NEW YORK -- Get ready for Black Friday week.
Stores are making a big push to lure in bargain-hungry shoppers before the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. They are putting on special sales that further creep into Turkey Day -- and earlier.
For the first time, Disney Stores, Sears and Kohl's are among the stores offering at least some of the same Black Friday deals to customers a few days before Black Friday.
"It's no longer Christmas creep. It's Christmas crush," said Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm, referring to the bevy of Black Friday deals that shoppers will be able to buy earlier that week.
Many are also targeting smartphone shoppers with apps that make it easier to shop the deals. Macy's shoppers using the department store chain's new Black Friday app will even get alerted to special unadvertised deals while they're in the store.
But don't get caught up in the shopping madness. A smart and measured approach to buying will preserve your budget.
"You need to keep your wits about you," said Jodi Furman, author of a blog called Livefabuless.com.
Here's how to do Black Friday the smart way:
Research deals and compare prices:
With Thanksgiving two weeks away, you should start mapping out a strategy now. Make a list of what you want and how much you want to spend. Check out decide.com, which uses data to help you decide the best time to buy a certain product.