Shoppers waiting hours before the doors open at Roseville's Westfield Galleria.
SACRAMENTO - Ten days. That's how long you have until the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, also known as Black Friday.
It won't be long before shoppers will be camped outside of stores waiting for the doors to open, essentially dropping the green flag for bargain hunters to race to the shelves for the best deals of the year.
So, how can Black Friday shoppers plan for a successful run?
Consumer Reports offers up a few different tips.
Do your homework: The first is to study the ads before Black Friday. By now, many of the major retailers have released their Black Friday in-store specials, and there are websites dedicated to making sure you are getting the best deal. They include blackfriday.info, theblackfriday.com, and gottadeal.com.
Scout the landscape ahead of time: Shop online first. You may not even need to leave the comforts of your home and your family on Black Friday. Check to see if the retailer is offering the same or even better deals on its website.
Get info directly from the source: Sign up for email alerts from retailers. These alerts will let you know about upcoming promotions and to receive coupons or discounts.
Create a budget and stick to it: This will help you resist impulse buying. And make sure Black Friday is the only day the retailer is offering the deals. Some are pushing it back to Thursday.
Consumer Reports also offers a final word of warning. Make sure you check store return policies and the warranty of a product you plan to purchase. Even major brands offer special 'derivative' models during promotional periods including Black Friday, and that may limit or change the standard warranty.