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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.
This week’s episode starts with a discussion of NerdWallet’s holiday shopping survey, which shows that, on average, people plan to spend a bit more this year but also to do more shopping online.
Then we pivot to tips about how to get the best buys in this unusual shopping season, where Black Friday deals started in October and most major retailers won’t be open on Thanksgiving, reversing a recent trend.
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Big crowds are a health risk, so the annual deal-fest known as Black Friday looks different this year. Major retailers will be closed on Thanksgiving, which in recent years has been the day people would start lining up before dawn for doorbuster deals. Instead, retailers expect a lot of shopping to be online. Stores also started rolling out the deals much earlier than usual, starting with Amazon's Prime Day in October. But Black Friday and Cyber Monday will still bring big discounts on the usual categories, including televisions, gaming consoles, smart phones, appliances and more.
Another difference is that many stores are announcing their deals ahead of time and even laying out schedules of what will be on sale when. That makes planning your shopping a lot easier. Consider signing up for your favorite retailers' newsletters to get the scoop, or check out NerdWallet’s .
Making a list of what you’ll buy and when can help you stay within your budget, but keep tracking prices on the items you've bought. Many retailers offer price match guarantees if you find the same thing at a lower price.
Black Friday is still a thing. The deals started in October, but there will still be sales, so it's a good time to get your shopping done before the holidays.
Get ready. Set up online accounts with your favorite retailers, line up your coupons and know how to access the retailer’s customer service in case you want to ask for a price match.
Shop early to make sure all of your holiday gifts arrive on time. Parcel delivery services and the Postal Service are struggling to keep up with the boom in online shopping.
More about Black Friday on NerdWallet: