Patience is a virtue
While some Black Friday sale items are available only for a minute, most will stick around long enough for you to take a breath and more closely assess the item details, the price, and your needs. There's no reason to buy something just because it's on sale, and you may find reasons to shop around. You can always go in with a list of what you want, but that's pretty standard advice. We find that it's helpful to establish target prices, especially for our first-choice items. You can then target a better-quality discount for your second-choice things, and an even better percentage off for your third-choice stuff. That way, you're creating a value rubric where you'll get the most for your money regardless of what you choose.
Black Friday sales used to be confined to the big players. Now, depending on your needs, smaller online retailers and direct-order companies also offer great discounts. You may even have your choice among the online giants, with Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart often matching one another. If you see a sale at one of these stores and want to buy that item from another, check around. You may have reason to favor one of these stores over the others, whether it be free fast shipping, an additional percentage off with a store card, or a store location convenient to you for store pickup.
Kitchen appliances and smart tech, but other stuff too
Small kitchen appliances, smart-home items like doorbell cams and smart speakers, and select small electronics such as Bluetooth headphones are almost certain to see their best prices of the year, but other product categories, such as bedding and small consumables, are likely to see great prices too—you'll just need to be more selective or let your favorite deals site (ahem, hello!) uncover these for you, as you'll have more mediocre sales out there to sift through to find the best prices on those items. Check your deals site of choice. Even if you consider yourself a shopping pro, an often overlooked Black Friday shopping tip is to check price-tracking or coupon apps like CamelCamelCamel, Keepa, and Honey for additional price context and opportunities to save.
What are your dealbreakers?
Deciding what features you can't do without is often an essential element of deal shopping around Black Friday. If you covet the always-on display of the Apple Watch Series 5, for instance, you'll need to settle for small discounts at best, but if you just want an Apple Watch and don't care about always-on displays or ECG functions, the Series 3 will be available at rock-bottom prices this holiday season.
Play your shipping cards right
You've finally added that long-sought-after stand mixer to your cart. Now you've got to decide how to ship it. The good news is that you can get some free stuff in the bargain. Opting for Amazon's no-rush shipping can result in account credits on media purchases, and Prime Now promos in the past have offered $5 credits that could apply on a single-order basis. Similarly, Target frequently offers store-pickup deals for those customers who are willing to travel to a nearby store location. Walmart offers additional store-pickup discounts for select items too. If you're shopping for Christmas, there's no particular hurry right now, so choosing a slightly less expeditious shipping method may pay dividends. If you do need expedited shipping, many major retailers are offering some form of it at no additional charge this year.
Have fun with the deal holidays. Black Friday and Cyber Monday shouldn't feel like a life-or-death struggle—because they aren't one. The opportunities to save and the frenetic pace of the sales should energize you, not drain you. Enjoy the time with family and friends until you're ready to break out the virtual shopping bag again.
To make the most of Black Friday, check out our predictions, advice, and early deals.