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Deal or No Deal? Tips to Ensure Black Friday Savings

November 26, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year for retailers and bargain shoppers as Black Friday looms, offering what appear to be great deals on popular items.

"It's fun," Black Friday shopper Sabrina Shifflett said. "I go out with my mom and my aunt. We just have a good time and save money."

Local shoppers are getting ready to make sure they have a game plan.

"Sometimes my husband and I will go out for the spectacle of things," shopper Rachel Brozenske said. "There's a nice window between the super-early morning and the middle of the day around 8 a.m. where the stores are fairly empty."

But the deals may be deceiving. Many shoppers get caught up in discounts when they might not be saving much at all.

"I watch prices all the time so I know how much stuff costs and how much it should be on sale, what's a good price to be on sale," Shifflett said.

Experts say shoppers should check products' prices online to verify what the actual retail price should be.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently spoke about what stores do to lead the customers into thinking they're saving. For example, when shoppers see something that's 40 percent off, "vendors of all kinds will jack the price up and the 40 percent off is off an artificially inflated price," he said.

Experts say shoppers should try to find things that are 30 percent off or more. That could be a sign that you're getting a good deal. The so-called "30 Percent Rule" dictates stores expect to sell items at 30 percent off.

"Every once in a while, we'll have our eye on something specific that we'll pick up," Brozenske said.

But for some, seeing the deep discounts is enough to give in.

"I'm a marketer's dream," shopper Sally Armentrout said. "I convince myself that I do save, so once I see my receipt and I see some savings, it always makes me feel better."

Even with the bargains shoppers may or may not find, the average shopper is expected to spend more than $400 this holiday weekend.

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