When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday – those post-Thanksgiving shopping days – there’s no doubt that many of you are out snapping up holiday gifts. CNNMoney notes that last year, Americans spent $52.4 billion on Black Friday weekend – up from $45 billion in 2010. Plus, according to Forbes, last year:

  • Consumers spent a record amount: $11.4 billion on the Friday after Thanksgiving alone.
  • A record number of shoppers broke out their wallets that weekend: 226 million people, compared to 212 million in 2010.
  • Mobile purchasing tripled during the weekend: 9.8 percent of online sales, compared to 3.2 percent in 2010.
How to Take Advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

So, we know you’re shopping. But are you getting the best deals? Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive, make sure you know where to find the best sales.

Here are some places to start:

Black Friday Sites

Some sites exist solely to promote Black Friday deals. Black Friday and Black Friday Ads are just a couple of sites that offer the latest roundups of sales, along with news and other features.

Shopping Engines

You can find Thanksgiving weekend deals from the major retailers just by going to the right search engines. Yahoo!, for instance, offers a page just for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. You can also search for offers through shopping engines like Amazon, which features a Black Friday page, and eBay, which featured Daily Deals last year on its homepage.

Mobile Apps

Looking to find deals on the go? There’s an app for that – several, in fact. Shopping site TheFind offers its own free app for iPhone ®  that lets you comparison-shop right at the mall. Google Shopper (iPhone ®) features daily offers and nearby deals, and even lets you scan barcodes for product information.

Niche Sites

If you’re looking to buy specific products, you may want to check out lifestyle sites that focus exclusively on those product categories. For instance, in the past, the InStyle magazine site has published articles like “Black Friday 2011: All the Deals You Need to Know.” If you’re more interested in consumer electronics goods than fashion, tech blogs like Gizmodo often offer tips on Black Friday deals for its like-minded readers.

And while you’re shopping, keep in mind a few more things. First, make sure you know the suggested retail price of the on-sale item – prices can become inflated before the sale in order to justify a “discount,” according to MSNBC. Also, be careful when it comes to buying accessories, the news site adds. If you’re buying a big box item, like a TV, be smart about buying supplements like cables. While you may get a huge discount on the television, the price of accessories may be considerably higher than what you’d find on sites like Amazon or eBay.

Will you be shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? What kind of deals will you be looking for?