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When and where to get the best deals for whatever you're looking for this Black Friday season

Posted: 6:40 AM, Nov 16, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-16 21:43:11Z

Black Friday season is already in motion, but the best deals are supposed to happen next week.

Are you ready? Between Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when will you get the best deals?

According to DealNews, it depends on what you’re looking for, and we have the entire list breaking things down by category.

Shopping for TV’s, tablets, electronics or video games?

Obviously, you'll find deals on all three big shopping days. But typically you'll find your best deals on Thanksgiving Day.

You'll see most of the toy and phone deals on Black Friday. You'll also find more laptop deals that day.

But your bigger discounts on those laptops tend to happen on Cyber Monday. Shop small kitchen appliances, shoes and clothing that day as well.

Remember everything is not a good deal this Black Friday shopping season. DealNews says things to avoid include fitness equipment, tools and jewelry. You'll get better deals throughout December and January.

Bottom-line, there are tons of deals happening this entire Black Friday season so do your research.

Check the ads before you head out and make sure to read the fine print. Below are even more details of when to find what you’re looking for at the best price.

WHEN TO SHOP:

The best day to shop is Thanksgiving. For the past five years, we have seen more quality deals on Thanksgiving than any other day over Black Friday week. That doesn't mean you have to skip dinner with your family to shop on Thanksgiving, these deals will go live online. As long as you know what you are shopping for, and where to go, you can likely secure that deal.

With that said, there are days that are better for certain categories than others. I've broken that down below:

THANKSGIVING:

TVs:

While Black Friday is known for having incredible TV deals (and this year should be no different), last year we saw a greater number of Editors' Choice deals on Thanksgiving. That doesn't mean you have to give up spending time with family; just be sure to find out when stores are dropping the TV deals you want. (Or let us tell you! Set up a deal alert so you'll know exactly when they go live.) If you don't find the TV you want on Thanksgiving, there will be plenty more deals on Black Friday — and Cyber Monday will have its fair share, too.

That said, it never hurts to start shopping early. Be on the lookout for Black Friday-caliber deals as early as November 10. Last year, that's when we saw a 70" 4K drop below $1,000 for the first time ever, and Walmart offered up an all-time low on a 55" 4K TV.

Tablets:

Whether you're shopping in-store or sticking with online sales, the best tablet deals are often short-lived doorbusters. Last year, we saw the highest concentration of noteworthy, Editors' Choice iPad deals on Thanksgiving. And these sales started early — we listed one Best Buy sale on the iPad Air 2 at 3 am ET! Apple fans should load up on coffee and be prepared to hit the sales at the stroke of midnight on Turkey Day. 

Video Games:

Games, consoles, and their accessories will all be featured in deals throughout Black Friday week. Most of the video game deals will fall on Thanksgiving itself. Last year, 74% of all the game deals that day were Editors' Choice-worthy. In fact, across all these categories, 59% of the offers that week were good enough to earn our Editors' Choice seal of approval. 

However, don't wait too long. Once Black Friday has come and gone, gaming deals tend to quickly become nonexistent. Last Cyber Week, there was only one noteworthy deal and it was a PS4 500GB console bundled with one game. The true bargains definitely happen in the lead-up to Black Friday. 

Electronics:

Although it depends on what kind of items you're looking for, in general the best time to shop for electronics will be the week of Black Friday itself. Deals will start early — at least the week before, if not sooner — but the best bargains will be found on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and a couple days before those holidays. Some deals can still be found over Cyber Weekend, but we see a notable drop off after the big day.

BLACK FRIDAY:

Phones:

We saw more deals on Android phones and iPhones on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday, but we continued to see new deals throughout the month of December. That will be especially true of the latest iPhone. So, pay attention during the shopping holidays, but if those iPhone deals don't excite you, then consider waiting until December.

Toys:

You'll see the most toy deals during Black Friday week, and nearly as many the week before. That said, we expect Black Friday itself will be the single best day for toys. Morning will be the best time to shop, too. A few hot items will sell out early, and stores will offer morning-only discounts on other things. 

That said, even if the density of deals drops after Black Friday, that doesn't mean you've missed the best ones. We see the highest percentage of Editors' Choice deals after the Cyber Week lull, during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

 

CYBER MONDAY:

Laptops:

Cyber Monday always tends to have a slight edge over Black Friday when it comes to deals on laptops, and last year was no exception. While Black Friday technically had more deals overall, Cyber Monday had more Editors' Choice deals. That means the discounts were far better on Cyber Monday.

Plus, doorbusters were big on Friday as usual, but they mostly included bargain-build machines rather than the mid-tier models that come on Monday. We're expecting a repeat performance this year, so if you want a better-equipped laptop at an Editors' Choice price, then Cyber Monday is definitely your best bet. 

