I hate crowds.  I'm slightly claustrophobic.  But I love to save money.  And I love getting gifts for others.  So that's why I have transformed from a Black Friday-phobe into a Black Friday shopper.  I've only gone a few years now, but it's a nice tradition my friend and I have started.  We search out the stuff we want, coordinate a plan, and head out at midnight.  But are we really saving money by shopping on Black Friday?  Well if you're one of the shoppers who camp out all night before Black Friday in hopes of nabbing a huge deal when the doors swing open, experts say you've been duped!

Pricing data from more than 50 retailers shows that the best time to find a bargain is not necessarily on Black Friday.

The study shows that the best time to buy flat-screen TVs is now, in October, before prices start to creep up for the holiday. The smartest time to purchase a Citizen men's black watch is in early March. UGG boots are cheapest in September or October.

Some Black Friday deals are a big discount, but only on some items, and quantities are typically very limited.

An expert said that retailers are using the promise of deals and doorbusters to get people through their doors, even at the cost of losing money on the sale. The hopes of drumming up business for other products that aren't priced at such steep discounts is the real reason for Black Friday sales.