By now, lots of you during the wee hours of this morning have battled the crowds for your holiday shopping deals.


Getty Images / Yana Paskova
Getty Images / Yana Paskova

A couple of years ago I posted some tips to prep for your holidays shopping.  The suggestions hold true for your 2016 spree.

If you haven't completed or started your holiday shopping, here's some good advice I gathered from consumer experts.

1.  Do your preparation.  Get today's newspaper or go on-line and check out the ads.

Compare prices and go for the best deals.

2.  Sign up for e-mail alerts.  "Consumer Reports" says most retailers will give you a heads up for upcoming promotions and may have some money saving coupons on their website.

3.  Browse the web first.  Instead of fighting the crowds later this week, do your "homework" on-line.  Many retailers offer the same deals on-line that they're offering in their brick and mortar stores with free shipping.

4.  Check out social media.  "Consumer Reports" suggests visiting retailer's Facebook and Twitter pages for special incentives and discounts.

5.  Have your smartphone handy.  It's a good idea to have your phone loaded with comparison-shopping apps such as ShopSavvy, ShopKick, and RedLaser.  These and similar apps can let you compare prices while you're in the store.  If the app says the same item is selling for less at another store, show it to the manager.  There's a good chance you'll get that item for a lower price.

6.  Stick to a budget.  Set a spending limit.  If a store is sold out of an advertised item, don't buy something similar that's more expensive. (see number 10)

7.  Try to get a price match guarantee.  If you see the store discounted your item after you bought it, see if they will refund the difference.

8.  Read the warranty.  Sometimes on special promotions and during the holidays certain brands cut back on their warranties.  Beware of very short term warranties.  Also check on  parts, repair, and replacement provisions.

9.  Get what you really want.  Don't get a marked down 30 inch standard HD TV if you really want a 60 inch ultra hi def TV.  Don't have regrets later on.

10.  Don't fall for bait and switch deals.  When you walk into a store for an advertised sale item that's "out of stock", don't purchase the more expensive in-stock item.  "Consumer Reports" recommends that you get that good deal at another store.

Of course, this coming Monday is cyber Monday.  Chances are you'll get a better deals on your laptop than in a "mortar and brick" store, and with much less hustle.

That's why in the not too distant future, Black Friday may exist only in history books.

No matter how or when you shop, I hope you get some great deals.


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