Are Black Friday sales all they are hyped up to be, and are those savings worth potentially missing out on family time, sleep, or sanity?
Likely not. If you hate the idea of massive crowds and late-night parking lot madness, then Black Friday deals probably aren’t worth the hassle for you. If you enjoy a few hours of shopping after your Thanksgiving festivities wind down, then go for it. Just know that whatever you decide, smart shopping strategies will always pay off, and there will be more sales to come.
Be sure to see our 2020 Guide to Black Friday Shoppers’ Guide to find out what deals to look for and which “deals” to skip November 27.
In 2020, deal hunters have even more options to avoid Black Friday crowds and snag deals without stepping foot in a store. Here are our top tips for avoiding crowds when you do your Black Friday shopping.
Shop throughout November.
This year, stores are offering Black Friday-level deals throughout November to stay ahead of the competition and keep crowds at bay. Target is releasing hot deals weekly; Walmart is hosting three separate savings events; and of course Amazon is already offering its epic Black Friday deals right now.
In 2020, people are concerned about shipping delays in December. Shop early, and you’ll be sure to get your purchases shipped in time for the holidays.
However, the recent trend of stores opening on Thanksgiving instead of waiting until the wee hours of Black Friday morning will not continue in 2020. The majority of retailers are staying closed on Thanksgiving Day, though keep an eye out for early doorbusters to pop up online that evening.
Shop Black Friday from your couch.
Many stores offer the same discounts online as they do in-store if you’re willing to set your alarm and log on before the sun comes up. I did this with Kohl’s a couple of years back and scored a super price on a KitchenAid Mixer for my mother-in-law. The best part? I was in my pajamas when I did it, and it was delivered to my doorstep (for free) so I didn’t have to lug it around a super crowded store or parking lot.
In 2020, retailers are definitely promoting online shopping on Black Friday, and will offer the same deals online as in store. In fact, the online deals may be available earlier and for a longer time than they are in stores. Some Black Friday doorbusters will be available for curbside pickup if you want to avoid the crowds, but not wait for delivery.
One caveat — lots of other cyber shoppers will be bargain hunting online after Thanksgiving, so don’t be surprised if sites slow down or even crash when doorbuster sales begin or during peak shopping hours. Some items might also be listed as sold out as it gets later. Check out these apps to help you score those deals.
Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Travel Tuesday.
The Thanksgiving weekend deal bonanza is no longer limited to one 24-hour Black Friday period. Some sales run throughout Thanksgiving weekend and possibly all week.
Small Business Saturday is a great time to shop local, and AMEX typically offers extra incentives to cardholders on this day. Cyber Monday has its own set of deals – often on video games, toys, and clothing – and shouldn’t be ignored. Look for stackable coupons and free shipping offers. Travel Tuesday is typically a great day to find discounts on travel; this year, you will want to look carefully at change and cancellation policies before booking.
In the past, I’ve scored some of my best deals outlet shopping on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. So don’t make it a priority to shop on Friday if it doesn’t fit with your family plans. You’ll have bargain-hunting options all week long.
Wait until after Cyber Week to shop.
Retailers will still be looking for ways to get you to spend more after Black Friday and Cyber Week are finished. In many cases, the “last-minute” and “doorbuster” deals are still coming once the calendar flips to December.
Certain items tend to be cheaper during non-holiday shopping periods, so if you’re not specifically buying for a holiday gift, waiting will save you money.
For example, in-season items – think winter clothing and jackets, snow sports gear, fire pits, holiday decorations – are rarely a good buy on Black Friday. The best deals come after the holidays, usually in January or when stores are moving out winter merchandise to prepare for spring.
For brand name TVs, your best deal will probably show up late in December or January, not on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. (Three years ago, I found a TV/DVD combo in December for $50 less than the price offered on Black Friday.) That said, smart shoppers who pay attention to pricing fluctuations may find some excellent savings on electronics on Black Friday (or during this year’s November sales).
Toy prices typically plummet the closer you get to the holidays. If you don’t need toys as gifts, prices are even better in January.
Gourmet food/ wine packages are also better priced in December, as are small electronics and home appliances. Gift cards are best purchased in December, while linens and bedding are best purchased during January white sales.
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