How to Prepare for Black Friday Shopping

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(CBS News) — With six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Dec. 25 this year, the holiday shopping season is off to an early start. If you want to take full advantage of the Black Friday deals as they become available, it’s important to start planning your spree now.

Here are three ways you can get can get a jump on your Black Friday shopping:

No. 1: Go online.  Many sites are advertising holiday bargains already. Amazon, for example, is has been counting down to Black Friday deals since early November. Target will have pre-Black Friday deals and door busters from Nov. 24 to Nov. 27.

What’s the reason for the rush to early sales this year? “There’s a limited number of holiday gift dollars out there, and whoever gets them first, wins,” says retail analyst Candace Corlett.

No. 2: Plan your Black Friday shopping strategy now. Big stores are listing online the deals that will be available on Black Friday. Some stores have their local Black Friday fliers up online and they tell you exactly what time the doorbusters will be available. Many big retailers, like Macy’s, are opening on Thanksgiving for the first time this year. If you want to get plenty of shopping in that day, eat early.

No. 3: Keep track of what you’re buying. The National Retail Federation is predicting retail sales will rise 3.9 percent in November and December, which is a bit ahead of last year’s pace. Do you really need to buy more, just because you may be feeling better about your economic situation?

It’s great to start early, but you don’t want to wind up with more gifts than you need and a bigger credit card bill than you can handle when the big day arrives.