Labor Day weekend has become one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. From major markdowns in the mall to home appliance sales, it’s hard to miss all of the retailers dropping prices.

Between the attractive offers and the bustling crowds, this weekend is great practice for holiday season shopping. It’s also a great time to learn how to discern if the sales you’re shopping are truly helping you save money.

Below are a few tips to remember when shopping today and during other major holiday sales this season.

Make a list: If you’re Christmas shopping, for instance, make a list of what you’re getting and whom you’re getting it for beforehand to avoid overspending and save time.

Create a spending limit: I’m very generous during the holidays. As a result, I set a budget for myself in advance.

Go to the store’s website first: This is a great first step to getting the items on your list. In addition to skipping the crowds, you can often find online-only discount codes on sites such as Retail Me Not beforehand to take advantage of offers you can’t find in stores.

Always compare prices: If there’s a specific item you’re looking for, that’s sold in more than one place, be sure to compare prices on different websites and at different stores.

Tell Me: What are your money-saving holiday season shopping tips?