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Winning approach to Black Friday

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By The Associated Press
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

NEW YORK — Get ready for Black Friday week.

Stores are making a big push to lure in bargain-hungry shoppers before the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. They are putting on special sales that further creep into Turkey Day — and earlier.

“It's no longer Christmas creep. It's Christmas crush,” said Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm, referring to the bevy of Black Friday deals that shoppers will be able to buy earlier that week.

But don't get caught up in the shopping madness. A smart and measured approach to buying will preserve your holiday budget.

“You need to keep your wits about you,” said Jodi Furman, author of a blog called “You can't allow the urgency and overwhelming excitement to carry you away. “

Here's how to do Black Friday the smart way:

• Research, compare: With Thanksgiving two weeks away, you should start mapping out a strategy now. Make a list of what you want and how much you want to spend. Check out, which uses data to help you decide the best time to buy a certain product.

A bevy of websites already have posted stores' Black Friday deals. Check out sites like and the that list hours and circulars for the holiday weekend.

Brad Wilson, an online deal expert and founder of BradsDeals, thinks stores are staggering sales events throughout Black Friday week to create a “lot of noise” and make it difficult for smartphone-toting shoppers to compare prices.

A few years ago, it was easier to make “quick and imperfect decisions,” he said. “Now, the tables have turned and consumers have a transparent view of the landscape.”

• Use social media: Follow your favorite stores' Twitter feeds and click the “Like” button on their Facebook pages. Stores will use their social networks to update shoppers on deals and store hours, says Carey Rossi, editor-in-chief of

• Spread out the shopping: The hoopla isn't just limited to Black Friday anymore. It's further creeping into Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 22. But what's new this year is that a number of stores are allowing shoppers to buy the early-bird specials even earlier in the week.

• Use your smartphone or tablet: For the first time, Macy's, through a partnership with eBay, has a Black Friday app that will let customers browse and shop for specials specific to the local store. Starting Nov. 15, customers will be able to view Black Friday specials on their mobile devices and create personal shopping lists they can edit and share.

• Keep your receipts: With a growing number of stores like Target Corp. offering price matching with certain online rivals like, you may find a better deal later and will have an easier time returning the more expensive item.

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