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Black Friday as we knew it for years has changed. The days of having to go out at midnight to get a good deal are practically over, as many stores have started opening on Thanksgiving Day and others wait until normal business hours the day after.  Nonetheless, shoppers continue to take advantage of some of the lowest prices of the year.

Keep reading to find out how you can get a jump start on saving money this holiday season.

Make a list and set a budget. Before you walk in to that store or click that “add to cart” button, set a budget and know what you are setting out to purchase. I know that $6 plastic ware set that all department stores carry sounds tempting, but how many do you have in your cabinet already? Sticking to your budget should be #1 in your shopping plan.

Shop early and online. Most deals will go live at midnight on Thanksgiving day. I shop my favorite retailers when the sales go live online. Not only will this save you time, but you can also take advantage of cash back websites, like Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and RetailMeNot. Coupon codes can also be found on these websites. You can also find Pre-Black Friday deals starting the week of Thanksgiving.

*Super Saver Tip: Be sure and check the time zone for when the sales go live and shop accordingly.

Gather those sales ads. No longer get the local paper? That’s okay, because you can find sales ads on retailers’ websites and apps. Make a list of the items that you need and check the ads for where to shop. Always purchase the items with the biggest savings first or you might find it out of stock. You can also find a map of the sales in most store ads, so you will know exactly where to go.

Have your phone charged and ready when shopping in-store. As I shop and find deals that I may not have planned for, I always do a simple search on my favorite search engine to see the current price elsewhere.It may seem like a great deal, but you might pay less for an everyday online price. You can also check to find price history from Amazon.

Check last year’s Cyber Monday and Black Friday pricing. You can find last year’s sales by searching online. This will help you compare current prices to previous Black Friday prices.  My favorite site for this is

Here are some other quick tips to save money this season:

  • Always look for coupons. My favorite place to find coupons whether I am shopping online or in store is RetailMeNot.
  • Sign up for the retailer’s newsletter or download their app for coupons and reward programs.
  • Look through your wallet for old gift cards.
  • Are you a student, veteran, senior, or teacher? There are many discounts out there for you!
  • Check to see if your credit card offers price protection. This is a great feature that will refund the difference if an item goes on sale at a later time.
  • Make sure you know the return and price match policy before shopping.

Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday

Let’s not forget about our local businesses and non-profits. Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Southern Bancorp Community Partners is a great place to start for your Giving Tuesday donations.

Last tip! Be sure and check out my first blog post, Yes, YOU can be a Super Saver! for some basics in saving while shopping and tips for how you can save for next Christmas.