Black Friday tips to get the best deals

Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, will be here in a matter of days and consumer websites are encouraging shoppers to get ready.

Consumer World is offering a list of 10 tips to help shoppers spot the best deals and stores to visit.

1. Read the Ads:  Check local newspapers on Thanksgiving Day, get on retailers' email lists and look for deals listed on their Facebook pages, and preview the Black Friday sale circulars now at bfads.net

2. Evaluate the Deals: Remember that not all advertised items are great deals. To separate the great deals, use several of Consumer World's pricing tools, such as the Price Checker at ConsumerWorld.org .  If shopping online, find out the total price including shipping and tax.

3. Research the Right Product: Check websites where professionals evaluate products, and be sure to also check customer reviews by real owners of the products you are thinking of buying.

4. Save with "Triple Plays":To save the most, combine the ways to save: buy items at a good sale price, usecoupons offered by some stores to lower that price even more, and look for items that also have a cash back rebate.

5. Be an Early Bird:  Toys-R-Us and Wal-mart open some stores at 9pm and 10pm respectively on Thanksgiving while Target, Best Buy, Kohl's and Macy's open at midnight.  Sears and JC Penney open at 4am, Lowe's at 5am, and Staples at 6am.  Plot your route from store to store based on store opening times.

6. Beat the Early Birds: To plan for the real Black Friday, scope-out key retailers on Wednesday before Thanksgiving to learn each store's floor plan in advance. Consider ordering online since some Black Friday deals may be available on Thanksgiving Day or Friday starting at midnight.

7. Check the Return Policy: Before buying, find out the store's return policy in case there are any issues with your Black Friday purchases.

8. Get a Gift Receipt: Make returns easier for gift recipients by asking the store for a gift receipt and include it in the gift box.

9. Use the Right Credit Card: Certain credit cards offer valuable free benefits, like warranty coverage or return protection policies.

10. Save More with Price Guarantees: Keep checking the prices of the items you bought. Since many stores offer a price protection guarantee, you may be entitled to get back some additional money if the seller or a competitor offers a lower price before Christmas.

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