The New York Times found that Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Lowes, and Bloomingdale’s are open to price matching. Bookmark the online deals you want so you can show them to store employees when negotiating.

If you’re shopping online, try using the retailer’s live chat function to negotiate a better deal or use, a website that checks out prices from online retailers and lets you name your own price.

Use apps to guide your trip.

Keep Black Friday ads from all of your favorite retailers in the palm of your hand with these deal-tracking apps. Most of them are free, so you can download several at once and test them out to pick the one that works best for you before the retail riot begins.

The apps let you look at all the ads, find coupons, search by category, and compare prices. Some even let you buy the items from your phone (in case you can’t fight your way through the crowd).

Get started with these apps, all of which are available for both iOS and Android:

If you have any questions about these tips or in general, email me at