Use these tips to find the best holiday deals for Black Friday and beyond

Websites, apps, social media can help you find the best deals

SAN ANTONIO – The barrage of holiday promotions and lure of special deals are enough to make a shopper’s head spin and bank account shrink. Using a few tools and shopping strategies can help reign in overspending and leave a little jingle in your pocket.

The first step to savvy shopping - do as Santa does. Make a list and check it twice. That includes creating a budget and sticking to it.

Nobody wants to find out that super-duper really wasn’t. So, it pays to prepare for Black Friday shopping and beyond.

“Do your homework,” said Octavio Blanco with Consumer Reports. “There’s lots of websites out there that can help you figure out what is on sale and when.”

Websites like www.blackfriday.com, www.dealnews.com, and www.bradsdeals.com scour the ads for you. Consumer Reports’ website www.consumerreports.org can be a helpful tool, too.

Of course, you want to compare prices. There are websites that you can use at home or apps you can use right there in the stores that make it fast and easy. Shopzilla, Google Shopping and Pricegrabber are just a few.

If you are going to shop a lot in one store, downloading their app may mean on-the-spot alerts for new sales while you shop.

And, don’t forget to get social.

“If you like a particular brand or retailer, make sure that you are following them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. These are all channels in which they are going to be advertising their latest sale," Blanco said.

If you’re shopping online, don’t forget to search for and use a promo code, too. A simple Google search can turn one up leading to a discount or free shipping.

Try using the chat feature to ask for available discounts. Abandoning your digital shopping cart for a while sometimes results in an emailed offer for a discount.

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