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Examiner guide to a budget-friendly holiday: Shopping the Black-Friday ads

Shopping ads can help you score big savings on holiday essentials, like the turkey and trimmings.
Shopping ads can help you score big savings on holiday essentials, like the turkey and trimmings.(AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

The holidays are really just another day of the week.  If you shop well each week throughout the rest of the year, there is no reason you cannot shop well for the holiday season.  One of the best shopping tips I have is the easiest thing to do: shop the ads every week and pay close attention to the Black-Friday ads. 

In our area, the grocery store ads arrive in Wednesday's mail.  Each Wednesday, I sit down with a pen, paper and the ads and mark what I plan to purchase.  Sometimes, in the event of the holidays, you may already have a menu in mind.  When this occurs, you simply review the ads and find the best prices on the things you know you will need for that menu.  Other times, you can plan your menu around what's on sale. 

This may seem like a little extra effort, but it will help you in the long run.  For instance, this week celery is on sale at all three local grocery stores.  Corner Market has it on sale for $.99, which is an okay price.  Save-Rite, which usually has the best prices of all three stores, has it on sale for $.78.  Winn Dixie, on the other hand, has it on sale for $.69, saving you $.30 off the Corner Market price and $.09 off Save Rite's price.  If you save $.30 cents off each item (or more in most cases) and your purchase 10 items on your weekly grocery store trip (or more in most cases), you will save $144 per year on groceries!

Apply this tip to every item in your budget, from gifts to gobblers, and you can watch the savings grow. 

With Black Friday on the way, check out ads for every store.  Even grocery stores will run sales and at stores like Sam's you may be able to score some great grocery deals to stock your pantry for a while.