Deals. Discounts. Savings. Bargains. Whatever you call them, there's an internal joy that most people experience when they find a sought-after item for a good price, and during the holiday season, there's an abundance of marketing aimed at just that. However, not all deals are created equal. You need to know the best time to buy—and when you’re better off not buying a product or service. Use these tips this season to time deals to positively impact your pocketbook:

Take advantage of both online and in-store deals.  Many people know the scenario: You find something you like in a store then you use your smartphone to see how it compares to the online price. While that’s still a reasonable way of thinking, the holidays can make this approach tricky. Depending on how much effort you’re willing to expend to get a deal, in-store shopping may be the route to take. That’s because many retailers offer “first-come,” in-store savings on select quantities of an item, usually well below the online discount, but you have to arrive early on the specified day. You can typically first read details about these bargains in the fine print of store advertisements.

Shop on the right days.  Different items are discounted on different days of the week. Research shows that you can save more on computers and electronics on Mondays and jewelry and groceries on Wednesdays. Looking for the best day to buy clothes? Shop on a Wednesday or Thursday as soon as new deals are announced. You’ll beat the crowds and have a better selection to choose from.

Set up price alerts. Beyond anticipating deals, you can actually be notified when one occurs. Many independent websites offer services to let you know when a store has a sale or an item gets discounted. Some even let you submit the price you’re willing to pay and won’t bother you unless the item drops to your stated purchase price (or below it).

Search for coupon codes. If you ever see a box during a retailer’s online checkout that says “Enter promo code” or something similar, take a step back. Even doing a brief search for coupon codes before you purchase can help you save a significant amount. If searching doesn’t work and you have a little time, follow the retailer on social media sites or sign up for emails, where these codes are typically advertised. (Hint: You can often score a coupon code just for completing the email signup.)

Beware of Black Friday. So-called “doorbusters” the day after Thanksgiving can often be misleading. For instance, several in-store deals can be found online for days (sometimes weeks) after Black Friday. In addition, research shows many of the products discounted can be low end and not products you’d look twice at on any other day. Compare both in-store and online Black Friday deals and see if you can find better products (for a better price) on Cyber Monday and thereafter.

Whatever deals you decide to pursue this season, Navy Federal Credit Union can help. We offer competitive credit cards designed to meet your shopping needs. Some even come with additional benefits like cash back, travel rewards and more. Learn more about using credit wisely and maximizing your credit card rewards as you shop this season.