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Black Friday shopping tips: Finding the best deals

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Black Friday deals on toys

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, is the official start of Christmas shopping season. Stores will roll out huge sales and will extend their hours, many opening as early as 3 am for Black Friday door busters! Find out how to make the most of Black Friday without blowing the family budget by planning ahead and shopping smart.

Woman shopping

See the Black Friday deals for Target, Wal-Mart and more!>>

You can make your money go far this holiday season if you shop with a purpose and take advantage of the great deals on Black Friday. Alicia Markham from Alicia's Deals in AZ shares her tricks to find the best sales on this huge shopping day. Put on your most comfortable pair of shoes, hire a babysitter, pack a snack and an energy drink and be prepared to save some serious money on Black Friday.

Watch out for deal busters

"The biggest way to save money on Black Friday is to have a plan and know exactly what you're looking for," says Alicia, who suggests you check the ads and map out which stores you want to hit, and in what order. "The stores offer very limited quantities of their "deal busters" to lure you in. Grab them and be on your way," she says. Avoid the temptation of purchasing other non-sale items.

Buying the big ticket items

Before you splurge on a big ticket item on Black Friday, Alicia says to go to www.pricegrabber.com to compare the original price with the sale price. Overall, however, she says you can find great Black Friday deals on flat screen TV's, computers, video game consoles, cameras, washers & dryers, vacuums, grills, kitchen appliances, tools and luggage.

"Clothes can also be a great deal, especially at places like outlet malls," says Alicia. "The Ralph Lauren outlet offers amazing deals starting at midnight Thanksgiving night (early black Friday morning). If you're willing to stay up all night, you can get a variety of great deals."

What is the best way to find out about Black Friday sales?

Alicia says the best way to find out about Black Friday sales is online. "One of my favorite sites is www.black-friday.net which releases the Black Friday ads before anyone else. They already have many of the 2010 ads out." For those not in the know, they have to wait until Thanksgiving to see the ads.

Black Friday sales on kids toys and games

Black-Friday.net has the lowdown on all the deals on kids toys and games from top retailers like Toys R Us, WalMart, KB Toys and more. You can find amazing savings on everything from Barbie and Leapfrog to Playskool toys and Transformers. You can also enter your email address and they will email you when new toys and games are added.

Are the best deals in-store or online?

"The best deals are definitely in the stores. People who are willing to wake up extra early and fight the crowds are rewarded," says Alicia.

Be prepared to set your alarm very early! Kohl's opens at 3 am, while Macy's and Sears will let you sleep an hour later, with an open time of 4 am.

"If you'd rather shop online, the best deals are typically on Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) when everyone is shopping when they should be working," she says. What? Who would do that? Not me!

Bonus money saving tip: "If you do shop online, don't forget to go through www.ebates.com which puts a percentage of whatever you buy into an account that mails you a check twice a year. This percentage off is in addition to any sales and/or promotional codes."

Use credit cards wisely

Follow the advice of jolly ole' St. Nick and make a list and check it twice. "Make a list and stick to it. Know who you want to buy for and what you want to buy and you'll save a lot of money. Bring a calculator so you can figure out exactly how much 40% off will cost in the end."

Don't forget to save your receipts and ask for gift receipts – "Just in case the item goes on sale even more before the holidays, you can get the difference back."

Read more about shopping on Black Friday:

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