THE HELP DESK The Help Desk: Top Tips

Beat the crowds - shop online

The day after Thanksgiving the malls will be packed but there's no need for you to join the scrum to get a bargain.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- There's no need to get up at the crack of dawn to battle bargain-thirsty shoppers on Black Friday. But you can still score the best deals while you're still wearing bunny slippers.

If you want to score a great deal, check out these comparison-shopping sites: This site will let you compare prices on over 30 million products offered by over 100,000 merchants. Type in what you're looking for, like cuff links or a navigation device, and you'll get a listing of how much it costs at various retailers. will also help you compare prices and you can get set price alerts for yourself. Just set the price you want to pay for a product and once it reaches that prices, you'll be sent an e-mail alert.

And finally, check out Not only can you compare prices and get e-mail alerts when the price drops, but you can also compare the current price to what was charged over the past six months.

Plenty of sites offer coupon codes (and printable coupons) for online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

At you'll find 400-thousand coupon codes and printable coupons. is another site where you can browse coupons by retailers.

And who doesn't like free shipping? lists free coupons for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and eBay.

And of course, we're all trying to keep our holiday spending in check. lets a group of people can contribute online toward the gift you choose.

And just a few words of caution -- if you are buying online, don't go to your local coffee shop to use the Wifi and don't use a public computer. You'll be vulnerable to hackers. Make sure you don't click on pop up ads ... they may be bogus. And use a credit card -- not a debit card -- for your purchases.

-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article.

Talkback: What Web sites do you use for your holiday shopping? To top of page

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