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Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and retailers everywhere are soon going to offer their best deals to attract as many customers as possible — or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But in reality, not all the deals you see are actually good ones.

Sometimes, companies inflate the “original” price to make the sale price seem more desirable. And the sense of urgency Black Friday creates stops some shoppers from looking closer to realize this. But there are actually some easy ways to tell if you’re getting a good deal or not. Here are two of them.

1. Go scouting before Black Friday

If you plan to shop locally, it’s a good idea to do a scouting mission or two in advance. Note the items you’re interested in buying and what their regular prices are right now. Write this information down so you can compare it to the listed prices you find on Black Friday.

If the sale price isn’t significantly different from the original price, you may choose to hold off on buying it. Or you could compare prices at other retailers to see if you can find a better deal elsewhere.

2. Use a price tracking tool

Another option is to hop on a price tracker tool or app to see how prices have changed on the items you’re interested in over time. There are plenty of options out there, including Google Shopping, Keepa, and CamelCamelCamel.

They all work similarly. You search the item you’re interested in and save it to the app or tool. Then, you’ll get notifications of price drops. You’ll also be able to view the item’s historical price data.

Use this information to your advantage when you go Black Friday shopping. Compare the store’s sale price to the price data in your app to see how much you’re actually saving.

What to do if the Black Friday deals aren’t great

Don’t feel pressured to buy something just because it’s Black Friday or because the holidays are coming up. If you aren’t able to find real savings on your wishlist items, try another day. Cyber Monday is also coming up, and it may offer better deals than Black Friday.

You may also be able to find better deals throughout December. Many retailers still run specials during this time. And if you can find a coupon or two, you might be able to save more than you could on Black Friday.

No matter when or how you shop, try to keep your budget in mind and avoid buying things that weren’t on your list. Staying patient and being flexible will help you find the things you want without straining your bank account.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Kailey Hagen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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