There’s no doubt that Black Friday is brimming with bargains and steals. But put on your earmuffs, hardcore devotees, because an ugly truth lies ahead: Sometimes the hype is just hype, and retailers will roll out their best prices — and better quality products — later in December.
Did we just re-kill Santa for you? Please accept our sincere apologies, and read on for expert tips on what to wait on this weekend.
A quick disclaimer: If anything “Frozen” is on your kiddo’s list, you should probably buy that right away (or, you know, last week). But for toys that aren’t in such high demand, hold off. “We’ve been collecting data on Black Friday for 10 years,” says Kyle James, founder of coupon and bargain-hunting hotspot Rather-Be-Shopping.com. “There are definitely good Black Friday buys, but then there are bad Black Friday buys. One of the bad ones is toys — Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the best prices for toys.”
When to buy: According to James, the two weeks leading up to Christmas is when you see the really big price cuts.
Although you’ll score major deals on fall apparel, winter apparel is not going to see significant discounts this weekend.
When to buy: If you’re looking for yourself and not for a gift, wait until after Christmas, advises Kristen Nelson of RetailMeNot.com, a discount junkie’s dream site. “The post-Christmas sales are really, really good,” she says. “They’re waiting for people to come back to return items and coming back with gift cards.”
Before you line up for that big-screen TV, do your research on the brand and model. “The Black Friday deals on these look great, but the quality with some is so bad that they don’t even stock them the rest of the year,” warns James.
When to buy: “If you’re looking for a high-quality TV, there are much better deals in January and early February when the new models come out and the older ones go on sale,” says James.
Smaller names, bigger deals
Traditional Black Friday heavyweights such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Walmart are going to be packed, no doubt. For great deals without the lines, James suggests putting lower-key retailers such as Sears, JCPenney and Kohl’s at the top of your list.