10 Black Friday Shopping Secrets From Pros

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In addition to writing my own content, I contribute to money-saving articles written by top talent in the smart shopping, beauty, and personal finance space. The post below from USNews.com is the latest!

Written by Andrea Woroch

Discover all the Black Friday shopping strategies and savings tips you need to snag the best steals and deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In a few weeks, millions of Americans will gather around their dining table to enjoy a turkey feast and get a head start on searching for holiday bargains. And though some people scoff at the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving, it’s clear the annual bargain bonanza remains popular with shoppers across the country. In fact, last year U.S. retailers raked in $7.9 billion in sales during Black Friday and Thanksgiving, an increase of nearly 18 percent from 2016, according to Adobe Analytics, which analyzed transactions at the 100 largest U.S. web retailers. And this year is expected to be even bigger.

Discover all the Black Friday shopping strategies and savings tips you need to snag the best steals and deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #blackfriday #cybermonday #shoppingtips #shoppingsecrets #dealsandsteals

Whether you’re a seasoned Black Friday deal hunter or you’re new to the bargain madness, don’t attempt to shop without a plan. Scoring the best sales and discounts of the season requires forward planning and a thoughtful strategy. To shop smart, use this list of tips and tricks from pros, and make the most of Black Friday.

Research original prices

A store’s Black Friday promotions may trick you into believing you’re saving big bucks. However, retailers have been known to inflate the original price to make a holiday deal look like a better value.

“Scope out a few products you want to buy at several different sites a few weeks in advance of Black Friday and take note of what those prices are at each store or if they were already on sale,” says Stacy Caprio, founder and blogger at DealsScoop.com. This will give you a baseline for when Black Friday hits, so you won’t be suckered into a misleading deal.

Meanwhile, Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com, suggests using RankTracer.com to review pricing data for thousands of products sold on Amazon. That way, you can get a better idea of an item’s lowest selling price to compare with what’s being offered on Black Friday.

Purchase discount gift cards

Once you know which stores you want to hit, you can sweeten your Black Friday savings by purchasing discount gift cards ahead of time. Sites such as GiftCardGranny.com sell gift cards for less than face value with savings of up to 25 percent off to popular stores such as Macy’s, Target and Kohl’s, Bodge says. This is an easy way to save more at stores that won’t accept coupons or on doorbuster deals, she adds. “If you buy a discounted gift card for 10 percent off, you automatically save an extra 10 percent on your purchase.”

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Smart Shopping Expert

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist, TV presenter, spokesperson, and educator, specializing in beauty, tech, apps, toys, gift guides, and smart shopping. She has appeared as an expert on dozens of TV shows and radio networks, including Today, Rachael Ray Show, Inside Edition, CNN, Reuters, CNBC.com, Sirius Radio, and numerous FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. Trae has been featured as a beauty tastemaker in Elle, Redbook, InStyle, and Essence, and her work has appeared on Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch, USNews.com, Credit.com, CBSNews.com, Time.com.

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