Black Friday 2015 deals: a shopper's guide

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Thanksgiving weekend sales in 2014 apparently plummeted by a total of 11 percent compared to 2013’s figures, and that might be why retailers have been upping their game in terms of deals they can offer, as well as shopping comfort and ease.

Stores including Macy’s, Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us will be following last year’s lead of being open for business on Thanksgiving. These stores are also offering extended shopping hours to people who would want to get their Black Friday fix early. Both Macy’s and Sears will be open from 6pm on Thanksgiving until next day’s 10pm while Toys “R” Us will be open from 5pm on Thanksgiving up until 11pm the day after for Black Friday.

If some establishments are starting a bit early on offering deals, some have opted to stretch their promo periods all the way to the week of Christmas instead as Black Friday signals the start of the shopping season for the American market in preparation for the holidays.

BlackFriday.com is a website dedicated to help consumers find the best deals without having to muddle through the Black Friday crowd. According to National Retail Federation, an estimated 134 million shoppers came out on Thanksgiving, 87 million of those shopped during Black Friday itself.

Spokesperson Melissa Martin was quoted as saying: “From the ads we have we are seeing sales that go all the way to the week of Christmas. Of course, you can’t beat those doorbuster deals but some stores are also offering those doorbusters deals on-line.” Checking the site gives consumers the option to plan ahead and pick out which deals they would like to get.

“I am a shopper myself. That is why it was my top priority to put together the holiday shopping guide. With the guide, (the Blackfriday.com) mobile app and wish list, consumers should be set,” added Martin.

Here are some tips compiled by BlackFriday.com to help shoppers make the most of their time and money throughout the holiday season.

First, it is highly suggested to plan ahead and make a list of what the household needs to buy. With the numerous leaks of price lists from retailers, it is easier to browse through them online at home than try and work it all out with an actual visit to the stores.

Second, maximize the use of coupons as they are also all over the web. A few clicks can spell the difference between a full priced buy and a 50% off deal.

Third, many stores are offering free shipping during the holiday season. Whether with a minimum purchase or not, shipping expenses can also pile up, especially if buyers are going to do a lot of shopping online.