Keep Calm and Save on This Black Friday and Cyber Monday

11/21/2017 04:04 pm ET

It’s Thanksgiving week, and that means grocery shopping, meal prep, and frantically cleaning the house before company arrives at precisely 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. Once Thanksgiving is finally here and you sit down to a hearty feast surrounded by friends and family, Black Friday may be the last thing on your mind.

Lucky for you, my team of Toy Insider elves and I are holiday shopping extraordinaires, which means that you can have your c̶a̶k̶e̶ turkey and eat it too! We know every trick in the book when it comes to scoring the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals of the season, so all you have to do is follow our shopping tips and you’ll be prepared for what’s to come this weekend.

Follow these tips below to steer clear from holiday shopping stress.

1. Know before you go: Make sure you look up the MSRPs for toys before you start shopping, that way you avoid buying an overpriced item, and you know exactly how much money the discount will save you. On thetoyinsider.com we list the manufacturer MSRP for every item in our gift guide. If something seems overpriced, a quick search on our site or on the manufacturer’s website will go a long way in your shopping savings!

2. Check your junk mail: Yes, you read that right. Cashiers are pros at collecting email addresses from customers during checkout, and these promotional emails usually clog up your inbox and go unread, or land straight in your spam folder. While that may be convenient for most of the year, this weekend, retailers will be sending out emails with deals faster than you can say “sale,” so make sure you keep your inbox open so you don’t miss out!

3. Read the fine print: In the midst of a stellar bargain, it’s easy to overlook the small stuff. Tax, shipping costs, and layaway and service fees can add up, so you while you may THINK that you are getting a good deal, that may not actually be the case.

4. Keep your eyes on the prize: Whenever you go holiday shopping—Black Friday or at any point in the season—make a checklist beforehand with what kid you are shopping for, and what toys that kid wants. That way, you won’t go sale crazy and buy everything within arms’ reach. Our website even lets kids create their own wish lists, that way parents, grandparents, and all other gift givers can refer to it during the holiday season.

5. Avoid third-party resellers: Unauthorized third-party resellers on sites like eBay, Amazon, and Walmart.com sometimes hike up the price of hard-to-find toys. It’s better to buy directly from the retailer, because they have to adhere to MSRPs. At thetoyinsider.com, you can find “buy it now” buttons that will link you directly to Toys “R” Us, Walmart, and Amazon.com.

6. Get social: Manufacturers will use their social media platforms—like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—to let consumers know when highly sought after items are in stock at certain locations, or for special deals and discounts.

Laurie Schacht, also known as The Toy Insider Mom, has covered the toy industry for more than 20 years. The Toy Insider is a year-round resource for parents, grandparents and other gift-givers looking for the best toys for their kids. The Toy Insider also produces an annual holiday gift guide featured in Family Circle magazine. Visit thetoyinsider.com for the latest toy news, reviews, giveaways, and more.

Follow Laurie Schacht on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ToyInsiderMom

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