Your guide to Black Friday savings – Times Union

Black Friday was once a single-day shopping blitz heralding the start of the holiday shopping season with indispensable doorbusters, swollen crowds, snaking lines and jam-packed parking lots. The more ardent bargain hunters would even brave the frigid cold and camp outside of stores to scoop up the most coveted deals and save some cash.

Now, shoppers are bombarded with “pre-Black Friday” sales at the tail-end of September,  October throughout November many of which can be purchased with a couple of clicks from the comfort of a couch. There are no lines, no parking spots to snare and no need to head out in the middle of the night to be among the first to ambush the stores upon opening. Even the early Black Friday ad breaks are scant. 

There are, however, still great deals offered exclusively on Black Friday and the days leading up to the cardinal consumer holiday. But, before you make a mad dash for the door (or computer) take a moment to plan your purchasing adventure because snatching up fleeting deals while saving money does require some finesse. Heed these tips to plan your escapades, score the best deals and save money along the way.

Pre-order the Thanksgiving Day edition of the Times Union — our biggest paper of the year — for $5 and get a $10 Dunkin’ gift card while supplies last (limit of four per customer). You can pick it up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Times Union, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Colonie. No need to even get out of your car. The paper will feature several Black Friday ads (though many are now exclusively digital) as well as the Brand New Game Day Recipe Guide, holiday magazine, 48-page puzzle book, Savings Source magazine and the debut of our Local Holiday Deals sheet with more than $100 in instant local coupons. Details: https://www.timesunion.com/store.

Prep for online shopping

Shopping online? Create an account at your go-to stores now so you can bag the best bargains and check out in a snap. Time will be of the essence. Also, sign up for membership or loyalty programs in advance so you are privy to early sales and coupons. Consider adding a browser extension. These come in handy if you don’t feel like flitting from one website to another to compare prices, nab coupons or net cash back. RetailMeNot, Rakuten and The Capital One Shopping’s browser extension will search for a better price while you shop and instantly apply coupons. You’ll also earn cash back or rewards you can redeem for gift cards.

Plan your Amazon attack

Amazon announced that it’s slashing prices on millions of products during the 48-hour Black Friday event starting on Thanksgiving Day. There will be discounts on YETI, Savage X Fenty with Rihanna, Sweaty Betty, Moroccanoil, Pokémon, Bose and a whole lot more.  The e-commerce giant is also planning to drop surprise deals every 30 minutes during select periods throughout the two-day event. If you persistently compare prices (and you should) be sure to use CamelCamelCamel.com. Amazon’s free price-tracker tool lets you see what an item has sold for up to 120 days prior. You can also create Amazon price watches and receive alerts via email when prices drop.

Carefully consider buy-now-pay-later options

Nearly 30 percent of shoppers plan to use a buy-now-pay-later option like Klarna or Paypal to finance Christmas gifts, according to a study by shopping platform DealAid.org. In 2021, just 13 percent of shoppers planned to use these tools. Offered by an increasing number of retailers, buy-now-pay-later programs are a bit like traditional layaway plans: You fill your cart and place a down payment. However, unlike layaway, you get the products you’re purchasing right away. The most popular programs allow payment purchases to be split into four equal, interest-free installments. If a merchant partners with such a program, it will be offered at checkout.

You shouldn’t take on too many plans at once. Smaller payments can mask how much you are actually spending, and you don’t want to be stuck with more than you can pay back. You also need to be sure to always make payments on time, as late fees can be steep.

Know when stores are open, sales start and the times for the best deals

Most stores and all Capital Region malls will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Although Black Friday sales have been springing up daily since September, some of the biggest sales of the season are still to come in the days leading up to, and including, Black Friday. You’ll need to know exactly when the official sales start online, so you don’t miss out.

It varies wildly. Best Buy’s Black Friday sale begins online the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Walmart will launch its Black Friday sale online on Monday. More Black Friday bargains will be unveiled for in-store shopping at 5 a.m. Black Friday. You can see a breakdown of in-store and online Black Friday sale start times BlackFriday.com.

Shop stores offering the biggest discounts

More than 66 million Americans are expected to shop in person and 88 million will shop online this Black Friday. To help savvy shoppers score the best deals, personal-finance website WalletHub just released its 2022’s Best Places to Shop on Black Friday to identify the stores offering the biggest discounts in various product categories this holiday season.

The overall average discount for Black Friday is 37 percent. Anything less isn’t much of a deal.  JCPenney has the highest overall discount rate at 64.71 percent. Macy’s and Kohl’s aren’t far behind at 53 and 44 percent, respectively. Don’t expect to save much at Costco, where the average discount hovers around 6 percent. Best Buy and Amazon didn’t fare much better, at 23 and 26 percent, respectively.

Differentiate Black Friday deals vs. duds

It can be confusing and stressful wondering what you should buy and when during monthlong Black Friday sales that push different deals on different days, said shopping coach and consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. Figuring out if something is a real deal or a dud takes some strategy, Woroch said. She shares these tips to help you focus on what to buy now, what to wait to buy and how to decipher a real Black Friday deal from a dud.

Buy this: Look out for deals on personal gadgets, video game consoles, smart home devices, big screen TVs and small kitchen gadgets. You may even find doorbusters on select apparel like a PJ set, sweater or slippers. Not everything is a good buy though on Black Friday so review what to skip. Some retailers will be offering free gift cards or extra rewards on Black Friday, which can make a deal more enticing (Target is offering a free $10 for every $50 spent on LEGOs, for example). You can also find deeper discounts on gift cards from restaurants and retailers like Amazon, offering money off or an additional bonus card with purchase that ends up being like two gifts in one.

Skip that: Clothing, beauty and footwear is best to buy on Cyber Monday with plenty of site-wide sales (look for coupon codes to save more via text alerts, email newsletters or coupon sites like CouponCabin.com), toys will be marked down further the last two weeks of December and winter apparel is cheapest the last few days before Christmas, and right after. If you’re eyeing bedding and linens, hold off for the best prices during January’s White Sales. Finally, mark your calendar for Travel Deal Tuesday Nov. 29 to find the best deals on airfare, hotels and car rentals via Hopper.

Recent Articles

Related Stories

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox