To the uninitiated, shopping on Black Friday either sounds like a fun experience in a Bear Grylls survival sort of way, or downright insane. The truth is, it’s a little of both.

What used to be one brutal shopping event that helped retailers get out of the red and into the black has morphed into almost a week-long even including the days leading up to Thanksgiving and concluding on Cyber Monday. The lines having been sufficiently muddied,there are no longer two distinct events, one for retailers (Black Friday) and one for online merchants (Cyvber Monday). Many retailers offer the same (if not better) deals online as the do in the stores on Black Friday and many of these are the same as their Cyber Monday deals, essentially swallowing up the special-ness of either shopping day.

This year the ‘Black Friday’ sales got an even earlier start w/ Amazon kicking things off with ‘Pre-Black Friday’ sales almost a week in advance and Best Buy recently announced that they will match Amazon prices during the holiday season AND offer free shipping if an item isn’t in stock at your local store. So the days of HAVING to wait in the cold outside your favorite box store for hours to get great deals on Black Friday are long gone. That being said, there will always be some ‘door buster’ deals only available in stores to try to entice you to pick one retail chain over another for your camp out location.

Online retailers have already started their deal’s with’s and Amazon’s Official Black Friday deals, going live this morning.

Still feeling a bit crazy and want to cut your Thanksgiving dinner short so you can camp out a Best Buy, or layer up to keep from freezing outside Wal-Mart?

Before you venture out on Black Friday, download these free apps to help you compare prices, plan your attack, create shopping lists, see store hours and more. Here in Massachusetts, retail outlets don’t open until midnight or 1am for Black Friday due to state blue laws, but in other states, Wal-Mart opens its doors as early as 8pm (giving you just 12 hours to prepare.)

DealNews’ app is probably my favorite of the bunch. It (optionally) ties into your dealnews account for off device viewing of lists, etc. It is easy to navigate and provides a wealth of searchable and filterable information. You can view the original print ad, create a shopping list, set up alerts, check store hours and more.

Fat Wallet’s Black Friday app is also a strong competitor. Is well-organized, with nice search capabilities including special categories like ‘doorbusters’ and online availability (which could save you a lot of time waiting). It also allows you to make a wish list of the deals that you want to remember. You also have access to the full ad scans for reference.

My only complaints are that you are forced to create an account / log in to use the wish list feature. Also there was no quick/easy access to see the Black Friday shopping hours for my local stores.’s official app, is also quite nice, allowing many of the same features as Fat Wallet’s app. One plus it has going is that having a user account is completely optional. They have a cool ‘Hot Deals’ section, that helps you see trending deals that may interest you.

Now I know there are A LOT more Black Friday shopping apps out there, but these are the ones I’ve use before and found useful. If you have a tip on other Black Friday shopping apps to try, let us know in the comments below. If you do decide to venture out, good luck, remain civil and try to stay warm.