SAN ANTONIO — From bargains at Best Buy and offers at Academy to low prices at Lowe's, retailers are off to the races with holiday deals before Black Friday even hits. The 2019 calendar means a shifted shopping season, compared to last year.

"Black Friday is a week later than it was last year, so that window to Christmas is shortened from last year," said Mary Beth Quirk, shopping editor for Consumer Reports

The result: daily door-busters from popular stores, offering hundreds off electronics or tools if shoppers buy ahead. But when? In a lot of cases, retail experts say: Go for it. Many stores are offering totally different deals each day leading up to the shopping season.

After seeing an advertised bargain, check the store's policy. Many are extending the same sales from now through December.

"The sales that we have for Black Friday weekend are on sale now, so you aren't really going to see any change in pricing," said Fonzie Rodriguez, a Lowe's store manager.

If a store won't promise the same prices, be sure to at least follow the following tips:

  • Sign up for free loyalty programs at places you might shop. You'll get alerts for deals not advertised elsewhere.
  • Check each store's web page. Stores like Best Buy and Lowe's have already released their Black Friday deals, so you can compare for yourself to determine whether today's prices is even better, or if you should wait.
  • When you see an offer in person, ask if it will hold up.

"Ask, 'Can you guarantee this is the lowest price of the holiday season?'" Quirk also suggested. "That way, if they can't, you might wanna wait. Otherwise, if they do guarantee it and you get some proof of that, and they say, 'This is what it costs on Black Friday,' they should give you the difference back."

Some stores offer price-match policies year round, but some suspend theirs around the holidays—be sure to ask.

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