Today the Wal-Mart Black Friday ad was released, leaked, whatever you want to call it. If you want to see all the ads available for Black Friday check out: http://http://blackfriday.gottadeal.com/index.php.
I have discovered that one of the primary items we purchased for our 7-year-old will be almost $40 cheaper on Black Friday. After having the pleasure of being the opening manager on duty for a Target store for 2 years, I have no desire to be up before sunrise, but for $40, I think I just might.
Our goal this year is to due the bulk of our shopping online, or buying locally (i.e. people we know that have a knack for crafts). Rory designed a spreadsheet for me to punch in the gift idea, budgeted cost, actual cost, and variance and our whole Christmas holiday budget is right there in front of me. Which lets me know that we are over budget on child #1, right on for child #2, and child #3 is trailing pretty far behind. We're hoping to keep this spreadsheet for budgeting purposes for next year and break down our total amount spent by month and then by paycheck, so next Christmas will be even easier.
If you would like a copy of the template I would be glad to share it with you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want your very own.
I do a fair amount of comparison shopping as well, here is a list of the comparison shops I use most:
www.pricegrabber.com (This one shows price history, which is a nice feature)
My all time, most used website for all online shopping is www.ebates.com, if you say you were referred by me we both get cash (just enter my email from above). Ebates offers a percentage of cash back from most stores you've heard of and many that you may have not. They send a check quarterly, so in mid-January you get a check in the mail. One year I received a check for over $150! They also advertise coupons and shipping deals. Totally worth it. There are some sites like www.upromise.com that do the same thing and the money goes into a savings account for your kid, but I prefer to get the cash back now.
I just had to share all these websites with you because there is NO reason you should ever pay full price for something, especially in this economy.
Hope some of this saves you a little cash this holiday season.