You probably can't use credit cards in the final weeks, when large discounts come into play.All sales are final: Since the store is going out of business, sales are usually final.

There are bound to be a large number of store liquidation sales this year, but you'd be smart to skip them.

Circuit City ( CC) recently announced it had hired liquidators to sell off its inventory.

If you have trouble with that big-screen TV or gadget, the store isn't going to help you.

Especially for expensive items, it may not be worth the risk if you are only saving a few dollars.

The prices aren't that good: When people hear the words "liquidation sale," they assume the main purpose is to get rid of merchandise quickly, meaning cheaply.

While moving the inventory is one goal, it's not the primary goal. Since "liquidation sales" usually last several months -- Circuit City's will last till the end of March -- there is no incentive to slash prices from the outset.

Good deals can usually be found at the end of a liquidation sale, but only on items that aren't in high demand.

Don't be fooled into thinking that, just because a business is being sold through liquidation, it guarantees a good price. Or better yet, skip the liquidation sales altogether and spend your money on things that are on your need list.

Those "75% off or more" discounts that you are imagining won't arrive until the final week of the liquidation sale -- a time when anything you would really want will already be long gone. There are limited forms of payment: The way you can pay for merchandise at a liquidation sale can be limited.

If you still feel you must go to the liquidation sale because you are sure prices will be good, do your homework. Checks, coupons and gift cards probably won't be accepted.

You need to take extra care since you won't be able to return it.