Clark’s holiday season 2017 survival guide: Ad scans, retail ripoffs, store hours and more!


Black Friday 2017 deals are already getting started! If you’re planning to hit the stores Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday or over the weekend, consider your personal shopping assistant.

Are you ready to save more, spend less and avoid ripoffs? This is Team Clark’s Black Friday survival guide…

RELATED: The best Black Friday deals so far!

Team Clark’s Black Friday 2017 survival guide

1. Set a holiday budget

The biggest problem for your wallet during the holiday shopping season is that you spend a lot more time in stores and shopping online than you normally would.

To limit the temptation to spend more, Clark Howard doesn’t get a shopping cart and buys only what he can carry.

To avoid a January budget hangover, ask yourself: “How much money can I afford to spend through the Christmas shopping season for myself and on others?”

Come up with that number and track your spending using a budgeting app or a pen and paper.

RELATED: Clark’s #1 secret to avoid overspending this holiday season

2. Review the Black Friday ad scans 

Most of the major retailers released their Black Friday ad scans early this year, so we already know some of the best deals, including a 50”³ 4K Roku TV for $179.99 at Best Buy! See the best deals at

Follow these links to the ad scans: 

3. Know exactly when to shop

If you’ve identified a great doorbuster deal, you’ll need to be there right when the store opens because there are generally very limited quantities of those items.


Clark says the best bargains will be on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and to a lesser extent Saturday and Sunday.

Stores open/closed on Thanksgiving Day:

4. Avoid common retail traps 

Savvy shoppers know that you shouldn’t trust a retailer when they tell you something is a great price. Always comparison shop to find the best deal.

Here are Clark’s top five Black Friday warnings:

  • Don’t be fooled by misleading sales: Some retailers will increase their prices before the holiday to make the Black Friday discounts appear more significant. Price check at
  • Always get a receipt and check the return policy: Read the fine print! Be mindful of how long you have to return an item and keep the receipt.
  • Beware of fake retail websites: Red flags include suspicious URLs, spelling or grammatical mistakes and deals that seem too good to be true.
  • Do NOT give gift cards: Retailers are closing stores at an alarming rate! Give cash instead.
  • Store credit cards are also a bad idea: Decline offers at the register for one-store-only cards. They have interest rates as high as 30%.

Our team is working around the clock to bring you the very best deals! Get our newsletter here.

If you’re not interested in shopping over Black Friday weekend, Clark says there will still be a lot of deals until about December 10 — so try to wrap up your shopping by then.

Here are the best days to shop between now and Christmas!

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