Thanksgiving or Black Friday - shop with a plan


Stores are opening earlier on Thanksgiving Day. But does that mean you won't find door buster deals traditionally held for Black Friday? Retailers are already giving shoppers a sneak peek at some of the deals.

Stores like Target have already released the deals you'll find on Black Friday AND be open an hour earlier on Thanksgiving, matching many retailers pushing back the start times for those door buster deals.

It's a game changer for bargain hunters who, in years past, camped out for savings while waiting for the doors to open the day after Thanksgiving.

In recent years, retailers decided to open Thanksgiving Day, with most opening in the evening.  But a few stores are now opening Thanksgiving morning.  So what does that mean for those traditionalists holding out until Friday?

"If they're looking for general things like a great deal on pajamas or kids clothes,  I think you will still find the deals on Black Friday," said Cheri Lowe, the Queen of Free. "That stuff is not wiped out and sometimes stores replenish that stock.  I think you'll still find some good deals.  I don't think you'll find those hot ticket items that people are dying for, because those probably will get snapped up earlier in the day on Thursday."

Crowds will likely be larger on Thanksgiving night, if you venture out.  And that's probably when the big ticket, most-sought-after items will go on sale.

Are you shopping for toys or towels? Knowing exactly what you're looking for is one very important part of your plan of action to shop on Black Friday.

Today, Toys R Us officially releases its preview of Black Friday deals. Other retailers have already done the same. Even if they haven't gone public, you can find their sales if you know where to look.

And knowing who has what and when they are open is key to successful shopping.  And while you're making that list, think 'practical.'

"It's the best time of year to buy things like towels," said Lowe. "You'll find $2 at Target, $1.74 towels at Walmart.  Crock pots are really inexpensive.  Not things like flat screens, although Wal-Mart has a $98, 32-inch flat screen which will be a fantastic deal and high demand."

Shopping in general on Black Friday, with no idea what you're looking for, will likely end up with you coming home empty-handed.

If you don't have a plan before you leave home.  So do your homework.  Know store hours. Shop with cash so you won't overspend.  And take a friend with you.

If you're not into crowds, Amazon is expected to go toe-to-toe with retailers on Black Friday. So you could stay at home and you may get the same deals online without changing out of your pajamas.