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Smart Spending: How to do Black Friday week right

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012
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— SPREAD OUT THE SHOPPING: The hoopla isn't just limited to Black Friday anymore. It's further creeping into Thanksgiving, which falls on Nov. 22. But what's new this year is that a number of stores are now allowing shoppers to actually buy the early-bird specials even earlier in the week.

Macy's, Kohl's Co. and Best Buy Co. will open again at midnight following Thanksgiving. For the first time, department store chain Lord & Taylor is opening on Thanksgiving, starting at 10 a.m. New this year at Kohl's: Its online shoppers will be able to buy all early-morning specials on Nov. 21, and like last year all day on Thanksgiving.

Sears Holdings Corp. said its Sears stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will stay open overnight until 10 p.m. Friday. For the first time, Sears will allow members of its free loyalty club called Shop Your Way to buy some of the early-bird specials online as early as Sunday, Nov. 18.

Wal-Mart will start its first Black Friday sale at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year. It then will have two more rounds of sales events, including a 10 p.m. sale on electronics and another sale at 5 a.m.

Wal-Mart is also guaranteeing shoppers that it will have three of the most popular items if they are in line inside the store between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The three: an Apple iPad 2 for with Wi-Fi plus a $75 Wal-Mart gift card for $399; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148 and an LG Blu-ray player for $38.

—USE YOUR SMARTPHONE OR TABLET: For the first time, Macy's, through a partnership with eBay, has a Black Friday app that will let customers browse and shop for specials specific to the local store. Starting Nov. 15, customers will be able to view Black Friday specials on their mobile devices and create personal shopping lists they can edit and share.

Starting Nov. 19, Wal-Mart will again have a Black Friday local store map available to view and print on Walmart.com and its local Wal-Mart Facebook pages. But this year, customers can view an interactive local store map on the Wal-Mart mobile app and click on items to see the price, product description and location in the store.

— KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS: With a growing number of stores like Target Corp. offering price matching with certain online rivals like Amazon.com, you may find a better deal later and will have an easier time returning the more expensive item.

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