UNITED STATES—It’s here America, the biggest shopping day of the year has arrived, um, Black Friday, um, wait is it Black Thursday now? Man, I’m not so sure anymore, but it will always be known as Black Friday in my eyes because when we first started the tradition in my family it was during the wee hours of Friday morning that we’d get out of bed and wait in the blistering cold or rain to nab some nifty deals on items that rarely and I mean rarely go on sale during the year.

Yes, there has been so much uproar for years about those preaching to the masses about how Black Friday is ruining Thanksgiving by preventing those in retail from spending time with family during turkey day. And guess what I totally get it, why? I worked at a supermarket for years and I was stuck working Thanksgiving every year for years and it sucked completely. Why? Whenever we had family dinners, I would be the last to arrive, why? I had to work and work didn’t end to 3 or 4 p.m. most years.

There are some industries where work is a must; you don’t get to close the doors, because if we did things would not be good. Apologies for the digression, but let’s get back to the important dos and don’ts when it comes to Black Friday. First, you have to have a plan. This is vital, so many people venture out to the stores on Black Friday with no game plan. Why is this problematic? Well, you’re venturing into a territory that is completely new and for those not prepared it won’t take much to lose one’s mind. Know what big items that are must-haves on your list. The problem with nabbing those doorbusters is being aware that they are limited in stock. So if it’s an item that you REALLY want, you need to ensure you’re at that store of choice at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before the doors open.

It sounds crazy, but the lines will be busy Black Friday people, and I don’t mean it’s busy because it’s Christmas Eve, its busy because people are looking to get deals, and lines can stretch around the corner and I mean corner people. Second, you have to decide which stores to hit and which stores to avoid. Understand, not every retailer is open on Black Thursday, which most stores are now opening, before shutting their doors during the very early hours Friday morning. You will not be able to hit all the stores, so ensure the stores that have your must have items are the top stores on your list and the others you can hit the following day or over the weekend.

Third, look for bargains; I’m a big believer that if the item that you’re looking to purchase isn’t more than 50 percent off it’s not a deal. Many of the retailers will place items in the sales flyers to make the consumer suspect they are getting a deal, but when you look at the regular price you’re only saving $5 or $10 from the regular price, which is not much if you actually think about it. I’m not saying be a penny pincher, but be smart about how you plan to spend your funds, as they’re limited for many people.

Now this is the big one in my opinion: decide rather to spend cash or utilize the credit card. In the past, I have used the credit card when needed, but for 2016, I’ve decided cash is best. There is a reason for this people. The level of credit card debt in America is on a constant rise and the one way to prevent that is to not use the credit card at all. Look at it this way: if you don’t use plastic you don’t have to worry about incurring debt. Kinda smart if you ask me, and with credit the more access you have to it, the more inclined you will be willing to swipe instead of sticking to cash.

Lastly, bring friends and family along. It’s no fun shopping on Black Friday solo! It’s understandable if you’re looking to purchase a big ticket item as a surprise for a Christmas gift, but having family and friends tag along is great for personal safety in my opinion, but also a level of comradery that those who don’t venture out on the busiest shopping day of all-time won’t understand.

If you prepare for the madness that is known as Black Friday, the day will be so much fun the chaos that so many people discuss won’t be chaos at all.