Nov. 28, 2008 -- Shoppers, ready your elbows.
The post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday is here, and despite today's tough times, chances are you will be confronted with sizeable crowds as you hunt for retail bargains: Up to 128 million people are expected to hit U.S. stores today and this weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.
Stores, meanwhile, are eagerly anticipating droves of holiday-minded shoppers by upping the ante on their traditional Black Friday discounts, both in their brick-and-mortar locations and online.
When it comes to sales, "this year is pretty strong compared to previous years," said John Vincent, founder of the Web site BlackFriday.info.
"With the current state of the economy, I think that the retailers are hurting, too," Vincent said. "They know shoppers are looking for bargains. They're trying to provide sales and really offer shoppers good products at great prices."
So where can you find those great prices? ABCNews.com consulted with Vincent, Michael Brim at bfads.net and Angela Johnson of yourcouponbuddy.com to find some of the best deals around today.
But first, buyer, beware: Many stores are opening before dawn today and if you wait too long, some of these discounted goods might sell out. Retailers also post many of their Black Friday deals online, but those, too, are typically up early in the morning and don't always last all day.
Here are some of the bargains we found:
Sony Playstation 3 Package 80 GB Package with "Casino Royale" Blu-ray movie and "Ratchet and Clark Future" game for $399.99
50 percent off Nintendo Wii accessories
Philips Sonicare Essence Electric Toothbrush, sale price at $49.99, or $39.99 with $10 coupon. Regularly priced at $82.99
Kohl's 50 percent off entire stock of toys
Garmin Nuvi 200W GPS system for $120, $100 off regular retail price
DVDs as low as $3.98 and $4 toys
Magnavox Blu-ray player, $128
Hundreds of toys for $10
Not up to shopping till you drop today? Don't despair -- while some of the most-discounted items will likely sell out today, many sales will continue into the weekend and new one-day sales will continue to pop up before Christmas.
Shoppers "don't need to rush and buy everything right now," said Michelle Jones, a money-saving expert and the publishing editor of BetterBudgeting.com. "They can pace themselves and buy what they can afford this month and the sales will continue and they will be able to take advantage of more sales in the coming weeks."
It's also important to remember that you can find great prices outside of time-specific sales, said Michael Miller, the author of the "Bargain Hunter's Secrets to Online Shopping." Many retailers' Web sites, including those for Macy's, Sears, Land's End and LL Bean, have special clearance sections, Miller said.
"Look on their menu bars for something that says clearance or overstock," he said. "Often times, there are some really good bargains there and often people forget to shop there."
When shopping online, Miller warned, make sure to factor in shipping and handling fees when figuring out the best deal. For instance, an item that may initially appear lower priced on one Web site but has a shipping and handling fee, he said, could ultimately prove more expensive than a higher priced item on a Web site with free shipping.