Before you leave the Thanksgiving table or wake up early on Black Friday to hit the stores, it's important to have a plan. Both shopping days (as well as the weekend after and Cyber Monday) offer great deals, but your key to saving the most money on Black Friday is to know what you're doing before you walk out the door.
Over the past few weeks, writers at The Motley Fool have been digging into every aspect of how you can save the most money during the holiday shopping season. We've broken down the shopping season from Thanksgiving through Christmas from every angle to help you save the most money and emerge without doing major damage to your personal finances.
Here is a collection of our best advice.
Protect your bottom line
It's only saving money if you buy something you need at a lower-than-normal price. If you make poorly thought-out purchases or fall for discounts that trick you into exceeding your budget, you didn't save -- you spent money you shouldn't have (or worse, didn't have).
These pieces will help you avoid breaking the bank this holiday season.
Holiday Stats and data
The holiday season has been changing. The days of people camping outside of stores in order to save big on a single item have mostly gone away. Instead, the shopping season has gotten longer and understanding what's different, what other people do, and what retailers are thinking will help you be ready.
The holidays and work
For most people, except those who work in retail and other service-related fields, the holiday season offers a bit of a break. Many of us get a few days off in order to recharge our batteries, see friends and family, or just relax. But that can come at a cost... here are a few tips to avoid falling behind.
Retailers, Black Friday, and the holidays
Not every retailer approaches the holiday shopping season the same way. In some cases, what each chain does or how it operates offers different opportunities for consumers. In other cases, the health of certain retailers should be a red flag for consumers even when the deals offered look pretty great.
How to recover
Sometimes even the most-careful planners make mistakes. Maybe you got caught up in the season or perhaps a major unexpected expense popped up at the last minute. For whatever reason, if holiday shopping busted your long-term budget, there are ways to recover.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.