Laura T. Coffey writes: For years now -- decades, even -- a Thanksgiving tradition for die-hard bargain hounds has been to nab a big, fat copy of the local Thanksgiving Day newspaper and pore over all the Black Friday ads. That’s still an important thing to do if you’ve been bitten by the Black Friday bug -- but, of course, the times they are a-changin’.
These days, you’re bound to lose out if you don’t supplement your newspaper-based strategizing with at least some cyber research. Plenty of websites out there are scouring for screaming deals and posting leaked copies of one-time offers. Doing at least some Internet research can put you far ahead of the masses roaming malls and discount retailers in Friday’s wee hours -- so far, in fact, that you may decide to place all your Black Friday orders online and stay home.
At the very least, take a moment on Thursday afternoon or evening to visit the sites of your favorite retailers. Many are sneak-peeking their Black Friday offers and sharing valuable online coupons that can be used in-store on the big day.
In addition to visiting retailers’ sites, it’s also worth checking out some other sites that have been focusing on Black Friday in a big way. Here are five websites that are worth your time after you’ve devoured your turkey dinner:
1. If you have even the slightest inkling that you may want to buy a computer, cell phone, digital camera, appliance, gaming console or other piece of home electronics equipment on Black Friday, Gizmodo’s Ultimate Black Friday 2010 Cheat Sheet is simply amazing. Be sure to check it out before you shop!
2. TheDealmap is a great site to know about year-round because it allows you to search for deals, coupons and discounts by geographic area. It’s stepped its efforts for Black Friday by allowing you to search specifically for Black Friday deals near you, and also by offering a way-cool app that’s free for iPhone and Android phones. Armed with that app on Friday morning, you’ll be able to find deals closest to you thanks to your phone’s GPS.
3. BlackFriday2010.com is just plain cool. It features leaked Black Friday ads and hand-picked deals that are absolutely worth checking out, and it also offers e-mail alerts and a helpful iPhone app.
4. Remember that you can access Twitter in a customized way to find Black Friday deals and promotions from many retailers. If you use TweetDeck, you can create a search that will alert you about tweets you’re likely to care about. For instance, you can search for “Sony Blu-Ray” and “deal” or “Garmin” and “Black Friday.”
5. ConsumerWorld.org is another site that’s worth visiting year-round, and its Black Friday tips page is definitely worth a gander at this time of year. The site points out how to be a Black Friday early-early bird: Toys R Us opens at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, for crying out loud, and Walmart opens at 12:01 a.m. Friday (although electronics won’t go on sale until 5 a.m.). This same Black Friday page also highlights “doorbuster” deals and coupons for 2010.
Again, your Turkey Day surfing may inspire you to order online and stay home -- or it may motivate you more than ever to set your alarm clock for 3 a.m. If you do decide to brave the crowds at the stores on Friday, be sure to bone up on the best Black Friday apps for your phone here, and also read this “10 Tips for Keeping Your Money in Your Wallet” column before you go. I wrote it a few years back, but the overall tips still apply!