How to make the best out of Black Friday

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Black Friday is no longer just one day. Stores are opening on Thanksgiving, sales are stacking up way before we're stuffed with turkey and mashed potatoes.

The cost of cutting hair is taking a cut. That is if you're willing to drive in or call Alexander's of Annapolis on Black Friday. Only four hours a year for this sale.

Alexander Westmoreland, the owner of Alexander's says "we will not offer that at any other time.  We offer this on Black Friday only." 

Between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. all gift cards are 20% off. So if you're like Carol Donaldson, you're thinking of buying hair care for a year on Black Friday.

"Twenty percent is a lot of money nowadays," Donaldson says.

The once a year deal started five years ago, and it's popularity has doubled, but what about those ads you and I get in the mail?

The door buster sweaters and blockbuster electronics. Over the years, we watched the line around Walmart grow. It's tradition for many shoppers, but is it really a savings?

Angie Barnett with the Better Business Bureau says "you just have to be smart by doing your homework first." 

That homework starts at the computer where Barnett says shopping online can often bring more bargains.

"A website such as decide.com will give you the history of the pricing over a period of years so you can see that typically over the past few years their prices went up or down at certain months of the year," she says.

Go on pricespider.com and you can put in an item and see who has the best price. Amazon.com comes up for many big ticket items, a different pace from standing in line overnight.

ABC 2 News Reporter Cheryl Conner spend the day shopping and says, "here's my two cents.  Just a few days before Black Friday, I got an e-mail from one of my favorite stores at Annapolis Mall.  40% off even clearance items, so I'll be right back with the latest bargain."  Cheryl says "I know I'm a sucker for sales, but $85 for a dress.  It was marked down, then take 40% off that, $19.  I don't know if I could do much better on Thursday." 

More and more stores have committed to opening hours **before** Black Friday. Kristen Lagrossa has the fine perspective of working in children's retail.

"One thing that carter's has done in the past is their entire store is 50% off.  But we've had that the entire week before Black Friday.  So and then they just get their additional 10% off," said Kristen.

So depending on your idea of a bargain, the savings could all happen with making a phone call for a gift card or typing for those tempting savings days before and after Black Friday.

Here are some links to help you figure out where to buy an item at the cheapest price. 

Black Friday ads (click)

https://www.decide.com/

http://www.pricegrabber.com/

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