Avoid Black Friday and save money on these OTHER great shopping days

Thanksgiving is this Thursday and you know what that means? The holiday shopping madness is about to commence! Pretty soon it'll be Black Friday and you'll find yourself camping out in front of the nearest Kohl's in hopes of landing an unbelievably crazy deal. But if you can't seem to stomach the idea of fighting for parking space or pushing off a crowd, then you might be relieved to discover Black Friday isn't the only time of year to find great holiday sales. Because Black Friday is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the season, there are a ton of other shopping days that tend to go unnoticed. So before you hit the mall, check out a few of these money-saving days to help you save a few bucks here and there from now until the end of the year!

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November 23, Black Friday: As I mentioned earlier, this day is recognized for being the biggest shopping day of the year. But this year, don't worry about camping out in the cold the night before. There are a ton of sites like Amazon.com that host special Black Friday specials that day and throughout the weekend so you don't have to leave your house. Make sure you do a little research a few days before, though: the best deals are usually available only for a few hours until they sell out.

November 24, Small Business Saturday: Not much of a large department store kind of chica? Than you'd probably be interested in knowing that between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there's a day dedicated specifically to supporting small businesses throughout the country. This American Express-sponsored event takes place the Saturday that follows Thanksgiving. It's a great way to support your local brick-and-mortar stores and, not to mention, an AMAZING way to snag some unique gifts for your loved ones! Check out the official site to find out which merchants in your area will be participating this year.

November 26, Cyber Monday: I don't know about you, but I'd rather shop in my pajamas than stand on a never-ending line for hours. Which is why I plan on doing a majority of my holiday shopping this year the Monday that follows Thanksgiving.  There's a reason why this day is so hyped up. A large variety of retailers offer tons of online-only deals for pretty nifty prices. Oh and did I mention a lot of them offer free shipping as well?

Tuesday, November 27:  Did you know that Mondays and Tuesdays are said to be the least busy days for holiday shopping? So if you're looking to avoid the crowds you might want to consider hitting the stores the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Though the sales won't be as intense, a large amount of retailers will still have a number of discounted items. Also a general tip to keep in mind: try to avoid shopping during the weekend. Everyone leaves shopping for the weekends, so you have a better chance of snagging something good during the week.

December 16, Free Shipping Day: Everyone loves free shipping, right? Well, did you know that there's a shopping day dedicated to just that? A large majority of merchants like Best Buy, The Home Depot, Kohl's, Barnes and Noble, Carter's, DSW, and a ton more will be participating this year. Check out Freeshippingday.com to find out what other brands will be participating.

December 26, Gift Card Exchange Day: You'd think with a gift card you can't go wrong, right? But I can't tell you how many times I've wound up with a gift card I wasn't happy with at all. So I was so excited to hear that there's a day that allows you exchange your gift cards online for cash. The best part? You can find a bidder who is willing to pay more than is even on your card. How awesome is that? Check out giftcardexchangeday.com to find out more.

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Topics: cheap/affordable  shopping  smart shopping  savvy shopper