CHICAGO - Black Friday is just over two weeks away, so get ready to be bombarded by one big sale after another.
"Basically, after Halloween is over, expect major stores to start promoting early bird Black Friday sales," said consumer finance expert Andrea Woroch.
That’s why Woroch says now is the time to start tracking the prices of those gifts on your holiday list.
"Some of the sales that you see in early November, they will be really low and then they’ll go back up. Then they may drop again. That’s typically the pattern that I’ve seen in years past," Woroch said.
"Both of these tools will let you know if the current price that you see on sale is the lowest it’s been or if it’s actually been cheaper in previous months and that might tell you, ‘ok, I’ll wait until it goes on sale further,’" Woroch said.
Each of these sites also has a tool to help make tracking sale prices even easier.
"These are things that will alert you when something goes on sale. You can add your coveted holiday shopping items to these lists and then they’ll alert you when it goes on sale," Woroch said. "So this kind of takes the work out of tracking prices on a daily basis because who has time for that? This also ensures you don’t miss out on a cheaper price when it drops for a limited time."
"Not all Black Friday deals are great deals. Many aren’t, in fact," said Brian Martucci, finance editor at MoneyCrashers.com.
In addition to tracking sale prices, Martucci says it’s also important to use coupon apps.
"That can cut your out-of-pocket cost by 10, 20, 30, 40% sometimes depending on what you are buying," Martucci said. "Generally the deals are better with lesser known brands. Still very useful if you have a varied shopping list."
You also might not get the Black Friday deal without the coupon. There are also a few online tools out there that take some of the work out of looking for coupons.
"You can download a tool called Cently to your browser," Woroch said. "This tool will automatically search for coupons and apply them to your order automatically. So they’ll find the deepest discount that will work for your online order and just add that for you."
"This is another browser tool that will automatically compare prices for you. This might show you a website that is selling the same item for less that maybe you wouldn’t have thought to check."
"Another recommendation we have is to download retail shopping apps," Martucci said.
Martucci says most major retailers have pretty powerful apps for shoppers in their stores.
"That’s a great way to get a lot of information and compare prices that you are seeing," Martucci said.
Finally, do you know what a derivative deal is?
"During Black Friday, we see a lot of brands and manufacturers making products that may be derivatives of other models that were sold all year long, and they could be missing key components or made of inferior quality material. That way they can sell it for less without losing a lot of money," Woroch said.
For example, Woroch says that could be a TV that was made specifically for Black Friday, but it might not have all the features you want or need. She said in the end, you may wind up replacing it to get an upgraded model.
As always, if there is an item you really want and you're worried it might sell out, most experts recommend buying it early on. That’s as long as you have the cash to cover it.
If you do put it on a credit card, remember there is a bit of a grace period to pay it off before interest starts accruing.
So why are retailers launching Black Friday deals so early?
One of the experts we spoke with says starting right after Halloween just gives people a push to shop with retailers ultimately hoping they buy more during the holiday season.