Holiday shopping deals

Posted by Becky Gulden

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's day 17 of our series 20 days, 20 ways to survive the economy.   It's just one week until the official start of the holiday shopping season, known as Black Friday.

There are some amazing deals out there that could save you hundreds of dollars but you have to know the secret to finding them.

Many stores are going to be offering incredible deals good only on Black Friday.

But what if you could get the same deals without leaving your home and even get them a day early?

You can save money by using methods that some businesses would rather you didn't know about.

For example most black friday ads won't come out until Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

But, you can get those ads today if you know the secret.

"The ads actually come in the Thanksgiving day newspaper and most people like myself are busy cooking Thanksgiving dinner or traveling to a parents house.  They're not around to look through an enormous newspaper with 30 or 40 stores," said Mike Riddle the webmaster at

His site gives viewers a look at ads before they're put out in papers or over the airwaves.

But what's more Riddle says some stores may offer Black Friday deals online the day before Friday.

That means you could get an extra day of great bargains over other folks who don't know about the online possibilities.

So what do retailers think about all this?

"Some of them actually send me threatening letters from their lawyers telling me either don't post the ad ever, or don't post it until this date, or they actually send us take-down notices if they find out their ad was actually posted. And then there's retailers that send us their ads, and contact us ahead of time and want to leak the ad themselves," said Riddle.

The Black Friday site also has other shopping tools that may help you find great bargains.

Of course, nothing beats a great deal unless you have a coupon that gives you even greater savings and there are websites out there that do just that.

Scout Kluth is the founder of

"Coupons can range from anything from free shipping to, you know, 20-percent off or so. We actually have a couple coupons for 50-percent off," said Kluth.

Kluth's site offers all sorts of coupons but it also offers not so secret promotional codes that can get you additional discounts.

"We have direct relationships with like Sears, and Home Depot, and Best Buy, Circuit City, so anywhere that you typically shop, it's 13-hundred of the largest sites out there."

Some sites require you to sign up for their services, you may also have to give them your email address or other information.

Some sites may even require you to pay for their services.