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      Save your money and energy with Black Friday shopping tips

      Planning ahead is the key to Black Friday shopping according to Lauren Greutman of Iamthatlady.com

      In 2012, finding the best deal on Black Friday is not black and white. According to Lauren Greutman, Central New York's own deal queen and coupon connoisseur, it's all about strategy and research.

      Often times, she says the good deal you're getting is created specifically for Black Friday and could be missing some key features.

      "Don't think that every deal is a good deal. Do your research. See what the normal price is. See how much you're actually saving with those features missing and then strategize," says Greutman.

      Capitalize on the non-stop competition between the big box stores. For instance, Target is now promising to price match any online deal and Walmart is price matching any other store ads even if you put the item on layaway.

      Also make sure to pick up the newspaper on Thanksgiving Day for the latest coupons.

      If you want to avoid the hassle of keeping track of several paper coupons, there's a free app you can download on your phone that will help you manage them. It's called snip snap. All you have to do is take a picture of the barcode on the coupon and then it will store a pdf version which you can show to the clerk.

      Thanks to the internet, you can avoid the chaos all together and stay home and do the shopping in your pajamas.

      "You know we're seeing a lot of the deals are online now. And so a lot of people don't have to leave their house. I don't even go out on Black Friday. I stay home and I get the same deals," says Greutman.

      That is a strategy Patrice Graham of Carthage will be embracing this year.

      "Avoid it at all costs. It's crazy, the lines are ridiculous. I did it once and I said I would never do it again," says Graham.

      Colleen Grimshaw of Fulton did that last year, but had a different reaction.

      "Part of me missed it. It's fun. It's a social thing to do. The stories you tell other people. Like what did you do on Black Friday and how were the lines," says Grimshaw.

      If you plan to brave the crowds to snag a good deal, shop smart, strategize, and do your homework.