Special Report: Navigating Black Friday

Special Report: Navigating Black Friday

SALE CITY, GA (WALB) - As Thanksgiving approaches, there another big event that's on the minds on many folks this week: Black Friday shopping.

It's a tradition for many families, and lots of people enjoy finding door-buster deals.

But Black Friday has changed a lot in the last five years, with consumers and retailers putting a bigger emphasis online, and offering deals earlier every year.

The good news is you don't have to battle the crowds anymore to get good deals. You can find many of the same deals online.

Dillard's store manager David Pursley confirms they offer the same sales on their website.

"The online sales are going to be equivalent to what they will get here," says Store Manager David Pursley.

And Rather-Be-Shopping expert Kyle James says there are lots of advantages to shopping online.

You can do quick price comparisons on the computer. Also, many stores now have online chat operators who may offer shipping discount if you ask.

"You're going to find that four times out of five that they have a coupon code on their desk that they can turn around and give you," said James.

He says if you don't want to stand in line for hours for a deal on a big ticket item, you may find it the next day on eBay with only a small markup.

Often times, college students will go stand in line, then put an item on eBay the next morning.

"Basically you can take that Black Friday ad, search on eBay, and you're going to find an influx of those on eBay."

Check out some money saving ideas for those who insist on battling the crowds.

MORE: Get good Black Friday information here

In Sale City, Georgia a mom and daughter choose to search for the best sales every Black Friday.

They have gone shopping together on Black Friday for years.

And the two live by one very important motto:

"If it's not on sale, I usually don't buy it," said Alecia Miller.

These ladies say if you're going out, you need a Black Friday plan.

"When I go, I have a list," said Marie Lawrence.

Otherwise she says you might impulse buy things that aren't good deals, which is where retailers cash in.

"A lot of shoppers will end up buying things at full price, or close to full price," said James.

To save time on price comparisons, download an app on your phone. James says one app, called Red Laser, is helpful.

"It tells you not only the cheapest price in your town, but online," James explained.

Some apps also allow you to sign up for coupon alerts.

And unless it's a hot item that can't wait, experts warn to avoid buying children's toys on black Friday.

Often, better deals can be found around mid December.

But retailers are catering more to those folks who start shopping before black Friday. Amazon had Black Friday deals posted by Monday.

But for Miller and Lawrence, Black Friday is more than just about the deals.

"We kind of bonded more, just like I did when my mom and I would go," said Lawrence.

For more advice on Black Friday shopping and how to save money on everything, visit Kyle James' website He has lots of useful information. You can also sign up for coupon alerts.

This is a great website because you can click on deals tab, and click on the icon you're most interested in, like TVs, and you'll find all the deals on TVs at different stores. This also has a mobile app for your smart phone.

Stores that will be open Thanksgiving Day:

Deals to look for:

  • Laptops:
  • Tablets:
  • Kitchen appliances and home decor
  • Jewelry and wedding bands

Avoid these Black Friday "deals":

  • Exercise equipment: According to our expert, better deals are offered in January when gyms are pushing for people to get in shape.
  • Large appliances: Sales on name brand refrigerators and other items will be put out around September.
  • Christmas toys: Again our expert Kyle James says mid December, unless it’s a hot toy item, it’s better to wait closer to Christmas.
  • Tools and Hardware: Unless you really have to have it, our expert says better deals on tools have been offered on Father’s Day weekend than Black Friday.

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