NEW YORK – The day after Thanksgiving has been given some bleak nicknames, including "Black Friday" and "The Worst Shopping Day of The Year."
But consumers can take comfort in the fact that they don't necessarily have to drag their turkey-stuffed bodies out of bed at 5 a.m. just to gain some quality mall time. It's easy to get a jump on gift buying by logging on the Internet, where e-tailers offering holiday shopping specials have already started promotions.
To find the best deals online:
-- Sign up to be part of mailing lists at your favorite retailers, either in the store or online. Many stores reserve special holiday promotions for customers on the lists.
-- Visit the Web sites of favorite mall stops and stores you already shop at. Internet promotions are typically advertised prominently, either in pop-up ads or on the site's main page.
-- Review coupons you receive in-store. There may be mention of added deals or promotions online. These can be especially useful if the store doesn't have an item you're looking for.
-- Comparison shop. Don't just buy the first item you see online. Visit the Web sites of several retailers and perform an Internet search for the item in question. Before you buy, factor in shipping costs, taxes and retailer reputation. Be sure to note when the item is scheduled to ship so you'll know when you can expect it.