Black Friday: 5 deal sites to bookmark now
Plan your Black Friday shopping early with these 5 websites
Everybody wants to find a good deal on Black Friday, but it can be hard knowing exactly where to turn online.
A quick online search for "Black Friday sites" returns hundreds of sites -- every other one claiming to be the "official" Black Friday deals website.
You could always turn to shopping sites like Amazon.com, which each year offers some of the best online shopping deals, or visit regular deal sites featuring Black Friday sections, like GottaDeal.com, SlickDeals or Fat Wallet.
But the Black Friday-specific deal sites remain your best bet. They offer such things as customized shopping lists, deal alerts, downloadable apps for your phone, and -- the Holy Grail among Black Friday shoppers -- early peeks at store ads.
So, how do you know which sites are the best? Start with our top five top picks and work from there ...
No. 5: Twitter
OK, so we know we said Black Friday-specific sites are the best, but we're willing to make an exception for Twitter.
What makes Twitter perfect for Black Friday is it gives you quick, easy and mobile access to all the best deals. There are tons of Twitter accounts sending out deals in real time, and some stores will even tweet their own sales.
Follow one of those accounts and you can get a jump start on every other holiday shopper.
Finding a feed to follow is as easy as searching for the words "Black Friday," but one of the best and easiest accounts is @BlackFriday. The account, which is also a great source for deals on Cyber Monday, the online deal extravaganza the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, also offers a shopping blog that offers another way to keep track of deals -- although without the real-time functionality of Twitter.
Our next site will allow you to ditch that shopping list ...
No. 4: Black-Friday.net
With so many great deals, it can be next to impossible keeping track of every place you want to shop. In the past, you had to scribble down the sales you wanted to hit on a piece of scrap paper and hope you didn't lose it.
Not any more. Sites like Black-Friday.net offer customizable shopping lists that make it so much easier to keep tabs on your favorite deals.
The site also offers e-mail updates whenever a new store ad is posted and also lets you see which merchants are running early sales, which can offer just as good -- or better -- deals than you'll find on Black Friday.
But one of the best features is one that allows you to browse deals by "Popular Products," meaning you won't miss out on an unbelievable deal on that hot toy your child just had to have this year.
The next site on our list calls claims to be your "source" for everything Black Friday ...
No. 3: BlackFriday.FM
Unlike most sites, BlackFriday.FM shows some restraint in not labeling itself your "official" Black Friday site.
However, it does brand itself "Your Black Friday Source" and manages to back up that claim pretty darn well.
Like Black-Friday.net, you can sign up for e-mail alerts and compile your own shopping list, but what really sets this site apart from the others is how thoroughly it has woven social networking into Black Friday.
BlackFriday.FM was one of the first Black Friday sites to embrace social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and it still offers buttons to easily share the deals you find there via those sites.
You'll also find easy links to Black Friday favorites like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, a printable one-page buying guide and all the best Black Friday ads sorted by product categories.
If you love Black Friday ads -- and who doesn't? -- you will love our next site ...
No. 2: BFads.net
When it comes to the granddaddies of Black Friday websites, few have been around as long as BFads.net.
This site has been around seemingly as long as Black Friday itself -- OK, maybe not that long exactly, but you get our drift. And it succeeds year after year because it gets it right.
You want store ads? As the site's name says, you've got it. You want social networking, e-mail alerts and a shopping list function? Check, check and check.
But you also get shopping guides that will help you pick out cameras, washing machines, computers, DVD players, TVs or whatever else you're looking for this year.
And, for the cherry on top, the site also offers an online community where you can swap tips with other deal-hungry shoppers. Seriously, if you miss out on a Black Friday deal, you won't have this site to blame.
It's almost the perfect Black Friday site, except for our No. 1 selection ...
No. 1: TGI BlackFriday
With the growing prevalence of smart phones, there are more than a few downloadable applications out there that will help you round up Black Friday deals.
But TGI BlackFriday, and its parent company DealCatcher.com, was one of the first to offer a free iPhone/Android app -- and still the best.
The app allows you browse thousands of deals from major retail stores' Black Friday ads. You can search across all deals and categories and save the items you want to buy in your own personal shopping list.
The website also offers the same great experience. You'll find a column on the right side that offers one-click filters to sort through deals as well as downloadable PDF scans of Black Friday ads, a grid displaying pictures of the most popular sale items and much, much more.
Now, sit back, relax and feel free to eat until you can't move on Thanksgiving. As the tryptophan kicks in and you nod off, you can rest assured you've done your shopping homework thanks to these five Black Friday sites.
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