Hometown Holidays

from thepennyhoarder.com

Black Friday is a shopper’s high holiday. But are you really saving as much as you can on this day of all bargain-hunting days?

We surveyed a number of people, from everyday savvy shoppers to professional shopping gurus, to learn their best Black Friday tips and tricks. Here are 10 you can take all the way to the checkout this year.

1. Do Recon Ahead of Time

When it comes to snagging the best Black Friday deals, it’s best to think like a Boy Scout (i.e. be prepared).

This means not just going through circulars the night before, but coming up with a specific game plan and even doing a little advanced research.

“Use leaked circulars to ‘showroom’ products before you buy them,” says  Benjamin K. Glaser of DealNews. “Once you know what’s going to be on sale, you can visit stores earlier to physically see and handle the products, and decide what you want.”

2. Start on Thursday (or Earlier)

As anyone who’s had their Thanksgiving dinner curtailed can tell you, Black “Friday” has crept earlier and earlier into the week each year. Discount devotees recognize this and spring into action before the masses.

“The ‘big-box’ stores will have most of their Black Friday sales online on Thursday,” says Michelle Madhok, shopping expert and founder ofSheFinds.com.

“In fact, in years past, we’ve seen some deals sell out before Black Friday. Make sure you’re signed up for your favorite retailer’s email newsletters so you know when the sales start.”

It’s also worth looking outside the holiday season altogether to pinpoint yearly trends.

“I did a couple stories when I was in TV comparing ads from mid-October to Black Friday ads, and the mid-October ones were cheaper every time,” says Christina Nicholson, owner of Media Maven.

3. Use Discount Cards

Store sales are only one part of the equation; if you combine those sales with discounted gift cards, you advance to the next level of savings.

“For example, with Macy’s gift cards up to 12% off, you can buy a $100 gift card for $88, pocketing $12 to use on other Black Friday deals,” says Meghan Fox, Marketing Manager for gift card exchange site Raise.

“Now imagine using these gift cards with in-store savings and coupons; it’s a win-win!”

4. Take Advantage of Technology

Your smartphone is good for more than just venting about long lines on Facebook. Turn it into a shopping tool to boost your savings even higher.

Target’s latest app points you to specific aisles where you can find the items on your list, while Coupon Sherpa provides extra savings from hundreds of retailers,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer savings expert who’s been featured in segments on “Good Morning America,” MSNBC, CNN and Fox News.

“Set sale alerts on the products you purchase with SnapUp, as you can request a price adjustment, and use OneReceipt to ensure you don’t lose important purchase slips,” she recommends.

“To avoid overpaying, track price drops using TrackIf.com, and then request a price adjustment if you find your purchase was sold for less later in the day,” Woroch advises.

5. Research While You Shop

Do a quick scan of online prices while waiting in those crazy long lines.

Glaser says, “You might find that an online retailer like Amazon has price-matched what you want, so you can just go home!”

Get 5 more Black Friday tips from The Penny Hoarder here.

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