Black Friday is almost here, bringing with it crowds, lines and bargains that may not really be bargains.
The day after Thanksgiving will mark the official kickoff of the 2015 holiday shopping season, which can be a very expensive time in the average family's budget. The National Retail Federation predicts that American consumers will spend an average of about $806 this year, up slightly from about $802 last year.
Tackling Black Friday (and the rest of your holiday shopping) with a plan in mind could help ease stress and help you avoid wasting money on gifts that won't wow their recipients.
Before you head out, do a dry run to check out the layouts of the stores you want to visit. This could help you plan the most efficient -- and least expensive -- routes.
It's also a good idea to do your research. Many bricks-and-mortar retailers offer price matching, so check the prices for the products you want online before you head out. Bookmark those pages so you can show store employees when negotiating.
Finally, take a look at our top 10 gifts for the home this year. There's something for $200 or less for everyone on your list, from the picky eater to the gardener with the not-so-green thumb.