Black Friday: Save big bucks before, on biggest shopping day of year

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Nina Pineda reports on Black Friday deals.

It's Black Friday season - and there's no need to wait to save.

Get started on your shopping before the crowds and the craziness. Your game plan to save some money -- and your sanity -- should start before you even leave the house.

"The first tip starts before you even get in the mall," consumer expert Janie Lieberman said. "You got to have the strategy on where you think you're going to end up."

Lieberman suggests mapping out your parking zone defense in advance.

"This is what you want to do," she said. "Park very close to the last store you want to be at, because you're going to be schlepping all sorts of packages. And if you're going one side to the next, forget it."

Next, game plan how to hit your targets. Use the maps that malls and shopping centers have online, and consider leaving the kids at home with a sitter.

"Black Friday can be a full contact sport," Lieberman said. "And towing a toddler can slow you down, as will having a dead cellphone."

Lieberman advises bringing an extra phone charger.

"It's worth the investment," she said. "If you're shopping and you can't find that coupon, you can't find that person you're shopping with, you're pretty much cooked."

Print out hard copies of coupons or screen capture promo codes and online coupons, so they'll save to your camera roll in case you can't log on or connect to WiFi.

"When you get to the register, all you have to do is show the barcode," she says. "If you don't have it and person in front of you does, you're going to be bummed."

Also, spend some time being social. That means follow and friend your favorite shops to be rewarded with discounts.

"All we had to do was logon to Dicks.com and they already sent us 10 percent off," Lieberman said. "If we join their (loyalty) club, which is free, they will send us coupons to our email."

Independent retailer Doug Grater, owner of one of Instagram's favorite mom and pop shops "Something Else" in Park Slope, gives his store followers freebies as incentives to shop in store instead of online.

"I'll do a lot of secret sales and promotions for my Instagram," Grater said. "Followers will get (discounts) a week for two before anyone. It will be a secret sale."

Three big takeaways to take away from this:

Do your research - You need to know what things cost, so you can decide on the fly if that Black Friday price is a deal or a dud.

Make sure you study the product features and model numbers - Doorbusters, like some televisions, can be items sold only on Black Friday and may not have all the bells and whistles you want.

Shop now - Get Black Friday prices later. Stores like PC Richard are offering Black Friday price guarantees. That means if you buy something now and the price drops, just call up and they will refund your credit card the difference.

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