JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you want to make sure you're really getting the best deals this holiday shopping season, one of the first things you need to realize is not to trust a store when it tells you how much you are saving.
For example, when a store says an item is 30 percent -- that's 30 percent off what?
Chances are they are giving you the discount off the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). During the rest of the year, the actual price of the item is usually less than that -- so make sure you are comparing actual prices and not just the advertised discount percentage.
Next, make sure your computer is not working against you.
Most sites use "cookies" to track online shoppers. They store information about your browsing and buying habits.
Simply put, an online shopper whose cookies indicate they pay full price most of the time might not see the same Black Friday promotions as someone who is constantly looking for discount codes and clearance sales.
How do you fix this? Clear you cookies or shop online using a web browser set to "incognito" mode.
One more way to avoid a bad deal: Be very careful when it comes to doorbuster deals or online sales where there is a time limit to buy.
These are usually just a way to get you inside a store or onto a website so you buy something else as well.