With stores around the nation trying to lure holiday shoppers earlier, some on Thanksgiving morning, some with sales that have been going on all week, it's hard to figure out how to find the best deals. Bargains will keep coming in over the next several days, especially on Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year known as "Black Friday."
So how can you divide the bargains from the busts?
Many people have turned to applications for their smartphones, such as Black Friday by BradsDeals or the Black Friday app from FatWallet.com. Such apps offer to hand pick the best bargains, and keep you informed when stores "leak" the news of the deals they plan to offer.
TGI Black Friday offers the same service for both iPhones and Android powered phones, and lets you search for specific deals and stores, such as cell phones at NewEgg.
Another popular source of information are the cornucopia of websites that gather up Black Friday bargains. The familiar deals website like FatWallet are always a good source, but Black Friday specific sites such as BFads.com and Black-Friday.net may be more tailored sources of information.
But be careful with those sites. The FBI has warned about new scams targeting shoppers, including what they call "smishing" and "vishing" scams. “Smishing” -- a combination of SMS texting and phishing -- and “Vishing” -- voice and phishing both involve messages that try to lure you into giving away personal information, such as bank account numbers or credit card numbers.
The other option is social media, of course. Facebook's recently unveiled Places feature, for example, is another source of deals: A number of retailers are offering check-in deals on the service, such as Toys 'R Us, which is giving people 15% off a future purchase following a check-in. Or retailer H&M, which is giving 20% off purchases and $1 per check-in to UNICEF.
If you 're looking for gadgets, gizmos, and other technology items this Thanksgiving, avoid the tailored scam sites and the convoluted apps and feast your eyes instead on the massive compendium created by the gadget fanatics at Gizmodo.com. Called The Ultimate Black Friday 2010 Cheat Sheet, the site has collated and rated (and even color-coded) all of the best deals on the Internet, even going so far as to break them down into categories, such as Computing and Peripherals or Home Entertainment.
Looking for a flat screen TV, for example? A 55-inch 120Hz Samsung LED HDTV that usually sells for $2,000 is $500 off at BestBuy, the site notes. And a 32-inch Samsung LCD HDTV is just $328 at Walmart, down from its usual selling price of nearly $400.
From the world of portables and peripherals, the Barnes & Noble NOOK is $50 off, a steal at $100, Gizmodo notes. And the Garmin nuvi 1450T is $150 at Radio Shack -- the same device that usually sells for $240 at Sears.
For all the best deals, keep an eye on Gizmodo -- and happy shopping!