The countdown is on to the what retailers hype as the best shopping day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving dubbed by Americans as ‘Black Friday’—represents the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. However, given the explosion of retail competition and the Internet in the past several years, Black Friday is really not what it used to be. And if you’re not careful, you can end up spending more than what you planned on poor quality merchandise.

The key to scoring real deals is to go into the holiday shopping season with a pre-game plan. Retail analysts offer this advice: Do the homework by researching deals and create a game plan in advance. In addition to the copious number of direct mail and email offers you’re likely receiving now, don’t forget to checkout social media for exclusive deals as well. Then make a list of the absolute best deals on the items that you need to check off your holiday gift, décor, and entertaining lists.

The bottom line is that while you can certainly find some great deals on Black Friday, you need to be aware that much of the advertising is just hype—so don’t let it overtake your logic when it comes to your spending. Set a Black Friday budget prior to heading out to the stores or to your favorite retail websites, stick to your list, and take a moment to think through your purchases before making them—but by all means, take the opportunity to score some big savings if given the opportunity!