FYI: 5 sites that can help plan holiday spending


As Black Friday and its online sibling Cyber Monday approach, holiday shoppers are getting ready.

The preparation should include more than just mapping out a strategy about which doorbuster deals to chase. Some research ahead of time can result in more confident gift giving.

Here are five websites that can help fuel that confidence by providing information on what products to buy, when to buy them and assurance that you’re not missing a deal.

If you’re at the starting point and not sure exactly which digital camera or espresso machine to buy, this site can help. A part of the network, its editors aggregate professional and consumer reviews from across the Web to come up with the best reviewed products. It also offers tips to help you determine when you’re getting a good deal and when a product might not be worth purchasing.

Once you know exactly what brand and model you’re looking for, head to this site to find the best deal. It runs a combined search for coupons and online deals to find the best overall bargain. Users can click the link to the recommended site to make the purchase online, or can head to a store armed with information for in-person comparison shopping.

This site focuses on consumer electronics, gadgets, shoes and clothing. It vets stores for shoppers and directs them to online bargains. Search for a particular item and the site will present the best deals available online. It also includes a special tab listing Black Friday advertisements for dozens of stores, and some shopping tips and advice. DealNews offers iPhone and Android apps as well.

When’s the best time to buy electronics? This site uses data to determine factors like when a new model might be on the way, helping shoppers to avoid purchasing a soon-to-be outdated gadget, and predicts when prices will move up and down. Users can also sign up for price alerts on products they’re interested in. Shoppers with smartphones can use its mobile site for help with making purchase decisions at stores.

The microblogging site offers shoppers a number of opportunities to save. First, users can follow local and national merchants to get alerts on deals and special offers. Second, they can follow the feeds of deal sites that offer coupons and promotional codes for free shipping and other perks. And finally, searching for tweets by area malls and outlet centers can alert shoppers to special events and offers.