How to get the best deals on Black Friday

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- If you plan on shopping during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday weekend, keep in mind that all deals aren't created equal, so you have to do a little homework to find the best bargains.

First of all, if you've ever thought to yourself, "that looks like the same sale from last year," you're absolutely correct. A new study from Wallet Hub shows lots of stores offer repeat deals.

In fact, the research showed 11 percent of all the 2015 deals are recycled from 2014.

Stores and Percentage Offers Not New

  1. Big Lots-16.4%
  2. Costco-16.3%
  3. Best Buy-14.6%

Stores closer to bottom of list (fewer repeat deals)

  • Amazon-10.2%
  • Kohl's-9.4%
  • Target-9.4%
  • WalMart-7.9%
  • JCPenney-5.3%
  • Staples-5.1%

How to find the best deal:

  • Plan ahead- Veteran Black Friday shoppers know planning starts weeks in advance. They scoured ads as soon as they were released. This includes mapping out strategies for where and when you plan to shop, along with comparison pricing, creating a list and a budget.
  • Download store ads- The ads will show you what's on sale and when. Some sales are staggered. Also, most importantly, many ads include store maps. The maps will reveal locations for certain items. BFADS.net is a good source for ad releases. It also posts updates on when sales go live early.
  • Check store hours and deal times- As mentioned above, some sales are staggered. Also, for stores opening on Thanksgiving, find out if the store will open, then close and re-open again. Some stores that are 24 hours might not close, but will only run Black Friday specials during certain hours on Thursday and Friday. Ben's Bargains created a list of the Best In-Store Deals and notes the date of the sale.
  • Learn store policy on deals, hot items, etc.- Figuring out the store policy is key. For example, will your favorite store hand out tickets to people in line? Walmart is doing its One Hour Guarantee again on certain items.
  • Forget the lines and shop online- While Cyber Monday is still popular, many Black Friday sales will go live online before the stores open. If you want to avoid the crowds, this might be the best option. Also, many stores began running online specials at the beginning of the week.
  • Use coupons, cash back- Black Friday is supposed to mean bargains on its own, but why not double dip? If you can use a coupon or code on an item, this will mean additional savings. Check out Ways to Hack Your Black Friday from Rather-Be-Shopping. Also, sites like Fat Wallet offer cash back if you shop online through its site.
  • Wait- Last year, lots of deals started early and ran through December. If you're not into the whole frenzy, there's a chance you will still be able to find plenty of bargains through the remainder of the holiday season.
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