Reporting Susan Koeppen
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Believe it or not, half of all Americans have already started their holiday shopping, but the big shopping day of the year – Black Friday – is just one week away.
The deals will be big, the crowds will be larger.
Americans plan to spend $586 billion this holiday season. And stores are doing what is takes to get you in the door. Toys ‘R US will be open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Ross Park Mall opens at midnight.
Here’s some tips on how to make the most of your Black Friday shopping:
Let’s start with PARKING.
Here’s an insider tip. If you “Like” the Mall at Robinson on its Facebook Page, you can win a VIP parking spot for Black Friday and a $250 gift card.
And shoppers at Ross Park Mall are encouraged to download the Simon Malls app.
It has some unique features, according to Michael Gianoutsos, the mall’s marketing director.
“You can actually find all the store deals with the app right at your fingertips,” he said. “You can even take a picture and mark a GPS coordinate so you can find your car if you forget where you parked.”
That brings us to LOYALTY CARDS, don’t go shopping without them.
Avid shopper, Beth Sutton, uses an app called Key Ring keep all her store loyalty cards at her fingertips.
“Any card that has a barcode or numbers you can punch in, you can scan them into your phone so you always have them and don’t have to dig for them in your wallet,” Sutton says.
Those loyalty cards can get you extra discounts on top of Black Friday deals. You can even see stores flyers right on your smartphone.
Once you’re in the thick of things on Black Friday, if you want to know if you are getting the best deal, check out Red Laser. Shopping experts call it a must have app.
Just scan a product and the app will tell you which retailers have it; plus, the price both online and in store.
There’s even a section exclusive to Black Friday deals.
Next, consider EARLY ADMISSION.
At Sam’s Club, members can get Black Friday deals starting at 8 p.m. this Sunday, five days before Black Friday.
It’s an invite only event, so contact your Sam’s Club location for details. But check out this price buster, a Samsung Galaxy S3 for just 96 cents.
And at Walmart, if you sign up for emails at Walmart.com, “Like” Walmart on Facebook, or download the Walmart mobile app, you will be able to buy items on Thanksgiving, hours before they are available in stores.
And KNOW THE STORE.
There’s nothing worse than losing out on a great deal because you couldn’t find the item.
The Walmart app for example has an in-store mode where you can find an item and its location in the store, right down to the aisle number.
And once you are done shopping, you have all of those receipts.
You can use several different apps to scan and save your receipts right in your phone. And some of them will even let you know if the item you bought has a price drop.
Those receipt saving apps include Eyeona, Proximiant, Receipt Scanner, Expensify.