A little research ahead of time can mean big savings at stores on Black Friday. Here are the best apps and websites dedicated to Black Friday.
- Start out with the Black Friday Survival Guide for iPhone and Android devices. Developed for the folks who run the Black Friday website, this free app lets shoppers view leaked and verified Black Friday ads in real time. Search for the best deals and create personal shopping lists.
- The Shop Savvy app lets you use your smartphone camera to scan prices and search for the best in-store and online deals. It's available on Apple and Android devices.
- iPhone users should take along the Discount Calculator, which was created to help shoppers estimate ahead of time how much items will cost and how much will be saved during a sale. There's a similar app for Android devices.
- Find My Car is an app that uses location services to help you locate your vehicle in those crowded Black Friday parking lots.
- TGI BlackFriday: 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 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.
- BFads.net: When it comes to the granddaddies of Black Friday websites, few have been around as long as BFads.net. 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.
- BlackFriday.FM: BlackFriday.FM brands 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.
- Black-Friday.net: Black-Friday.net offers 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.
- 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.