By tamaraBlack Friday is just a few days away, and the excitement is already killing us. Seriously, who doesn’t like to get a great deal, right? And, for broke high school or college students, it’s the one time of the year where a few dollars can really get you some great stuff. Whether you’re looking for a new laptop or just need to update your gaming collection, the discounts are just too good to pass up. Unfortunately, some of you will make the age-old mistake of just heading out to shop without any plan in hand. Big mistake! That’s why we’ve put together this easy three-step plan to help you snag the best Black Friday deals.1. Do a Little ReconHeading out on Black Friday without knowing what deals are available is sort of like enrolling in a college without checking out any other campuses. Yes, you might be happy with the product (or college), but you’re going to be really mad if you missed out on saving some serious money. A great way to see what’s available is to do a little recon on your favorite retailer’s websites. Or better yet, check out some of the many Black Friday websites set up to help you find the best deals. Here are a few we like to use.BlackFriday.com – Lets you find sales fliers in alphabetical order and includes an option to have alerts sent to your email.Nerdwallet.com – Similar to BlackFriday.com, but it separates links by categories (electronics, clothing, etc.) and provides links to coupons, too.Fatwallet.com – Another great site for checking out upcoming deals, and it offers an app for Apple and Android users!If you want to save yourself some time jumping from sales flier to sales flier, check out PriceGrabber.com and one of the many other price comparison websites. You can also go mobile by downloading one of the available Black Friday shopper apps. Most will not only give you updates on the latest deals, but also provide product reviews, coupons, and even help you find your parked car!2. Devise a PlanWhether you are braving the crowds alone or with your BFFs, you’ll need to devise some plan for grabbing all those great deals. And, it all starts with knowing when the stores on your shopping list will be opening their doors. Luckily, there’s a website that has them all laid out for you. You can use the list to determine which stores you’ll hit first and help assign stores everyone (if you’re taking the team approach). It’s also not a bad idea to have everyone do a dry run a day or two early, just to get familiar with the layout of each location. Pass out itineraries to everyone on your team that includes the name of the store, hours, items targeted, and the quantity needed. Don’t forget to have everyone load the addresses into their GPS (phone or car), too, just in case they are unfamiliar with an area or a store.3. Get Ready for Game DayLike it or not, several stores have made the decision to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. This means that you’ll need to decide whether or not to give up your family time to grab some of those hot deals. Regardless if you head out on Thursday or Friday, you’ll need to have a few things ready to help you score a touchdown this holiday.1. Coupons – Check online and cut out any you may find in the sales fliers leading up to Black Friday. It’s a good idea to attach them to your itinerary or store shopping list to ensure you don’t forget to use them. You can also download one of the many coupon apps, such as CouponSherpa and Shopular, to help find even more bargains.2. Fuel – This goes for both your body and your vehicle. Make sure you fill up your gas tank and also pack plenty of high-energy snacks to get you through the day. Granola bars, fruit, and other snacks can be carried in a backpack or purse. And, don’t forget to throw in a few bottles of water or energy drinks, too!3. Fashion – FYI, this is not the time to be pulling out your designer outfits. Comfort rules here, so grab your most comfy shoes (ones you can run in) and dress in layers. Depending where you live and where you shop, the temperature can frequently fluctuate. Be prepared to rip off a few layers when needed, or even add a few when it turns downright cold.4. Money – If you must take cash with you, don’t keep it in your wallet or your purse. Why? Thieves will be out shopping, too. Be alert when walking to your vehicle and never travel alone in dark areas. It’s also not a good idea to have your money or credit cards in your back pocket. It’s simply too easy for someone to grab it when you are distracted. Invest in a neck wallet that you can tuck into a shirt and will be easy for you to access, when needed.With these tips, you should be ready to take on the hordes of people swarming the malls this holiday weekend and walk away with a ton of great stuff. Or better yet, you could avoid the crowds altogether and just stay at home. Most of the same deals found in the stores are also available online, which means you can spend more time with your family while you shop ‘till you drop. And while you’re online, make sure you take some time to check out our scholarship deals, too!