amazing dealI am not stepping in a store on Black Friday this year. Don’t keel over in shock—I’m sure you think as a Savvy Spender that I would be the first in line to get into Target, Wal-Mart, etc. for the great deals. And in past years, that’s always been my strategy for holiday shopping. I even wrote about crafting the perfect shopping game-plan for this blog last year. But, the hype of Black Friday doesn’t exist anymore—and the great deals are now starting well before Black Friday.

Many of the large retailers are open for shopping on Thanksgiving this year. If you’d like to brave the crowds, here’s a comprehensive list of “Black Friday” store hours. But, my strategy this year is to purchase everything online. This still requires a plan and Internet research :-).

For example, Wal-Mart has announced that their November 22 sale will meet or beat competitors Black Friday prices on many items. Amazon is starting its Black Friday deals on Sunday, November 24. I still recommend that you do your research, peruse the Black Friday ads, and make a list of the stores that have your gifts at the best prices. Making a map of sorts is the best thing that you can do—to make sure that you’re at the right store at the right time for the deal you’re attempting to snatch up!

Here are a few Black Friday shopping tips to help you plan your in-store and online shopping:

    • Target shoppers: Use Target’s interactive map to figure out where your doorbusting deal is located. The 50” TV you’re looking for may be in the grocery section. Don’t waste minutes searching Electronics and miss out on the deal you came for. Plan your route, and get out :-).

    • Wal-Mart shoppers: If you’re in the store within an hour of when a doorbuster went on sale, and they run out, Wal-Mart offers rain checks. Check here to see what items this applies to. Check Wal-Mart’s map too (click on Black Friday Map) to make sure you know where you’re going.

    • Don’t assume you have to fight the crowds to get deeply-discounted gifts. Many retailers offer the same—or better—prices on their respective websites. When you combine free (or low cost) shipping, it may be worth your time to skip the crowds.

    • Evaluate the sales. Price-check each of your items online. Don’t assume that a product that is listed as a doorbuster in a sales flyer is automatically a great deal—Amazon or another online retailer might have it for the same price.

    • If you’re a night owl, price check online for your gifts at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, November 28. Some deals may be available online before the store even opens.

    • Price-Match: Wal-Mart will do Christmas Ad Matches. There are restrictions, but if you find a lower advertised price later (post-purchase), and bring in the ad and your receipt, you’ll get the difference on a gift card. Click here for the details.

Good luck and happy holidays!

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