Black Friday sales have never been enough to entice me to brave the crowds after Thanksgiving. I'm just not that dedicated to shopping. After-Christmas sales, however, are another story. Sometimes those sales are just too good to pass up.

If you're planning to take advantage of some of those great sales, you may want to see if there are any deals out there for energy-efficient purchases—but time is running out if you want to get a tax credit when you file your 2009 taxes in April. You have just four days to make your purchase for this year's tax credit. See the products that are eligible for federal energy-efficient tax credits.

Don't forget to save your receipts and Manufacturer's Certification Statement, which certifies that the product meets requirements for the tax credits. You can usually find it on the manufacturer's Web site, or call them directly. Learn from my experience—I almost bought the wrong product—and make sure anything you buy meets those requirements!

If you can't make your purchase in the next three days, though, not to worry. The tax credits are still available through 2010, and some (for products like geothermal heat pumps, solar energy systems, wind energy systems, and fuel cells) are available through 2016.

If it's appliances you're in the market for, you may want to wait until your state's appliance rebate program has started to make a purchase. See information about the rebate program and your state's details.

Finally, don't forget to check with your utility and state for other available incentives. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency is a good place to check.

Happy shopping, and Happy New Year!

Allison Casey is a senior communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.