Black Friday is coming up, and you know what that means: shopping until you feel like dropping. While snatching up great deals is fun, it can also be a battle since you’re competing with other eager shoppers. Follow the tips below so that you can shop smart and stay safe this year:

Have a Plan in Mind

Compile a product list so that you don’t forget anything. Bring any needed coupons to take advantage of the lowest prices. Map out which stores you’ll arrive at first and what paths you’ll take to get there. Check your bank account and credit card balances to make sure you can afford to buy want you want.

Contact Store Managers to Check Operating Hours

Don’t just depend on ads and websites for Black Friday hours. Call or visit the store about a week ahead to find out store hours and sales. The item you desire may still be on sale on Saturday and Sunday, which means you don’t have to fight other customers on Friday. Why stress out during the rush when you could wait a little longer, and still get what you wish for?

Come Early

Some stores open on Thanksgiving rather than waiting until Friday. Call, walk in, or use the Internet to see if a specific store opens on Black Friday. That way, you have a better chance of beating the crowds. In some cases you might have to camp out few hours or even a day or two before the store opens if you want to get the best deals.

Protect Yourself from Potential Thieves

Black Friday attracts shoppers and crooks alike. Guard and secure your purse, wallet, cellphone, and money. Have a list of credit card customer service numbers on hand (not in your purse or wallet) so that you can call and cancel any pilfered cards. Don’t leave any wrapped packages in clear view for potential robbers to break in and take from your vehicle. Hide them in the trunk or cover with a blanket.