As anyone who has been one can attest, money is usually pretty tight for college students. A full-time student has limited hours and/or energy to hold down even a part-time job. Scholarships and help from parents are often the only resources available to a college student. That's why gift-loving undergraduates look forward to Black Friday - the day after the American Thanksgiving holiday. Black Friday and the weekend that follows is the biggest retail period of the year, and merchants across the U.S. including floral outlets like Christmas flowers offer substantial discounts to garner sales traffic on this make-or-break weekend.

Students like Black Friday because their money goes further and they can buy more of the computers and electronic equipment they covet. The sales Black Friday provides are not only helpful to students, on good years they can kick-start the U.S. economy. Market research pegs 2010 Black Friday sales around $11.7 billion. Parents like to give Black Friday gifts to their children in college who cannot afford to shop for themselves. And merchants count on their big Black Friday discounts to trigger long-postponed demand.

If you polled students for what they wanted most on Black Friday, computers would be very near the top of the list. It is exceedingly hard for a modern undergraduate to succeed without a computer. For students wishing to buy a laptop, Black Friday is the ideal time to shop, as prices are as low as they are going to get for the rest of the year. Students already possessing a computer may instead buy on Black Friday flat screen TVs or replacement monitors. Old-fashioned cathode ray tube televisions cannot deliver high definition pictures, while flat screens can do so and not take up the little precious space available in dorm rooms.

Here is the best Black Friday shopping tip for college students: to get exactly what you are looking for, line up at stores 24 hours before the start of the sales event. Perhaps it is the nature of youth to find adventure in camping out in front of an electronic store until the doors open at, say, 3 am. And this is following the annual stomach-stuffing food orgy known as Thanksgiving. It must be somewhat uncomfortable for students to line-up outside, perhaps in the cold or rain, while trying to digest 5000 calories of turkey and fixings. Yet merchants know that, on Black Friday, if prices are low enough, they will come.