UNITED STATES—This is the day that matters to those diehards of the holiday shopping season. What am I referring to? I’m talking about Black Friday America! This is a day when the malls and most retailers are packed out the door with consumers trying to get their hands on the absolute best deal possible. Look, I’m speaking from personal experience because this is something my family has been doing for nearly 2 decades if not longer.

Its tradition for several of my family members, and for hardcore shoppers our goal is to get the best possible deal out there to stay within the budget for our holiday shopping, while picking up a few things for ourselves along the way. This day is not for the faint of heart; if you don’t like long lines, you don’t have patience and the notion of utter chaos as times, stay at home. Don’t venture out; wait till the day dies down before deciding to tackle your Christmas shopping.

Another mistake I see all the time is people shopping with children! Please don’t do this, there is just utter chaos at a lot of these retailers, you should not expose your kids to it, and the fact that kids don’t have patience, they whine, they cry and just can behave to a point where you want to pull your hair out only adds to the stress.

So to ensure you have a Black Friday shopping experience which is a memorable one, you have to plan ahead. First, you have to view those ads from your favorite retailers. If you have the internet, most retailers have already leaked their ads. This is good news because this helps for one to make a shopping plan. The goal is to get a bargain, and as a result, you need to know what items you want and what items you don’t want. After years of doing this, I’ve become accustomed to knowing items that are always on sale versus items that are massive deals.

What does that mean? You want items that are at least 50 percent off if not more. Anything less than 50 percent is NOT A DEAL. I repeat it’s not a deal and you are wasting money if you purchase that item. Let me give you an example, if an item is $5.96 and on Black Friday, the item is $4 guess what? You’re not saving money. You’re looking for items that have a regular price of let’s say $19.99, but on Black Friday, the item is $5.99. That is a massive savings of 70 percent. That is what you want people.

Next, you have to make a list of the items that are must haves for you. Once you’ve done that, the next step is to ensure you revise that list. A lot of the time you’ll just list items for the sake of listing them, not realizing a few things you really did not want or need. I’ve done it in the past so many times it drives me bonkers, but for 2018, not anymore. If it’s not a gift or something I absolutely need, it will not be on my list. You don’t want to purchase items just because they’re on sale.

This is where things get slightly tricky; you have to decide what stores are must visits on your list. You have stores open at various times during Black Friday and if you’re in a situation where you have 2 or 3 of your favorite retailers opening at the exact same time, you have to decide who has better deals where you MUST be in line to get that door buster, versus waiting in line at a store that has a sale, but nothing that wows you.

Here’s the one thing that bugs most Americans, including myself: budget! I know the word is scary and for most of us it places us in a predicament where we might have to remove some items off our list that we never planned to. Make a budget and stick to it with an iron fist. If that item is NOT on your list, do not purchase it. On top of that, have a price point for those who you plan to purchase gifts for. There is no need to overdoing it. So many of us do it, but fail to realize the price of a gift doesn’t always matter it’s the thought people.

A few more important tips, wear loose fitting, but warm clothing, shop with those who have positive energy. You don’t want to be in the company of people who are in a sour mood or just have a bad attitude. Let those people stay at home. Ensure the gas tank is full; you have snacks to eat while you wait in line and clear out the trunk because it is likely to be full with gifts galore. I’m a proponent of using cash when you shop simply because it will caution you to not go over that budget, but at the same time you need to be aware of what you have after each transaction. You can easily spend $100 to $200 at one establishment and if your budget is $300, you only have a $100 left so be wise how you’re spending. Plastic is great, but it can easily get you in trouble if you’re not keeping track of what is being spent.

For a lot of diehard Black Friday shoppers, it’s not just about getting a deal it’s about being in the presence of others and just having a good time knowing that you saved money.