Between holiday travel, buying gifts for the fam bam, and festive gatherings, you can easily find yourself headed straight to the poorhouse. (Instead of singing “ho ho ho,” cue the “holiday debt hangover” song.)
That being said, you can take advantage of end-of-year blowout days like Black Friday and potentially find great deals on items you’ve been wanting to buy for a long time.
Top 15 things to buy on Black Friday
- 4K TVs: Smaller TVs without smart capabilities will be some of the cheapest items on sale for Black Friday. “Look for a 32″ set at Target or Amazon to be as little as $80,” says Ramhold. “Also: Expect to see 55″ sets for $250 or less, while 65″ doorbusters will be $400 or less.”
- Small kitchen appliances and cookware: Want to revamp the wares in your kitchen, or gift some items to someone on your holiday gift list? Kitchen appliances like Instant Pots and KitchenAid mixers will most likely be on sale. You can also find some deep discounts on cookware in general.
- Amazon Echo and Google Home devices: Amazon devices are popular buys for Black Friday, especially the already affordable Echo Dot, says Ramhold. “We expect the Dot to drop to $20 this year, as well as being included in a variety of bundles with other devices.”
- Apple Watches: You most likely will spot a good deal or two on Apple Watches this year.
- Roku Streaming Sticks, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Sticks. If you’d like to spruce up your home entertainment options, or if you’ve been itching to get your paws on one of these, Black Friday is a good time to get one on sale.
- Headphones. Been eyeing a new pair of headphones to listen to your favorite jams? Black Friday is an opportune time to score a great deal. In particular, the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II (normally priced at around $265-$299) could drop to $230 for Black Friday, explains Ramhold.
- Laptops. Per Ramhold, you can expect basic Chromebooks to drop to $99, while higher-end Chromebooks will start at around $700.
- iPads. While it’s rare to see discounts on Apple products, Black Friday retailers provide excellent savings on iPads, explains Ramhold. “This year, we expect the latest models to go as low as $300,” says Ramhold. “Additionally, the latest Apple AirPods could hit $135 — or even less.”
- DSLR cameras. If you’re planning on upping your videography or photography game, check out deals on DSLR cameras. Black Friday can also be a good time to get a camera for the shutterbug in your life.
- Smartphones. While Apple phones don’t technically go on sale for Black Friday, you can expect to see a drop in prices on other types of smartphones.
- Power tools. If you’re working on some DIY projects or would like to make improvements to your abode, you can stock up on power tools during Black Friday sales.
- Game consoles. Ramhold says to watch for the possibility of a price drop for the updated model of the Nintendo Switch, perhaps falling to $275. “This would be an exceptional deal, as those updates are only a couple of months old,” says Ramhold. “What’s more, the PS4 Pro console is expected to hit $315, while the Xbox One X deals are expected to be around $300.”
- LEGOs. If you’re a LEGOs nerd or have one in your life, Black Friday is a good time to stock up. “Watch for LEGOs to drop up to 30% off at stores like Amazon and Target,” says Ramhold.
- Airfare. “Airfare deals will be super popular, so expect to find rates to fall anywhere between $19 and $40,” says Ramhold.
- Robotic vacuums. If you’d like an upgrade on a vacuum, Black Friday is the time to do it. You can expect to score significant discounts on vacuums with built-in intelligent programming.
Bonus tip: You’ll also want to keep an eye out for weighted blankets this year, says Mengesha.
“They’re becoming more and more popular, kind of like the Instant Pot a few years ago,” he says. “Retailers like Costco, Walmart and Macy’s are likely to feature them among their doorbusters.”
What Not to Buy on Black Friday
While deals abound, you should refrain from buying these 5 types of products during Black Friday:
- Winter apparel. As Mengesha explains, you might want to hold off until after Christmas when you’ll get better deals. That’s because retailers won’t start clearing out that inventory until after the holidays. “There’s a chance we could see a few really great deals on sweaters or jackets, but we’ll see far more deals of better quality in the first part of next year,” adds Ramhold.
- Off-brand electronics. You’ll want to do your homework before pushing the “buy” button, suggests Mengesha. “Chances are they’re discounted several times per year at similar prices to what you see on Black Friday,” he says.
- Jewelry. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until January 1 to get deals on jewelry, explains Ramhold. Expect to see more deals and better discounts in December.
- Holiday decorations. Sure, there might be a handful of deals, but with the winter holidays still looming, Black Friday discounts won’t be all that notable.“Instead, hold off until December 26, when retailers will drop huge discounts on their remaining stock to try to clear the shelves,” suggests Ramhold.
- Fitness equipment. You might want to hold off on getting that elliptical machine or set of weights.
“While it might sound like a good big-ticket item to gift, the truth is we rarely see any real deals on this category for Black Friday, or even during December,” says Ramhold. “Instead, we see better savings in January, when everyone is making resolutions that involve getting into shape and being healthier.”
Black Friday Shopping Tips
Here are a few tips on how you can score the best deals and stick to your budget.
Stalk your favorite stores on social media
“If they update (their feeds) regularly, you can bet they’ll be posting details about when their doors open, any kind of freebies they’ll be giving away, and other details you need to know before heading out to shop,” says Ramhold.
Research stores beforehand
Whether shopping in-store or online, check out the ads of the stores you’re interested in, says Ramhold. What’s more, check out their policies on price-matching for Black Friday, as well as the fine print for doorbusters and other big deals.
Put together a game plan
Want to score the best savings possible? Be prepared to shop online on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Black Friday, says Ramhold.
“Make sure you know when deals will be available so you can jump on them as soon as they go live,” she says.
“Remember that the best deals will sell out in the blink of an eye, so you’ll need to be prepared and move quickly to ensure you get them.”
Download the Amazon app
If you’re shopping on Amazon, download the Amazon app, then set notifications to set deals.
Don’t blindly trust the list price
Mengesha warns against blindly trusting the list price on those Black Friday ads that pop up.
“They’re usually referencing MSRP, which aren’t always relevant this late in the year,” he says.
Set a budget
It’s super easy to get excited and go hog-wild on major shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To avoid overspending, stick to your shopping list, shop on one day, and keep a careful watch on your transactions.
“Decide what you want to buy before the sales begin and do some price history research so you know what a good deal looks like for the items you want,” says Mengesha.
The bottom line
If you plan out your shopping and follow these tips, you’ll be less likely to overspend and suffer from a Black Friday fail.
And, remember: The best way to save is not to spend the money in the first place. Ideally, you’ll want to set a budget and pay with the money you already have in your bank account.