CHICAGO (CBS) — This might be the hardest time of the year to “Survive This Economy.” The holiday meals, travel and all that holiday shopping really add up.

Remember the Wrights? They are a suburban couple with four kids and – like millions of other families – they will be shopping this Black Friday.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker sat down with the Wrights to talk about the secrets to saving money this week, including something you can do to cut your shopping bill when you’re in the actual store.

Marcus Wright is making the family’s Christmas list and it’s lot shorter than last year’s.

“This is first year that no friends or family will be on the list, you know, with the exception of my mom and Sinora’s mom (his wife’s mother),” Wright said. “No nieces or nephews this year. I just can’t handle it financially right now. So, yeah, I feel kind of bad because this will be the first year in a long time that I’ve said that I’m not getting, you know, nieces and nephews things, but I have to be smart.”

Wright said he figures he spent about $1,000 last year on Christmas gifts for the family, buying toys, clothes, electronics, and more.

“A little over a thousand last year. … I want to cut that in half,” Wright said.

Shopping expert Bradley Wasz is just the person to help.

His first tip was for shoppers to sign up for the TGI Black Friday app, where you can compare prices among dozens of retailers. At the top of Wright’s list is a crockpot.

Wright found one at Target for $19 and, scrolling through the ads, he found a larger one at Wal-Mart for $9.44.

“With these apps and being able to price compare before I walk out the door Thursday night … it’s gonna be great,” Wright said. “I can actually plan my strategy to go to stores that are near each other, instead of going from one to the next and I can plan it out, right from the app.”

Another tip from Wasz was to become a fan of a store’s Facebook page or Twitter account, because they often promote discounts.

As the founder of, Wasz advised Wright to visit the site and buy discount electronic gift cards. They are cards from people who never used them and don’t want them.

You’ll save an average of 10 to 15 percent on an electronic card and add that to your Black Friday deals.

“Just open up your email on your smart phone and use the gift card while shopping,” Wasz said.

Those are things that I didn’t think about, those are things that I didn’t even know. So, I mean, I appreciated him. I appreciate you for bringing him out,” Wright said. “I mean, that’s great. I’m gonna get a crockpot for 10 bucks. That just blew my mind.”

We’ll let you know if Wright reaches his goal to save $500 this Christmas. So far, the family has saved $137.00

They did that just by calling their credit card company and pointing out that they’ve been longtime customers who pay their cards on time.

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