Follow these 3 tips to make the most of your November shopping

Before you head out at 5 a.m. for some Black Friday shopping, you'll want to approach the event with a strategic game plan.

It's far too easy to lose yourself in an extraordinary amount of sales and doorbuster deals. Spending more than you planned may not seem harmful right away. But the damage arrives once you receive that credit card statement.

Avoid future worries by keeping a handful of shopping and security tips in mind.

No. 1: Research

There are more Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals to count. Almost every store offers some type of discount before, during and after two of the biggest shopping days in the year.

Many retailers are actually advertising pre-Thanksgiving sales as a way to entice potential shoppers. Such deals may not have the thunder of Black Friday doorbusters, but they're still worthy of your consideration.

Your first priority is to research. Look online and in newspapers for advertisements. It's not uncommon for different stores to offer discounts on the same items, so you'll want to compare various ads and find the best prices. And given the sheer amount of merchandise marked down in price, focus on picking up things that will fulfill your holiday shopping list.

"Carefully look at any deals because sometimes, they may be too good to be true."

Mapping out gifts for everyone on a list will also help you stick to your budget. Part of researching involves creating a budget and don't be fooled; massive discounts may be a sneaky way to get you to spend more if you don't show restraint.

Research will also help you decide which stores to hit and when. Some deals are going to garner significantly more attention than others. If you're trying to get your hands on a top-of-the-line high definition television from a particular store, consider heading to that retailer first.

Additionally, Time Money recommended that you carefully look at any deals because sometimes, they may be too good to be true. For example, you may need to mail in a rebate to actually finalize a deal.

Planning your shopping strategy also applies if you're going to be shopping on Cyber Monday instead. But instead of driving around to different stores, focus on deciding which websites to visit first.

Another aspect of your research is settling on a payment method. Use cash, and you'll have a hard budget to stick to, but you won't be able to capitalize on rewards or cash back bonuses. If you're going to use a credit card, have some self-restraint to prevent overspending. Keep in mind that some cards, such the Plutonium Signature card from Landmark Bank, offer 90 days to reimburse, replace or repair eligible purchases.

No. 2: Keep security in mind

According to Fortune, Black Friday thefts are 2 percent higher than any other day throughout the year. Approximately 28 percent of thefts occur away from home.

Vehicle break-ins are common on this day, but you can approach safety in a few different ways.

Black Friday shopping at a mall may make your experience safer because you'll be carrying everything between stores. Bags might get heavy, but at least you won't walk back to a shattered car window. If you won't be shopping at a mall, consider stopping at home to drop off your purchases.

Cyber Monday is another anti-theft measure from parking lot thefts. However, sign up for shipping updates to ensure you're home when packages are delivered because thieves will try to steal packages around the holidays.

And when it comes to payment methods, keep your wallet or purse as close and secure as possible. Online shoppers, you'll want to ensure your computer and internet browser are up to date, while also sticking to websites that are built with the latest HTTPS standards. By setting up transaction alerts, you'll also be able to stay on top of any unusual purchases made with your card, should it be stolen or lost.

ShoppingDo you have a Black Friday plan in place?

No. 3: Enjoy the moment

Shopping can often be a love/hate experience, especially during the holidays. We enjoy picking up gifts for our loved ones.

Yet, the sheer craziness of Black Friday from early morning to evening hours can cause plenty of headaches.

Enjoy Black Friday for the unofficial holiday it's become by maintaining your composure. Every year there's a news story about customers breaking down barriers or getting into fights over merchandise. If you aren't able to find or purchase everything on your shopping list, it's OK. Try not to let doorbuster deals deter you from what the holidays are actually about about: family and friends.

November shopping is exhilarating. Stick to your plan and you'll be able to survive Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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