PORTLAND, Ore. - "Black Friday" isn't just a one-day event anymore.
For Sally Folkestad, it started October 14th with a picture of her kids, Cameron and Maia, and what they want to see under the tree. "They go through the pictures when they get home and start writing up a list," she says. These lists give Sally and Santa focus, and lets them track the items for Black Friday.
So what are her tips and tricks?
Step One: Make a list.
Step Two: Track the prices. You can go to websites like bradsdeals.com and dealnews.com and sign up to get the newest Black Friday ads in your inbox. Plus, you can set up a custom alert. We tested it by setting up an alert for tablets. Sure enough, we started getting automatic notifications on tablet prices at different stores. Sally also uses various Black Friday phone apps. "I think we'll let Santa know where he can locate some things if he hasn't been able to create them on his own."
Step Three: Review those prices. You can try dealnews.com to get analysis on those Black Friday ads to see if those prices are really a good deal. At bfads.net, you can find what other shoppers think about the ad prices.
Step Four: Research the items. Besides comparing the prices, make sure you're getting what you pay for. Read reviews to decide whether you and Santa really want to get it.
The trick for Sally is to think ahead, "the earlier I can plan, the better off I am and the more fun our family has as a result of it."