Useful Black Friday shopping tips

November 16, 2011 2:08:51 PM PST
The motto this year is, "Let your fingers do the shopping."

Many major retailers often "leak" their specials online a few days before Black Friday so shop online before hitting the mall.

Many retailers offer the same or even better deals on their websites and Internet-only stores like Amazon can be a great place to find a good bargain.

Always be sure to sign up for e-mail alerts with your favorite retailer to get the inside scoop before anyone else. Websites like for example, let you search for the best deals by product category.

If you still prefer to shop the old-fashioned way... Stay close to home. Research shows big-ticket items may only vary by a few dollars in different cities, so don't feel like you have to drive all over town to find a food deal.

But no matter where you buy, be sure to read the fine print. Check the store's return policy and warranty details as well as whether you can get a price-match guarantee in case you find a lower price somewhere else.

Then make sure to avoid the traps that will make you more than you want by ensuring you are only buying the items you really want. Steer clear of pricey accessories, which can quickly erase any savings you might have found on your original purchase.

Beware of other advertized sales that will have you spending more in the long-term. So-called "Doorbuster" sales are great to get you in the store, but a cheaper product may break sooner than you hope.

But most importantly avoid the bait-and-switch technique salespeople use to push you to a more expensive model than you really need.