Traditionally, when one thinks of News Year's Day, football, pork roast and relaxing come to mind. That's not me: I think of shopping.

New Year's Day typically is a great day to find huge discounts on clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories, jewelry, electronics and other popular items. If you don't want to fight the crowds to shop, you'll easily find great deals online, too. Below are some tips for effective shopping:

* Do your homework before you head out. Scan the ads and check the stores' websites to see which ones you want to shop.

* Arrive at the store early to get the best selection of merchandise. Some stores offer early-bird specials.

* Organize and take the ads with you to the stores. If a store has a price-matching policy, you likely will need the ad to get the deal.

* If making a major purchase, ask about interest-free financing. Some stores offer 12- to 18-month interest-free plans.

* Organize your coupons and savings passes. A photo album from a dollar store works well. Have separate ones for grocery, local restaurants and department-store coupons.

* Always try to negotiate a better deal when buying a big-ticket item. Try to get the delivery fee waived, as well as the fee to haul the old item away. Don't be afraid to haggle. All they can do is say no.

* Keep your receipts from your holiday purchases with you when you shop. Many stores will give a price adjustment if an item goes on sale for a lower price within 14 to 30 days.

* Buy next year’s holiday items postseason to get the best deals.

* Before making purchases, ask about a store’s return policy. Otherwise, you could get stuck with an item you might not want after you get home.

For now, happy shopping!

Laurie Dixon, TheBAG Lady