UNDATED - For those of us trying to be thrifty during the holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday hold a lot of appeal.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota says, at times like this, its important for you to think ahead and make smart decisions.

  • Make and stick to a budget - don't spend more than you plan just because you see a lot of good deals.
  • Do some comparison shopping. Many times, stores will advertise something like "70% off," but that doesn't automatically mean you're getting the best deal around.
  • Search for Black Friday coupons ahead of time to increase your savings. Make sure you clearly understand store return policies.
  • When it comes to the Cyber Monday, check to make sure your websites are legitimate. Confirm that your online purchase is safe by looking for the "lock" symbol before entering your credit card information.
  • Be careful of deals that sounds too good to be true - this is prime time for information-stealing scammers, and you may end up paying a lot more than you bargained for.