Holiday shopping tips from Decide.comBefore Black Friday hits, I’m already busy tackling my holiday shopping. It’s no surprise that tech is at the top of a lot of my family’s lists. In other words, it’s even more essential that I’m getting the best deal possible when I hit the stores.

Thankfully, the wonderfully helpful (now our sponsor, hooray!) is all about making finding awesome discounts on your tech holiday gifts easier than ever.

With their help, we’ve put together 5 handy tips on how to make better shopping decisions as you gear up for the big shopping season, all of which you can do using the site and their amazing new, free app. Seriously, you won’t want to go holiday tech shopping without it.

[Don’t miss our tips and an amazing $5000 giveaway after the jump]

1. Shop around for best price. Duh, right? 

We know this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall in love with the shiny gadget on the shelf and buy it on the spot. Plus, we all know that retailers do things like compare their “sale price” to an “actual retail price” that isn’t actually a retail price. Make sure you do a little research before you buy–that’s why it’s so handy to have your smart phone as you shop.

2. Is last year’s model outdated?

In a lot of cases, you don’t necessarily need the newest and greatest.  But in some cases, companies stop lending support to older operating systems and gadgets. Why buy a vacuum on sale if you can’t get replacement filters closer than Japan, right? Our tip: If the price on last year’s model looks too good to be true, it might be worth spending the extra money to get the newest version.

Shopping for the best deal with Decide3. Don’t let a sales guy (or gal) talk you into it!

While we like to believe that sales reps really do want to help you find the right gift, keep in mind that they’ve got their own motivations. We’ve done our own little sneaky store checks on tech, and found clerks who tell us things that were totally wrong–like showing us last year’s model and saying it’s this year’s. (Seriously!) Was it intentional? Maybe, and maybe not. Still, it’s good to get a second opinion online.

4. Read the reviews. (Like, say…ours?)

When it comes to cameras, laptops, and even household appliances, there are so many makes and models, some with really minor differences. If you’re unsure as to what’s best for you, we can’t recommend enough that you browse trusted reviews.

Bonus tip: Don’t just go by the star rating; sometimes people give something a bad review because oh, like they didn’t like the color of the box. People online are weird sometimes. But you know that.

5. The best deals aren’t always on Black Friday 

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can be tempting, crunch last year’s sales numbers, and you realize that deals may drop soon after. Particularly for cameras, laptops, and tablets, the first week of December, 2010, saw the very best prices. If history repeats itself, you might want to hold tight until then. 

Find shopping deals with the Decide app6. Bonus! Use the free app to do all the work for you

Check to see the lowest prices online or even at nearby stores. Get product ratings and reviews all in one handy place. Even better, the app (also for Android) lets you scan barcodes and QR codes while you’re in the store (or search by model number) and get price predictions. Should you wait, or buy now? It’s like your own tech shopping crystal ball and we love it.