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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While the credit cards are waxed and ready to slide, the looming deals of Black Friday have become a bit confusing.

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With Thanksgiving Day, online, doorbusters and early openings, “Black Friday has lost a lot of its luster. In fact, a lot of times, the better bargains are on Thursday,” says Duquesne University Marketing Professor Audrey Guskey, Ph.D.

First, Dr. Guskey says, “You don’t necessarily have to do it just on Friday, you really have to do your homework. We think, because its Black Friday, everything is a deal, and that’s not necessarily the case.”

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Take doorbusters, for example, Dr. Guskey says, “A lot of times, retailers are trying to get rid of their merchandise, so they may offer an older model or an older version or not the best version with the best bells and whistles type of features.”

She says that’s when it’s critical to pull out your smartphone.

“The best way is to scan the barcode and go to a price checker, such as Amazon, and see if it’s the best price or the best model for your money,” she says.

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Now, if you do enjoy the hunt of Black Friday deals, Dr. Guskey says seek out the electronics on Thanksgiving Day.

“If you’re looking for toys and tools and clothes, Black Friday is probably your best option,” Dr. Guskey says.

As you might expect a college professor to say, Dr. Guskey advises lots of homework before you shop.

“You can’t just go out there blind and have no idea. In a sense, it’s war out there. You’re fighting shoppers for other bargains,” said Dr. Guskey.

Plus, she says a little online work and you may be surprised by what you find.

“Believe it or not, you can even get better deals online and you don’t have to fight the crowds and get up early and fight the snow and cold. In reality, if you want the best bargains, I’d say online shopping is the best way to go on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season.” is one website where you can find the fliers for the major retailers, and Dr. Guskey says use one of the many price checking apps.

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“You can go on Amazon and use their Camelcamelcamel to check prices. There’s Pricewatch, Pricecheck, a lot of different options. And that way you will know if it’s the best price or you could go down the street to another store and find it cheaper,” Dr. Guskey said.