Thanksgiving may be the start of the holiday season, but Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

With inflation still high, and the pandemic still a concern, knowing some tips and trends may come in handy before shoppers spend their money.

Mark Cohen, a director of retail studies at Columbia Business School, shared his expertise and a bit of a warning with NY1.

“I think a lot of consumers have offloaded a lot of credit card debt during COVID. And now they’re essentially looking forward to a more normal holiday. But big caution because if they load up their credit cards again, there’s a rude awakening because of the increase in interest rates which has been upon us,” he said.

Cohen also said that with the ongoing pandemic, buying gifts online is a safer option. However, he did mention for shoppers to make sure they know how to accept the packages so they’re not stolen from their building or porch.

He added that shoppers don’t need to rush to buy items on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, because he expects discounts to deepen as the month goes on.