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Black Friday is just around the corner and soon retailers will be opening their doors before dawn for the millions of Americans eager to score this year’s top products at bargain prices. But I won’t be one of them.

Yes, I know there are a lot of great deals on Black Friday. But waking up before dawn and dealing with long lines and hectic shopping experiences really isn’t for me. Here’s what I do to save on holiday gifts instead.

I keep an eye out for deals before and after Black Friday

Black Friday might be the best-known holiday shopping day, but it’s not the only time retailers run sales or offer coupons. Rather than wait until Black Friday, I keep an eye out for great prices starting in late October or early November.

If you shop at specific retailers often or you know only one company makes the product you want, it’s a good idea to sign up for their mailing list. Yes, it means you’ll probably get a lot of email spam you may not care about. But you might also get coupons or advance warning of upcoming sales that someone who doesn’t subscribe wouldn’t.

I shop online

Cyber Monday has become a pretty big deal in its own right, and that’s a little more my speed. You still have to act fast to get the best deals. But I can log on and peruse what’s available on my own time from the comfort of my home. And I don’t have to wait in any lines either.

Plus, when you’re shopping online, it’s easier to compare prices between retailers. There are even special price tracking apps, like Google Shopping and Keepa, that can help you monitor price changes over time to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

I use credit card rewards

I don’t spend a lot on non-essentials throughout the year, so I have a tendency to rack up credit card rewards and not have any definite plans for how to use them. But around this time of year, that works in my favor. I can put my rewards toward gift cards, which I could use to buy presents or give as gifts themselves. Or I just put my cash back toward my monthly balance to reduce my out-of-pocket costs.

I know none of these tips are going to dissuade some of you from setting out bright and early on Black Friday, and that’s OK. I wish you a good shopping trip. But if you’re not all that excited about hitting the stores, consider staying home this year. There are still plenty of ways to get the products you want at a price your bank account can accommodate.

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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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