Shopping strategies for this holiday season

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's that time of year when we're making our lists and checking them twice, and who doesn't love saving money? Consumer Reports has some holiday shopping tips to get you through Black Friday and beyond.

Do your homework. There are lots of websites out there that can help you figure out what's on sale and when. For example, Black Friday.com and CR.org give you updates on which stores are having sales. And you don't have to go store by store to look for deals. Use websites and apps like Shopzilla, Google Shopping, and PriceGrabber to help you comparison shop.

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Don't forget to get social. If you like particular brands or retailers, make sure you follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. That's where they're going to be advertising their latest sales.

Finally, create a budget and stick to it. Yes, this sounds simple. But big sales and doorbuster specials are designed to get you into a store or shopping online so that retailers can sell you all those other items you weren't intending to buy.

CR says if you find an online deal, put it into your cart immediately. You typically have 15 minutes to check out, so compare prices elsewhere before you complete your purchase.

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