For more than three years, I鈥檝e worked at an online deals site called Brad鈥檚 Deals, which is, essentially, exactly what it sounds like: a website full of the best deals you can find online. I literally shop stores all day, every day all year round like it鈥檚 my job (鈥榗ause, well, it kind of is), to find people the best deals on top-selling items and big name brands.

What鈥檚 a deal, you ask? Well, it can be anything from a site-wide sale at Kate Spade to a super low price on a hot selling product, like North Face jackets or UGGs.

That being said, you could say I鈥檓 somewhat of an expert when it comes to not only the art of buying, but shopping those insaneBlack Friday deals. Here鈥檚 a few of my top tips below. Stay safe and happy shopping!

Young businesswoman sitting at desk, smiling at laptop and raising both arms in the air

1. Avoid the madness by sticking to online shopping. Many of the deals you鈥檒l find online are the exact same as you鈥檒l see in-store, without any of the fear of being trampled. Better yet, many stores also offer free shipping specials during this time, ensuring that you鈥檒l spend the exact same amount of money! And if they don鈥檛? Pay particular attention to what the shipping thresholds are. If you鈥檙e only a few bucks away from saving $8 or $9, it might be worth it to add something small to your cart, as well. Some stores (*ahem* Macy鈥檚) also allow you to avoid the fee when you add any beauty item to your cart (even if it鈥檚 just a Burt鈥檚 Bees lipgloss). It鈥檚 a win-win!

2. Don鈥檛 wait. While a rogue store or two will wait until actual Black Friday to release the goods, most leak their sales up to a week early these days, meaning there鈥檚 puh-lenty that鈥檚 up for grabs RIGHT NOW. So after you鈥檙e done enjoying your turkey and spending time with the fam, hop online to nab what you need before it sells out (as many of the best deals will).

Focused college student studying at computer

3. Do your homework. I get it: When you find the PERFECT item online, it can be oh-so-tempting to bust out that credit card and pull the trigger without a second thought. But since many stores (particularly department stores) have a lot of the same items on sale, it鈥檚 definitely worth a few extra minutes to do a quick Google search of where else you can find it. Those same $20 boots you wanted at JCPenney may be the same price at Carson鈥檚 with the added bonus of free shipping. Other stores might have bonus add-ons for cookware where others don鈥檛. Unless it鈥檚 a brand that isn鈥檛 sold anywhere else (i.e. Anthropologie), shop around. Checking a site鈥檚 Black Friday ad prior to sales may give you a better idea of what you鈥檙e working with, to boot.

3. Look for codes. Most stores will have coupon codes that you can use to get an extra discount on your purchase. While some are totally, can鈥檛-miss-鈥榚m obvious, others may be well hidden, so you can check third party sites like Brad鈥檚 to make sure you鈥檙e getting the best bang for your buck. Even if an item isn鈥檛 explicitly marked with a code, It may be eligible for an extra discount, so be sure you鈥檙e trying all available codes at checkout. Bonus tip: If a code the site is advertising isn鈥檛 working, you may want to switch to a PC, since many aren鈥檛 compatible with mobile devices or tablets.

Girl (12-13) holding money fan against her face

5. Take advantage of rebates and bonus cash. Some specials will offer a rebate with your purchase that needs to be postmarked by a certain date. While it may be less than ideal (post-office lines around the holidays 鈥 UGH), it鈥檚 essentially unclaimed, thrown-away money if you don鈥檛 feel them out or send them in on time. And nobody likes throwing away free money! Similarly, you may earn incentives, such as bonus cash, with your purchase: These are great if you鈥檙e a regular shopper of a store. Who doesn鈥檛 want a free $20 to treat yo鈥檚elf after all your gift giving days are over?

6. Don鈥檛 forget about Cyber Monday. While it doesn鈥檛 get quite the same hoopla as Black Friday does, when it comes to shopping online, some Cyber Monday deals are actually even better than the Black Friday ones! Don鈥檛 forget to go back on your favorite sites 鈥 you just might catch an unexpected steal!

What鈥檚 your best Black Friday shopping tip? Share with us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Ale Ventura, Hero Images + Jamie Grill/Getty)