Americans are expected to spend a good chunk of the estimated $1,175 in per-adult total holiday spending on Black Friday weekend, with 59% of shoppers (about 137 million people) descending on malls, shops and online retail sites.
"Black Friday remains one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with Americans planning to take advantage of aggressive in-store and digital promotions over the entire holiday weekend," says Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation. "Retailers know consumers are spreading out their holiday budgets to shop throughout the season. While there's no doubt of the incredible promotions offered during the weekend, the holiday shopping season is long and consumers will look for and expect great deals down to the very last minute."
Smart shoppers won't crack open their wallets and pocketbooks until they've budget-minded blueprint in hand to ensure they get the most bang from their holiday shopping buck.
To help build that blueprint, TheStreet has enlisted the help of top-shelf retail experts to find the best deals, and to find the best budget-savings tips in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Here's how that battle plan shapes up:
Compare prices: It's important to remember on Black Friday that "sale" price isn't always the "best" price, says Erin Warren, a smart shopping expert at Splender, a cash-back shopping site. "Some merchants may offer a sale price on an item for a limited time, while others discount the price on the same item every day," Warren says. "Having an item's manufacturer, model number and other identifying information can help you find the best price for the item you want." Warren also advises checking out websites that compare prices for items offered online. "Some websites also compare prices offered at stores in your area," she adds. "There are a number of different price comparison tools and websites such as PriceBlink, PriceGrabber and Invisible Hand. You can even use shopping apps like Bakado that allow you to scan the bar code of an item and compare the cost at local retailers and online. Apps like these make it easy to compare prices in seconds and help you decide whether you should arrange for a store pick up or have the item delivered."