If you thought Black Friday's deals looked a little less generous this year, you're not wrong, according to one expert. But that doesn't mean you can't be savvy with your shopping.
"I think this is as good as it's going to get this holiday season," Jean Chatzky, CEO and cofounder of Her Money Media and partner of American Home Shield, said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "We know the season started early ... the deals have been coming for a month. One of the things that we're realizing is that they are going to be lower in value than they were last year."
Chatzky noted that most discounts will be about 5% lower than in previous years, citing research from Adobe.
"If you find something that you want, it's really important to snag it, because we're still having supply chain issues, and inventories are leaner than we've seen them in the past," she said. "You may not be able to pick it up tomorrow."
She also shared five other tips to help navigate holiday shopping.
#1. Know what you're getting
"Sometimes there is merchandise produced just for the holiday season that lacks some of the bells and whistles that go along with the products at other times," Chatzky said, noting that televisions and other electronics are "skinnied down a little bit" to sell at doorbuster prices.
"If you're buying an appliance, if you're buying a big electronic because you want those bells and whistles, you've got to be really careful that you are reading exactly what you're getting," she added.
#2. Track pricing history
Retailers often will raise prices so that they can lower prices to make a deal look better.
Chatzy recommends using a price tracker like CamelCamelCamel to help you find out if the price is actually a good deal.
"Sometimes they slap the word 'sale' on things or '25% off,' and we're not sure whether we're actually getting a deal or not," she said. "But the internet is a really good friend at times like these because it can give you the history of what things have sold for in the past."
#3. Shop with the right credit card and coupons
"If you have a cashback credit card in your wallet, if that's your reward of choice, then you want to make sure that you're getting the most out of it," Chatzky said.
Also, use a browser plug-in that surfs for coupons when you shop. That way, you don't have to spend your time Googling for the latest coupon.
"I have Honey on my computer," she said. "I use it all the time and collect points along the way."
#4. Don't count discounts until you have them
American shoppers leave about $500 million a year in untapped rebates because they simply don't fill out the paperwork to get the discount, Chatzy said.
"Make sure that if you know yourself well enough to know that you're not going to fill the paperwork out for that rebate," she said, "because we get the item home, we look at the paperwork, we're happy we have the product, and we just don't [fill it out] and say we did. And that's money lost."
#5. Be patient
Some items you may not want to snag right away, such as seasonal items like winter clothes that will likely go on sale later in the season.
"And there are a couple of smaller e-tailers that I like ... I know that they will eventually send me a coupon," Chatzky said. "I'm waiting for that coupon to hit my inbox, and I'm not going to buy before."