This week is my favorite week of the year! Thanksgiving  (which includes helping my mom cook, decorate, and getting to hang out with family and friends who are in town) + Black Friday (best bargain shopping of the year and the time when I do most of my holiday gift shopping). Are you planning on hitting up the big retailers like me? Here are some tips I put together to help you score big!

Black Friday Shopping Tips

1. Do your Research: Check out what deals are happening  in the slideshow above and on where you’ll find a list of all the stores by category. Friday’s papers will also include additional sales if you’re willing to wait last minute. Also, sign up for retailers’ email lists, visit their websites for additional unannounced bargains, and look out for deals and coupons listed on their Facebook pages.

2. Analyze the Deal: Just because something is discounted on black Friday doesn’t mean it’s the BEST deal. Some items might be cheaper on Cyber Monday (Monday after Thanksgiving), mid-December, or after Christmas. Use Consumer World’s Price Checker  to compare prices at different online stores at once.

3. Early Bird Catches the Worm: On Thanksgiving day stores like Kmart opens at 6 am, while Walmart and Best Buy open at 6 pm (see slideshow for more details). Plot your route from store to store to arrive before opening, since quantities of the hottest deals are very limited. Walmart is offering rain checks if certain doorbusters sell out in the first hour.

4. Know the Return Policy: Before purchasing, make sure you know the store’s return policy. While some stores may have accept returns in January, others are charging restocking fees on certain categories of items, using a blacklisting database to deny refunds to returns abusers (yeah that might be me pretty soon!).

5. Price-Match Guarantees: Keep checking the prices of the items you buy, especially if they’re available online. Some stores (like Walmart) offer a price protection guarantee, so you may be entitled to get back some more money if the seller or a competitor offers a lower price before Christmas.



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