Ahh, Black Friday.
Nothin’ like a greed-fueled spree of racing through stores and beating others to the register to close out your day of thanks and giving.
A telling denouement, indeed.
That’s not to say I live above our American consumer culture. Nope, those discounts and BOGO holiday deals prod my inner shopping demon just as much as they do yours.
I LOVE Black Friday. I eat those deals UP.
But if you do too, then you’ve got to be careful. You can be suckered into some pretty silly purchases if you don’t do your research.
What you SHOULD buy on Black Friday:
Not necessarily at the Apple store itself, but big-box retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy offer some pretty great deals.
- Target is offering a $250 gift card for activating an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus with Verizon, Sprint or AT&T. The iPad plus will sell for about $530, a discount of about $120 or 19 percent.
- Walmart is offering a $300 gift card for various iPhone activations and you can schedule your appointment in advance! It will also sell the 32 GB iPhone 6 for $70 (down $129) through Straight Talk Wireless.
- Best Buy is offering up to $200 in savings for activating the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus but not in the form of gift cards. Instead, the savings will come via discounted monthly installment plans.
Technology products in general
Black Friday can offer some spectacular tech deals, but that comes with a hefty price: lining up on Thanksgiving day.
Prior to store openings, sales associates will begin handing out tickets to those in line. Those tickets correspond to the number of TVs (or laptops or cameras or other hot items) the store has available. You could wait near the back of the line for hours and not even realize you missed the sale.
Try to shop with knowledge of exactly what you want. Rather than “TV,” think about what brand you want or what specs you think are vital.
Some stores will offer SMOKIN’ deals on gargantuan 4K-display TVs, but then you read the reviews and find out the TVs crap out within a year, or the audio blows. Like this one from Target that will be sold for $250 on Black Friday but typically retails for $650; Reviewed.com says its quality is totally terrible and, even with the discount, it’s probably not worth it.
Unless you’re getting married soon, these likely won’t be gifted to you by family or friends. And unfortunately, every household needs a good vacuum cleaner. And coffee maker.
Walmart’s main deal is the Kitchen-Aid mixer on sale for $200, down $160 from $360.
Target is offering up to 20 percent off various appliances, but if you ask me, that’s a pretty lame discount for the No. 1 shopping day of the year.
Best Buy, however, is coming in strong. Scroll through its Black Friday sale page, and it’s quite impressive! Many items are 50 percent off.
- The Gourmia slow cooker is $50, down from the original $110 price tag.
- The Waring Pro toaster oven is 50 percent off ($60), and while there are no reviews on Best Buy, Amazon users give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
- The retailer is also offering up to 40 percent off big appliances like ovens and refrigerators. Some items even come with a free Google Home.
- Playstation 4 Slim 1TB Console + Playstation VR Headset: $549.99 (Save $137): This bundle is the perfect “big” gift if you want to get them a new console too.
- This drone (DJI Spark Mini in Alpine White): $399.99 (Save $100): Reviewed.com says this is the lowest price they’ve seen for this drone. If you kids love watching famous YouTubers like Casey Neistat, and have aspirations to do the same, then they’ll love this.
- Barbie Malibu Ave 2-Story Mall with 2 Dolls: $49.99 on eBay (Save $60): This Barbie play-set is more than half off from Mattel’s official eBay store right now.
- Target is offering buy 2, get 1 free board games and video games: Including games like Strangers Things Monopoly, The Oregon Trail Card Game, Jenga, Madden 2K17, Destiny 2 and more.
What you should NOT buy on Black Friday:
Items with mail-in rebate discounts
Don’t kid yourself. You’re NOT going to mail it in. You WILL forget, just like you did last year. Just give it up. Those companies prey on vulnerable, forgetful budget shoppers like you.
Little rinky dink items for your phone or car are discounted at various times throughout the year. Do NOT let them be a priority on Black Friday.
What you should MAYBE buy on Black Friday:
Nerdwallet.com (and common sense) says stores typically offer the biggest price-cuts (sometimes as big as 50 percent off) closer to Dec. 25. Right now, most stores offer in the ballpark of 15 to 30 percent off.
But here’s the deal:
Waiting to put up holiday decor sucks. And it’s pretty much not an option when you have kids. You want to start making memories asap! So if you need decor NOW, then I vote you go and get it while there is at least some sort of sale on it. If you have some stuff to get you by or you’re looking to re-vamp your decorations for next season, then hold on and shop later.
Home Decor & Clothing
I’m probably biased because these two items are my favorite things to shop for. But the truth is, there are so many days throughout the year when these things are on major sale. So unless you really need it, don’t prioritize it.