Black Friday sales used to occur exclusively on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Although that day remains big for sales (along with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, which follow), some retailers have already started dropping their prices to Black Friday levels.
Even if you plan to do most of your shopping after you’ve had your turkey feast, budget consultant Andrea Woroch says to start scoping out deals now.
“If you see something on the list that’s offered for 30 to 40 percent off, you’re most likely not going to see a bigger deal during Black Friday,” she says.
Here’s what you need to know to make the most of the upcoming sales:
With so many sales and discounted products over the holiday, doing some prep work can make your shopping less stressful. Create a list of people you want to purchase presents for, along with gift ideas and a budget for each of them.
“That can act as your shopping guide,” Woroch says. “Otherwise, it can be overwhelming, and you don’t know what you should be buying. If you approach the sales without a plan, you may end up buying stuff you don’t need and missing out on deals for the items you want to buy.”
Most large retail chains publish their Black Friday deals ahead of time. You can check out store circulars at BlackFriday.com and use them to make a game plan for the day, including the items you’re going to purchase. If you plan to shop in person, some retail apps, including Target, Walmart and Home Depot, have local store maps you can use to find what you need quickly amid Black Friday crowds.
Focus on electronics and household appliances
Although you’ll see price discounts on nearly every type of product, experts say you’ll find some of the biggest deals on electronics and tech products. That includes everything from big purchases, including televisions and video game consoles, to smaller items, such as headphones and fitness trackers.
The other big category for doorbuster sales on Black Friday is small home appliances. Keep an eye out for deals on kitchen mixers and coffee makers, as well as items you’ll see elsewhere in the home such as vacuum cleaners and air purifiers.
Make sure you’re getting the exact product you want
If a doorbuster deal appears too good to be true, take a close look at the item before making the purchase. Retailers sometimes bring in products to sell over Thanksgiving weekend that are either off-brand or of a lower quality than similar products by the same manufacturer.