Last week we provided an overview of how to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We covered topics such as:
Setting expectations with friends and family
How to create a budget for your shopping
Tools and tricks to find great deals
Creating a list going into the events
That last topic is once of the most important, so we’re going to provide a quick reminder.
Have a list of interest items going in and stick to it.
Remember that “savings” from sales aren’t really savings if you weren’t already planning on buying an item. It can be easy to see an interesting product that you can picture yourself owning with a seemingly good price and add it to your cart without thinking. This is what retailers like Amazon count on: impulse purchases. When the item arrives in 1-2 shipping days, you may have some buyer’s remorse.
The good news is that you can avoid this by keeping a shopping list of items you normally buy or have been looking for a good deal on (household items you often buy at the grocery store, a new tablecloth because your old one is showing its age, a replacement for your dying toaster, etc.). Using this list you can have the best of both worlds: great deals and planned for purchases.
Today, we’re going to answer a great question about Black Friday asked by one of our community members: What’s worth buying on Black Friday? (and what’s not?)
The Best Things to Buy on Black Friday
There are lots of great deals to find, but always make sure you shop around a little online and use tools such as Keepa and CamelCamelCamel to make sure it really is a deal. Something else to remember is that many of these items go on sale throughout the year so even if you miss out today, there will be other great sales.
Apple is not known for offering discounts on products; Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the few sales where you can find them significantly discounted. Many major retailers offer good deals on the latest models and great deals on older models they are trying to move off the shelves. Walmart, Target, and Best Buy all have great deals on iPhones this year.
Electronics (TVs, Tablets, and other devices)
Black Friday has long been one of the best shopping days for TVs, though quantities are often limited in-store and it is difficult to catch one of the doorbusters. Instead, we suggest reviewing TV prices online and looking up non-doorbuster sales. Tablet sales are similarly great to keep an eye our for. Smartphones are heavily discounted this year, whether they be iPhones, Samsung, or Google. Almost anywhere you look will have a good or great deal running. Make sure what you’re buying is actually of good quality.
Gaming System Bundles (Except Nintendo Switch)
If you have a gamer you’re buying for, this is one of the best weekends of the year to pick up a new console with some games. Do some research on the bundle beforehand though: Many of the Nintendo Switch Lite Bundles may be shipping with older versions of the handheld console and the Nintendo Switch bundles have been underwhelming.
Large home appliances often are heavily discounted (though three-day holiday weekends are also great times to buy them!) Small appliances are on sale at very competitive prices nearly everywhere.
Check airlines and online sites for some very competitive pricing.
What to Skip on Black Friday
While there may be tempting looking offers in the ads, certain product categories aren't worth you time.
There are great deals on some toys and if you see an item already on your shopping list it may be worthwhile to pick it up. However, most of the best toy sales are December.
While you can find decent deals on Black Friday, you may have better luck purchasing on in August during back to school sales.
While tempting, the lowest prices on bedding and linens appear in January. If you can hold off until then sales to hit as low as 70% off.
Mattresses are best priced on President’s day sales and during the summer holidays.
These tend to be best priced right near the end of summer or during Labor Day sales. Another option are “Spring Black Friday” sales which many home improvement stores run.
Furniture tends to be best purchased in late December or in January during this time of year and in July
While there can be many great sales, we advise waiting until later in December. Often you can find sales that are close to the same discounts and have the time to try clothes on and make sure you are getting the right sizes. Another consideration is that many doorbusters are of poor quality and will wear out quickly.
These will hit the clearance rack immediately after the holiday season is over. Stock up then!
The best deals tend to be near the end of the year or during three-day holiday weekends (Labor Day and Memorial Day)
A Final Note: Skip Mail-in Rebates
Always read the fine print on deals. Some small appliances, electronics, and other items may require you to fill out a mail-in rebate. This means that you must front the cost of purchasing the item and then remember to mail the rebate form in along with a copy of your receipt. There often is also a time limit to do so. During a crazy holiday season this may not be the best option.
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