Black Friday Frenzy: Secrets to savings

Apps help shoppers find deals through smartphones

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - The clock is ticking and winding down to the biggest shopping day of the year.

As you have probably already heard, this year, the Black Friday frenzy is not just for the early birds. Stores are opening as early as 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving for the night owls. But whether you're going early or late, KPRC Local 2 has the secrets to helping you save big this holiday season.

Just hearing the word "sale" gives some shoppers a euphoric high. But nothing can beat the buzz of Black Friday.

This year, it's estimated 152 million shoppers will head out early nationwide to save.

Local 2 scoured the stores and sales sites to show you the deals worth losing sleep over.

Black Friday is a good time to get a great deal on electronics.

Best Buy announced a Lenovo laptop for $180. That's more than 80 percent off since the computers normally sell for $1,000.

Best Buy also advertised a Sharp 42-inch LCD TV for just $199. These typically sell for $500 to $600.  Only 10 are being sold at that low price at each store. 

Nintendo fans can score a $99 Wii at Sam's Club and WalMart.

But if you're in the market for an X-Box 360, Target may give you the best deal at $140.

While WalMart opens at 10 p.m., the doorbusters on electronics don't start until 12 a.m. It's mostly toys the retail giant is pushing at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving. But, experts say you should wait on those purchases. Toy prices usually drop and are lowest in the last 14 days before Christmas.

You may want to wait until next year to buy jewelry. Holiday prices typically are not the best, even if the jewelry is advertised as on sale.

Talk about deals -- how does "free" sound?

  • Old Navy will be handing out digital cameras worth about $100 to a limited number of shoppers who spend $40 or more.
  • Michael's is giving out a free Cricut cartridge to the first 25 shoppers at each store. If you're crafty, you know what that is.
  • You'll get a $50 gift card at Best Buy when you purchase an Apple iPod Touch 8GB.
  • A free Disney snow globe will be given out to early birds at JC Penney.
  • A Thomas Kinkade ornament will be given out to the first 200 customers at Sears.
  • The first 100 customers at Half Price Books will get a $5 gift card.

Even with sale ads in hand, coupons could help you even more. Sites like and promise to filter out the coupons that work so you get even more bang for your shopping buck.

If you still can't decide which store to hit when, let your phone help out. A recent survey says that a whopping 54 percent of in-store shoppers plan to use a smartphone to compare prices on Black Friday, with slightly less than half saying they expect the practice to help them get a better deal.

"SaleLocator" is a free app. You just type in what product or kind of item you're looking for and SaleLocator will pop up the stores closest to you with those things on sale.

It's not a new app, but you can't beat Google Shopper for comparing prices in a hurry. Just scan the bar code of any product with your phone and in a matter of minutes, Google Shopper will show you where you can find the item cheaper.

If you have a news tip or question for KPRC Local 2 Investigates, drop them an e-mail or call their tipline at (713) 223-TIPS (8477). Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.