Travel:

It might not seem like the day to look for deals on travel, but Cyber Monday is an excellent time to book that vacation you've been planning. This is another category where Black Friday had more deals overall, but Cyber Monday ruled when it came to Editors' Choice-worthy selections. In fact, Black Friday only had one single Editors' Choice travel sale, but Cyber Monday had seven.

It's particularly a great time to book hotel stays, vacation packages, and flights. Last year, about 48% of the deals on Cyber Monday were for hotels and vacation packages and 20% were for airfare. Shoppers could save up to 30% off in many cases, and even 50% off in a few deals as well.

Small Kitchen Appliances:

Small kitchen appliances are huge when it comes to Black Friday shopping. They fill the ad after ad, so if you need a new toaster, you might think Friday is the best day to snag one. But actually, your best bet would be on Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday. Both days last year had the same number of Editors' Choice deals, although Cyber Monday still had more kitchen deals overall.

Shoes:

Cyber Monday has been a great day for shoe deals for several years now. While a handful of boot deals will make an appearance, the day seems especially suited for buying more casual styles. Last year, about 54% of the shoe deals on Cyber Monday were for sneakers or athletic shoes. Thanksgiving was also a good day to check out the offerings, but Cyber Monday outpaced it when it came to total number of shoe deals as well as Editors' Choice picks.

Clothing:

While we expect to see a plethora of clothing deals throughout the holiday season, deals should get better and better as Black Friday draws near. That said, the single best shopping day for clothes is Cyber Monday. Last year Cyber Monday had about 50% more Editors' Choice deals than Black Friday or Thanksgiving, and more apparel deals overall.

 

WHAT NOT TO BUY THIS BLACK FRIDAY:

Fitness Equipment:

A few fitness deals may pop up on Black Friday, but don't expect retailers to really flex their muscles until after the new year. It's no secret that many people resolve to get in shape each year, and stores know it. Once the clock turns to 2018, expect deals to match your high expectations for yourself.

Tools:

If you're planning on buying something for the handyperson in your life, hold off on making that purchase until December. While Black Friday will have its fair share of tool deals, in December we expect to see even more drills, hammers, wrenches, and whatnot.

Jewelry:

Although jewelry is a favorite go-to gift — especially when you're bereft of ideas for your special someone — you should only buy it on Black Friday as a last resort. Indeed, last year we saw one lonely deal worthy of our Editors' Choice designation. Instead, wait until January to make your jewelry purchase, and get a head start on Valentine's Day.

Wait until January to make your jewelry purchase, and get a head start on Valentine's Day.

1080p TVs:

This year we're expecting 4K TV prices to be so low, they'll come close to — and in some cases match — prices for 1080p TVs of the same size. As such, if you're looking for a Black Friday TV deal, you'd be better off skipping right by the 1080p deals and going straight for the 4K sets. Even if you don't care about 4K content now, you'll be future-proofed for when it becomes the norm.

Gift Cards

While you can certainly expect to see deals on gift cards during Black Friday, the number of deals will be nothing compared to December, when there should be a virtual avalanche of cards from places like iTunes. Plus, many retailers and (especially) restaurants will offer free gift cards with a minimum purchase.

Winter Clothing

Plenty of clothing will be on sale during Black Friday. But the best deals on cold-weather gear arrive in January when winter clothing is discounted dramatically. Although we expect to see outerwear for at least 50% off in December, you'll be able to score such items for even less if you wait until after the first of the year.

 

HOW TO PREPARE FOR BLACK FRIDAY:

Make a Budget (Now)

First things first: decide how much you can afford to spend on the holiday season. Figure out your must-haves, like gifts or household purchases you've been saving up for. And definitely calculate the maximum amount you absolutely can't go over. Don't forget to account for holiday incidentals like office parties!

Once you've figured out how much you're willing to spend, make a list of all the people you're shopping for. That'll help you dole out appropriate amounts for each gift. Then, get an idea of what you'd like to buy for your recipients. It can be as vague as "clothes," or as specific as "Amazon Kindle Paperwhite."

Check the Ads

Familiarize yourself with the Black Friday ads. Check the circulars for your favorite stores first, but don't ignore the ones from places you might not normally shop! It's easy to buy a new Echo device from Amazon, but stores like Staples or Best Buy could have better savings locally. Make note of any restrictions, including deals that only run until a certain time or on a certain day. 

Craft an In-Store Game Plan

If the idea of hitting the stores doesn't fill you with dread, don't think you can just plunge into it blindly. You still need to craft a game plan. Check the ads for your most wanted items and find the retailers that have the best deals. Then note store opening hours and how long the discounts run — doorbusters are usually available for a limited time. 

Then you have to prioritize. Pursue items based on whether they'll be on sale for a short amount of time, or if they're in high demand (and likely to sell out quickly).

 

 

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