Just in time for Black Friday, keep these tips in mind when you are out shopping this holiday season.

Check return policies, some stores offer extended returns for holiday purchases others may not.

For big ticket items or pricey gadgets, credit cards often offer protections beyond the return policy, some cover lost or stolen goods, add time to the warranty and/or refund the difference if a lower price is found after your purchase.

Pay attention to shipping policies and delivery time frames, you want to make sure you have the item in time for your gift giving.

Do your homework and comparison-shop in advance. Door busters and Black Friday deals aren’t always as good as the hype.

If connected devices are on your list look into privacy policies, how they use your data, and their compatibility with your existing tech before you buy. Return policies for tech devices are often different and you might end up having to pay a restocking fee.

If you do get a new tech item remember to change the default password during set-up.

Brick and mortar stores are increasingly tracking shoppers through the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on their devices. When not in use turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Holiday Mail Deadlines:

With Christmas Day on a Monday this year, and no Sunday delivery packages will need to arrive by Sat. December 23rd.

For the Contiguous US & Alaska

First Class – Dec. 19

Priority – Dec. 20

Express – Dec. 22

For Hawaii

First Class – Dec. 15

Priority – Dec. 15

Express – Dec. 20

For most APO mail the Priority mail deadline is Dec. 11, some zip codes are as early as Dec. 4.