Credit expert: Don't believe Black Friday hype

Credit expert: Don't believe Black Friday hype

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ATLANTA -

Even before Thanksgiving dinner has a chance to settle in your stomach, retailers are hoping you open your wallets for holiday shopping. But we have some advice for those thinking of joining the Black Friday frenzy.

Just when you tell yourself, 'I'm not shopping on Black Friday, retailers pull you back in with promise of low prices. So if you can't resist, follow these tips.

For Natasha Protopopoff, the holiday shopping season has come early this year. She told FOX 5 she was here for a few days then it was back home to Tanzania.

For many of us, we wait until what's known as Black Friday to get into a shopping frenzy. One Alpharetta Walmart has been getting ready for weeks to prepare for the retail rush.

"If you like the excitement, be here on Thursday," said Zane McCusker of Walmart.

John Ulzheimer, President of Consumer Education for Smartcredit.com, says don't believe the hype.

"If you would just be patient, the deals are going to get better and better as we get closer to Christmas and they're going to get even better after Christmas, because that's when they're trying to clear the shelves," said Ulzheimer.

He says if you do decide to venture out on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, have a budget.  You're more likely to stay within your budget if you take cash, but if you decide to use credit, use a card with a low interest rate. When you're at the register and the cashier asks for your email, phone number, and home address, Ulzheimer says proceed with caution.

"There's a reason they're asking you for that information. They want to be able to contact you. At the end of the day they also want you to sign up for a store credit card," warned Ulzheimer.

He says store credit cards have high interest and the most adverse effects on your credit report. Though gift cards still remain the most popular gifts for loved ones, Ulzheimer says be careful when you grab them from the rack. He says grab your card from the back.

"Sometimes thieves like to take the card that's on the front and write down the information off the back of it. They know it's likely been sold and loaded with value by then, call, find out how much value is on the card, recreate the card and then scam you out of your money," explained Ulzheimer.

He says you'll save yourself time, money, and a little hassle by simply staying home.

The bargain item this year -- electronics. If you're in the market for personal electronics, Ulzheimer says you'll get the best price by waiting after Christmas, or accepting last year's model.

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