Black Friday Guide: Smart and Stupid Purchases

October 21, 2014 by Kyle
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(Updated 12/08/18) Black Friday is dead. There, I said it, and the earth amazingly continues to revolve around the sun. OK, there are some exceptions when it does makes sense to make a purchase on Black Friday. But these exceptions are becoming fewer and fewer every year.

As a general rule, I am a huge advocate of Christmas shopping all year long as it allows you to only buy when you find a screaming deal. Then when December rolls around it greatly reduces your stress level as you have most, if not all, of your holiday shopping done. Since we are still a few weeks away from the infamous Black Friday weekend, I figured it was time to officially document when you’ll be able to get the best deal on specific items on your gift list. Use this information to plan your Black Friday shopping this year and you’ll definitely maximize your savings.

Black Friday Guide: Smart and Stupid Purchases

Important Note: I should also add that when I say “Buy on Black Friday” I am talking about the entire Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Be on the lookout for deals (both online and in-store) on all of those days, which now unfortunately includes Thanksgiving day.

Stupid Black Friday Buys

Name Brand Televisions

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. Sure there are always some screaming deals on TV’s on Black Friday. The problem is the brands you’ll find on sale are typically unrecognizable. Along with the 3rd tier brands come questionable specs and quality. If you’re a college student and looking for a disposable TV from Best Buy for your dorm room you’ll want to head out BF morning. If you’re looking for a quality TV that will hold up for the long run, you’ll want to look for deals right after Christmas through February. The reasoning is new models are typically released in late January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Plus, sellers always offer sweet deals around the Super Bowl. Both of these reasons will help you score a sweet deal on a high quality brand like Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic.

Popular Christmas Toys

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. Instead, wait until 2 weeks before Christmas as they are notoriously lower in price than on BF weekend. Sure, you might see some deals sprinkled in the Black Friday ads but none as good if you wait a couple weeks.

Fitness Equipment

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. Always wait until January to shop for fitness equipment. Retailers notoriously offer some great sales and incentives to folks looking to get in shape as a New Year’s resolution. Look for products like elliptical machines, treadmills, and weight machines to be offered at up to 50% off in early January at Sports Authority and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Winter Apparel

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. Deals will NOT be abundant in late November as retailers take advantage of a cold and captive audience for jackets, hoodies, boots, and parkas. When it comes to scoring deals on apparel, the general rule is that it is always the most expensive during the season it is being worn. Wait until the last few weeks of winter and you’ll easily save 50% off that next coat or pair of boots.

Large Appliances

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. New model refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens hit the sales floor in September and October. Because of this, you might be able to find a good deal on last year’s models on Black Friday but new models are typically not discounted very much. Smaller kitchen appliances like microwaves, blenders, and mini fridges will be on sale at Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Tools and Hardware

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. Unless you absolutely need them, power tools are a much better deal during the few weeks leading up to Father’s Day. Our research has shown that Father’s Day coupons and sales on cordless drills, table saws, routers, and the like, are 30% better than Black Friday weekend. If you can afford to wait you’ll save some significant money.

DSLR Cameras

  • Don’t Buy on Black Friday. Buy your high-end DSLR camera in February after the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. You’ll be able to score a sweet deal on last seasons model as retailer discount them heavily in order to make room for the newest and greatest models. If a slick little point and shoot digital camera is in your future, then there will be plenty of deals to pick from on Black Friday. Also, be sure to check eBay the days right after BF as many of the door-buster camera deals will be up on eBay as wanna-be entrepreneurs try to turn a quick buck.

Smart Black Friday Buys

3rd Tier Televisions

  • Buy on Black Friday. Many of your doorbuster BF deals are on 3rd tier televisions. Last year saw some pretty crazy deals. 42″ HDTV’s in the $300 range. I’ve actually seen a couple predictions that included a 32″ HDTV in the $75 range and a 4K TV under the $400 price point. But be prepared to settle for brands you have never heard of in most cases. A Best Buy employee actually just told me that most of the door-buster TV’s they get for Black Friday are specifically made for that day and are not of good enough quality to stock all year long. Yes, the deals are often amazing but know what you are getting. Buyer beware.

Clearance Apparel

  • Buy on Black Friday. Retailers really start slashing their fall clothing lines every Black Friday weekend. We are talking like 65% to 75% off at stores like Old Navy, American Eagle, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Gap. My wife and I regularly stock up for our 3 kids on Black Friday. We’ll buy a size or 2 up and store until the following autumn. With savings in the 75-80% off range it just makes sense. Plus, if you prefer to stay at home on Black Friday and sleep in, just shop on Cyber Monday when you’ll see the best online coupons of the year at online clothing and apparel retailers.

Budget Laptops

  • Buy on Black Friday. Last BF we saw budget laptops from Dell ($177 at Best Buy) and the 14″ Chromebook for $179. Look for similar deals this year. These systems usually come equipped with a 14″ or 15″ screen and a dual core processor and RAM in the 2-4 GB range. If you’re not doing any serious gaming, video editing, or going to be running a bunch of programs at once, they will definitely suffice.

Tablets

  • Buy on Black Friday. Tablets from brands like Samsung, Microsoft, and Lenovo have been a major draw in recent years and the deals have been pretty amazing. This year look for the Samsung Galaxy 4 tablet to drop to $99 on Black Friday (currently $179.99 at Best Buy.com). Also, Amazon.com will be running big deals on their Kindle Fire tablet. Black Friday is an excellent day to score a deal. Also, look for the iPad Air 2 to be $100 off at Best Buy.

Apple Products (Except the iPhone 6)

  • Buy on Black Friday. In 2013, there was only one day when Apple products were on sale almost across the board. Any guesses? Yes, it was Black Friday. The discounts were modest bot definitely noteworthy: $41 off the iPad Air and iPad 2, $21 off the iPod touch, $101 off the MacBook Air, $101 off the MacBook Pro with Retina display and $101 off the popular iMac. Just be sure to not shop at the Apple Store as deals at stores like Walmart and Best Buy will be better. Look for both retailers to offer significant gift cards with an Apple purchase to entice Black Friday shoppers.

Home/Kitchen Goods & Decor

  • Buy on Black Friday. Deals are always abundant on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Great time to stock up if you’re not brand specific. You might not find a screaming deal on All Clad and Calphalon but cheaper brands will really have their prices slashed.

Xbox One and PS4 Games

  • Buy on Black Friday. According to many gaming websites the single best day to pick up a screaming deal on new and older games is on Black Friday weekend. Look for new titles to drop by 20-30% and older titles to really be cleared out and sold for up to 75% off. Also, if you are cool with pre-owned titles Gamestop will probably offer the same offer as last year of “Buy 2 used products, get 1 Free”.

Ask the Reader: What’s your Black Friday strategy this year? Will you be hitting the stores or hanging at home with the family and eating those delicious leftovers? As for me…I’ll probably end up doing a little bit of both.


By Kyle James

Photo by Erwin Bernal.

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