SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We know the holiday shopping season is going to be different this year, with fewer (yet more socially distanced) doorbuster specials and a holiday shopping season that has already begun.
So how do you play the shopping game this year? I recently sat down with Consumer Reports Deal Editor Samantha Gordon, and my takeaway were three rules that will make this year's pandemic holiday season still a fun and profitable one for your family.
Rule #1: Start shopping now.
Samantha Gordon tells me, "The best way to get the best deals is to shop all month long. So you don't want to wait and buy everything all at once. If you buy a few things here and there, you can take advantage of these different sales."
This year, the deals will be pretty much the same in store and online, so there is no reason to venture out if you would rather not.
Rule #2: Keep track of prices.
It sounds like a lot of work, and in the past it has been -- but Consumer Reports is making it easy this year.
In real time, Samantha's team is finding and posting the best prices.
"Over at consumerreports.org we are looking at all of the best deals," she tells me. "We are updating our content constantly so we can help you find the best deals more easily."
She tells me the information is very specific: "Our website displays all of the current prices and it actually displays them at different retailers. So you can see all the different prices available at a glance."
And now, a warning that has never been more important...
Rule #3: Keep track of shipping times and distances.
"For the most part, retailers are going to have the same or similar prices on these items," Samantha says. "So the difference in where you decide to buy may often fall to how quickly they'll be able to ship something to you."
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.