KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Some of us wait all year for the Black Friday shopping season. But don’t let all the Black Friday hype fool you.

Gone are the days when Black Friday simply meant checking the Sunday circulars to see which local retailers had the best deals. Now, you have to start early.

Black Friday has morphed into a whole month of deals and savings, and online retailers update prices throughout the event. To judge how good the actual sales really are, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday. So, do your homework. Only rookies head out on Black Friday unprepared.

FULL LIST: Black Friday store opening times in Knoxville

Getting ready means studying the ads in print and online. You’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ad scans at,, and

And compare prices. If you spot a great deal at one retailer, go to or, and don’t forget Google Shopping and There are also a growing number of apps, such as ShopSavvy and BuyVia.

Read More: The Best Black Friday 2017 Deals

Being a loyal shopper can pay off. Stores often have loyalty programs that offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy.

And, signing up for Black Friday shopping alerts will get you the early word on promotions, coupons, and discounts.

Black Friday is the time to get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions.

Retailers will often reward customers who “like” or “follow” them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives. And of course tweets and social media posts are an easy way to share Black Friday shopping intel with your friends.