If you are heading to the mall early Friday morning or late Thursday night, you don’t want to go in unprepared.

Keeping all the deals and bonus buys apart can seem overwhelming. Comparing what is the best quality for the best price can be too. So, I’ve compiled a list of some sites to help you with your shopping smackdown:

2011 Black Friday Ads/Store Circulars
Black Friday Timeline
Sale Items Available Now
Black Friday Coupons/Deals
Bonus Gift Cards List
Cyber Monday Deals

Remember that it is important to remain a savvy consumer. Don’t let the dollar signs and commercials be your only motivation. Black Friday sales can offer some amazing steals — but usually to those people first in line. It seems like everything else can be found online or in stores at a later date for around the same price.

It is important to keep in mind that just because something is on sale, that doesn’t necessarily translate to quality. You may spend $200 on a TV now, but when it breaks in a few years you may be wishing you would have spent a little more on superior product.

My advice: check product reviews at sites like Consumer Reports. Make sure you are comparing the features you that you want and that you will use. A little pre-investigating will help you determine the best quality item for the best price.

Another tip is to avoid overbuying. Stores get you in with the door-buster sales, but if you add a few more things into your cart that you don’t need, then you’re just overspending. Ask yourself that day if you really need everything in the cart. You may be able to put a few things back on the shelf by going in conscious of a budget.

Next, those gift cards and bonus certificates that stores give out are great, but only if you need to do more shopping at the store. Think of it this way, if you need to spend $75 total to get back a $25 gift card, but you need to buy more stuff to reach the $75 mark, it may not be worth it. And I’m betting that when you return to spend the gift card, you’ll spend more than $25, right?

Finally, keep the Thanksgiving spirit with you — even the day after Thanksgiving. Be kind to your fellow shoppers and it will make the whole experience a better one for everyone. Kindness is contagious.

Know of any other deals, share them with other ‘Good Lifers’ in the comment section. You can also read more money-saving blog posts here and text WCCODEALS to 84816 for a ‘deals of the week’ reminder.

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