The final countdown to Black Friday and Cyber Monday has officially begun. While many of us know the key to a successful shopping experience is to plan, plan, plan, knowing how to get the biggest bang for your buck requires a little more work. Basically, if you want to save big it’ll cost you a little extra time to strategize.“While Cyber Monday tends to be the day for better clothing deals, Black Friday is still home to plenty of great deals on clothing and beauty products,” says Sarah Hollenbeck, a shopping and retail expert at blackfriday.com. Below, Hollenbeck breaks down the best bargains and how to make the most out of the two biggest shopping days of the season. ESSENCE: While we know that Black Friday is the day for brick and mortar sales and Cyber Monday is the day for digital deals, what’s the biggest difference between the two days this year?SARA HOLLENBECK: One of the major differences in holiday season sales this year is that a majority of in-store sales are being duplicated online. Meaning you can shop online on Black Friday without having to worry about missing out on some of the biggest sales of the year.ESSENCE: What can we expect for Cyber Monday?HOLLENBECK: Cyber Monday is going to be home to more sitewide discounts, specifically at clothing stores. Old Navy, Gap, ASOS and even Target offer anywhere from 15 percent to 50 percent off your entire purchase, which means you can save big on hundreds of clothing items without having to hunt for product-specific deals like you would on Black Friday. Travel is another category that doesn’t go on sale until Cyber Monday. The stickler with these deals is that they tend to be date and location specific, so you will have to be flexible if you are looking to save a lot on your next vacation.ESSENCE: What tips do you suggest to help women save on and score big for both Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday?HOLLENBECK: Women who are looking to save as much money as possible need to be strategic…. Many retailer doorbuster offers can be too good to be true, so make sure to do research on the brand and its reputation before buying to ensure you aren’t wasting your money on a product that isn’t worth it. Shoppers should also be aware that they can save even more with additional coupons throughout the holiday season. I highly recommend downloading a browser extension that will comb the Web for coupons for you and apply them automatically to your cart [Editors’ note: Hollenbeck recommends this one from offers.com]. That way you can know you are saving as much as you can on Black Friday and Cyber Monday without having to do the searching yourself.