11/21/2012 10:24 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2013

Great Black Friday Tips (Or Is it Brown Thursday?)

Brown Thursday + Black Friday Equals Black & Blue Monday!

There was Black Friday and after the ecommerce explosion came Cyber Monday! Now there's Brown Thursday which I believe is lazy advertising executive's attempt to create yet another shopping day! Brown Thursday already has its own day called Thanksgiving Day!

Several years ago after a hearty Thanksgiving Dinner, I stood in line at a Best Buy at 3:00 a.m to buy a 24 inch flat screen TV for $240! I fought 20 degree weather, biological calls for sleep, throngs of competing deal seekers and limited customer service to buy a crappy-brand name flat screen TV. (It was 2005 and the prices of flat screens had yet to come down as much).

I have never done that again!

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, up to 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a slight decrease from the 152 million who planned to do so last year. In other words, more people are becoming wiser by avoiding the nonsense associated with lining up outside your favorite retail store in the middle of the night like iPhone 5 seekers.

There are better ways to get great deals before the holiday season! I appeared on CNN / Headline News with Mike Galanos' two years ago to share tips on how to avoid the Black Friday Mayhem yet still find deals! Here are several other tips to use for Black Friday Weekend!

1. Make a List! -- If you make a list of what you plan to buy as well as which stores you can buy them from, you'll be less likely to over spend.

2. Sign Up for Email Alerts -- I'm normally against giving out my email address unless there is a future benefit for doing so. Your favorite stores tend to send out special deals for customers on their email lists. You may find specials that have not been advertised yet.

3. Patience is a Virtue -- Most shoppers dive into the Black Friday mayhem to find deeply discounted electronics. You may also find deeply discounted electronics from Thursday until Monday, which is now known as Cyber Monday. "Don't wait until Cyber Monday. Online deals are beginning on Thanksgiving, too" says Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press.

4. Ask for Gift Receipts -- Teresa Britton from says asking for a gift receipt is imperative in the event you need to return or exchange the Black Friday item.

5. Bring Black Friday Circulars With You -- "If a store is out of an advertised item, another store may match their price, but you will have to show the advertisement" says Teresa Britton.

6. Be Safe! -- Teresa also says that safety is important because crooks tend to target shoppers during this time. Keep your purchases in the trunk of your car, not the inside of your car where they can be seen by potential thieves.

The sense of retail urgency appears to have subsided as a result of the current state of the economy and better educated shoppers! That TV I bought seven years ago after standing in line for four hours lasted less than a year! Never again...but if you are much braver than I am, use the above tips!