Lining up for that 5 a.m. doorbuster and logging on to your favorite website for a cyber shopping spree both have their perils. And this year, consumer savings watchdog Andrea Woroch warns, you’ll need to shop even smarter if you want the best deals. “When you see those sale signs that scream ‘up to 70 percent off,’ that store may only have one item that is 70 percent off, and the rest is 30 percent off,” says Andrea.

Another retail trick? The false sense of urgency stores create by bombarding shoppers with ads. “Technology has sped up the pace of Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says Andrea. “Retailers are able to promote all of these deals instantaneously. It’s getting people to feel like these deals are really amazing, when, in fact, these are the same deals of yesteryear. It’s no different,” she says, adding some Old Navy and Gap stores will swing open their doors on Thanksgiving Day to lure shoppers even earlier.

So how can you maneuver past these money-zapping pitfalls? Andrea says outline a budget and do research beforehand. “On Thursday, every store will have their Black Friday circular online,” she says. “Also iPhone apps SnapTell and RedLaser let you compare competitor prices in-store. If you don’t have a smart phone, print the competitor’s prices and bring it in.” Andrea also urges shoppers to ask a manager or sales associate to match, or beat, prices. “Home Depot and Sears are even taking it a step further. They will not only match the price, but are willing to give you an additional 10 percent off!” she tips.

But if you want to skip the crush of Black Friday altogether, Andrea tells readers to bookmark her go-to list of Cyber Monday’s biggest deals…