The holidays are here! In fact, two of the busiest shopping days of the year are coming up soon: Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest shopping days of the year for retail stores; and Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is one of the most hectic shopping days for online stores. If you plan to start your holiday shopping on either of these popular days, there are a few tips you can follow to make sure you find the best deals possible.

Black Friday

  1. Do your homework. Prepare your shopping list in advance, and promise yourself to buy only what’s on your list. Read advertisements for sales ahead of time, and do some comparison shopping so you can decide which stores have the best bargains.
  2. Look for “early bird” specials.  Some retailers will offer marked-down merchandise for a few specific hours, which are usually early in the morning. If you find one of these sales, plan to start your trip there. Electronic stores, for example, often have early bird specials so enticing that customers line up outside the store in the wee hours of Friday morning. This may sound extreme, but the savings are usually worth the effort.
  3. Make a list of the shops you want to visit, and find out what time each one opens. Plan the route of your shopping trip ahead of time so you can arrive as early as possible at each store. Remember that supplies of sale items can be limited, so getting there early is important.
  4. Bring advertisements with you. Some stores require you to turn in ads in order to get the reduced price on the merchandise.
  5. Begin shopping before Black Friday. A lot of retailers will offer special prices on merchandise ordered online in pre-dawn hours. Most stores that accept early orders online will require you to pick up your purchases at a local store.

Cyber Monday

  1. Make your shopping list ahead of time. Look for online coupons and advertisements for sites planning on offering special Cyber Monday prices.
  2. Do some comparison shopping. This is particularly important for purchases that are a little more expensive, such as computer equipment or jewelry. For example, if you’re looking at the online selection of diamond rings for men, you should be sure that you’re shopping on sites that offer the best prices.
  3. Before you decide which online site you’ll purchase from, find out as much information about the quality of their products as possible. Read some of the online testimonials and reviews about the merchandise.
  4. Be careful. Shop only on reputable sites. Search online to see if any complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau. There are plenty of quality web sites that are not listed with the BBB, but if a customer has encountered a problem, the complaint will often be filed with them. Review the site’s guarantee, return and exchange policies. For example, if you’re looking at diamond rings for men, you want to be sure that the company you purchase merchandise from provides a good guarantee for their products.
  5. If you plan to do your online shopping on Cyber Monday, it’s just as important to get an early start as it is if you actually visit stores on Black Friday. Some websites even start their sales on the Sunday before Cyber Monday.

Right after Thanksgiving is a great time to find terrific prices on holiday gifts. Whatever is on your shopping list this year – from the smallest stocking stuffers to electronics to diamond rings for men – find them all at great prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  It may take a little bit of planning, but the savings will make it all worthwhile!

Cindy White writes about diamond rings for men and other men’s rings for JustMensRings.com. Also currently she is doing an online research on best men’s wedding bands available in the market.