smart spending

The best things to buy on Black Friday

Skip Black Friday and still save
Skip Black Friday and still save

Consumer Reports' Tod Marks is skeptical of Black Friday savings. Retailers work hard to create a sense of urgency in consumers' minds, he says.

"Electronics have proven themselves to be a great loss leader to get (shoppers) to come into the store," he says.

Marks recommends that consumers use the Internet to compare deals and to find stores that will match prices -- although some retailers only match brick-and-mortar competitors and suspend their practice during Black Friday.

"You can find out what a good price is and decide whether it's worth it to battle the long lines, traffic and crowds to pick up some bargains," he says.

Shoppers should also sign up for email newsletters or mobile alerts offered by stores they frequent to get word about the best deals.

Marks says that retailers are controlling inventory more efficiently than ever, so popular items may sell out. If there's a must-have item on your list, better buy it early -- especially if it's a specific color or size.

But don't feel pressured if you would rather stay in bed sleeping off a turkey hangover Nov. 29. "If you miss one sale, there will be another that will surely follow," he says.

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