Okay, we’ve all heard the stories about the $99 TV sets and the cheaper than cheap electronic toys. But what about all those wasted hours standing on line in the cold (and the dark) only to find that the super deal you coveted was sold out? Not surprising since the stock on those doorbuster deals is very limited. Many shoppers (and the stores hope that you’ll be among them) come seeking mega-bargains and end up settling for whatever is in stock. And did you notice that the $99 TV is a third-tier brand — in other words, a brand you’ve probably never heard of?
If you’d like to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday (and not running out of the house at midnight) but still want great bargains, consider:
1. In-store prices are often no better than those you find online. So wouldn’t it make sense to study the ads to see what’s available online and do your shopping at home? This year,Black Friday ads are being leaked all over the place, most specifying what’s available online and at what time you can start shopping. Tablets are this year’s single hottest wish list item. You can fight the crowds and maybe score a modest saving on an Apple item. But if you shop online, you could get a very good deal on an Android tablet. For example, Dell is offering a $50 saving on a new 8-inch Venue tablet. Staples has a similar $50 saving on an Acer Iconia tablet.
2. If you want a brand name television set, your best deal will probably show up late in December, not on Black Friday. (Last year I found a TV/DVD combo for $50 less than the price offered on Black Friday.)
3. Best deals on winter clothing come after the holidays; gourmet food/wine packages are better priced in December; for linens and bedding, wait for white sales in January and February. For the best price on a digital SLR camera, wait until the new models arrive in early 2014, when the one you want will be reduced.
4. Black Friday ads for toys will look good, but the prices will get better the closer you get to Christmas. Unless you’re desperate for holiday cards and wrapping, hold out until January, when you’ll get reductions of 50% up to 90%.
5. The best reason to stay at home: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and others are all competing for your shopping dollars. Many are starting their sales online in advance of Black Friday and extending them through Cyber Monday. Some outlets will offer to price match whatever you see advertised. So do your research, make a plan — and enjoy your Thanksgiving.