CNN - Amanda Ostrowski -
Thanksgiving is obviously about giving thanks. But nowadays, Black Friday is a big part of Thanksgiving. They are back-to-back holidays in our household. I shop like a mad woman but the savings are worth it.
This year, my husband and I, my brother and two of my friends will split off into teams. Two of us will go to one Wal-Mart and two of us will go to a different Wal-Mart, so we definitely will get what we want.
Since we're not going for high-ticket electronics this year we can leave a little later, like at 5 p.m. on Thursday. I'm thankful these stores are opening on Thanksgiving, it's going to be a little bit easier to wait outside during the day instead of sleeping outside.
This year's wish list: We just bought a house so we're looking for home appliances
Secret strategies: Check your grocery stores! They sometimes have promotions for free gas or groceries when you buy gift cards for other retailers. Last year, I got three free fill-ups for my truck by buying Best Buy, Target and PetSmart gift cards to use on Black Friday.
I usually head out Monday or Tuesday to line up at Best Buy. I'm out there for three or four days in advance. I'm always the first person in line. I have a tent, cooler, space heater and I rent a Porta-Potty. I also have a core group of 10 friends with me.
For our meals, we do a different theme every night: The first night, it's Vietnamese, second night it's Italian and Indian food another night. On Thursday, my parents will bring us turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie and we eat Thanksgiving dinner in the parking lot.
I've been doing this for about 10 years. For me, this is tradition; this is about getting away from my computer and getting some fresh air. I catch up with friends, I read books. I haven't done a traditional Thanksgiving since 1999.
My ultimate score: About six years ago, I got a desktop computer with everything included for $149.99.
Secret strategy: Knowing what's out there and what the retail price is normally. Just because it's Black Friday doesn't mean it's a good deal.
We've been doing this for 12 years, since my oldest child was born. I have five kids so the deals are important. I plan out what stores are opening at what time.
We also buy appliances, tools, toys and stuff for the house that we know we need, like bedding sets. Last year, my husband and I camped out at Walmart for $200 computers. We spent about $1,200 altogether, but saved $1,000.
This year, we'll have dinner at 1 p.m. so we can rest up and get on line at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Ultimate score: Two years ago, I scored the Wii for $199, marked down from $399.
Secret strategy: Me, my husband and my best friend will be stationed around town to get the best deals from different stores.
Kari and Roy Hammock
Black Friday has been a big tradition in our family for about 10 years. On Thanksgiving Day, everyone comes over and we usually divvy up our lists and then go out in groups.
We have Thanksgiving dinner early, like around noon, and get in line at least four or five hours before the stores open.
This year's wish list: A 46-inch TV at Target, an iPod nano and a Kindle
Secret strategy: We bring extra blankets and jackets and coffee or hot chocolate to stay warm, but we try not to take a lot of food because that just makes you tired. Instead, we just keep protein bars and hard-boiled eggs on hand to keep the energy going. My husband is in the military so he knows.