As eager bargain-hunters and retailers worldwide get ready for Black Friday, it’s clear that the 2021 shopping season is going to look at bit different than in years past. Many retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and Macy’s have had Black Friday sales on offer since beginning of November, but you can expect even deeper discounts on the actual sales event the week of Thanksgiving.
For example, Target will slash prices on kitchen equipment and appliances, like $210 off the KitchenAid Professional 5qt Stand Mixer, starting online on Nov. 21 through Nov. 27. Walmart will knock $90 off the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS 38mm Sport Band, available online Nov. 21 or in-store on Nov. 26. Meanwhile, Macy’s is promoting various sales on home goods, clothing and beauty, including 50% off the popular Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette from Nov. 23 through Nov. 27.
With so many stores promoting different deals on different products on different days and times, finding the best sales can be confusing and overwhelming. Here’s a rundown on some of the best Black Friday deals, plus a look at what you should skip.
Some doorbuster sale items are manufactured specifically for Black Friday, in the same way that some outlet mall-only products won’t be found in regular stores. These items may be missing key features commonly seen on comparable/similar items, and this is especially true of electronics, like TVs. (We’ve also noticed it with purses and leather goods!) Before you pull the trigger and purchase any discounted item, review the product details to ensure it has everything you need and want, and compare model numbers to determine whether this is the exact product that’s been sold all year, or if it’s something that’s just been released for the holidays.
Retailers nationwide are promoting doorbuster deals to get you through their doors or onto their site, hoping you’ll buy items that aren’t marked down. Considering that doorbusters are limited in quantity, there’s a real possibility that you might not be able to get exactly what you came for in the first place. Before heading to the stores, check a store’s advertisements to see how many products are available so you know whether it’s worth your time.
Some Black Friday deals require you to mail in a rebate in order to get your money back. For those of us who are diligent savers and do a great job of staying on top of our stack-of-random-bills-and-paperwork, the extra step of a mail-in rebate might not be a problem. But $500 million worth of rebates go unfulfilled every year, according to ConsumerAffairs.com, So, ask yourself if you will really take that extra step to save. Many shoppers fail to send out the voucher or forget to include key information to qualify for money back. In the end, you may be better off shopping at a store that offers instant savings. And if you’re looking for overall savings with no mail-ins required, look into downloading a cash back app like CouponCabin to earn money back when shopping through your phone, or pay with Slide at checkout to earn 4% back at partner retailers.
Some store sales mislead shoppers into thinking that everything on the site is available at a Black Friday discount even though there may be exclusions, sometimes a lot of them. Before you start browsing an adding-to-cart with glee, read the fine print to determine exactly which brands and items qualify for sale. Once you’ve established that, don’t assume that’s the best price you can get for what you’re after. Often, a quick Google search can reveal coupons you can apply for even deeper discounts. Find coupons through deal sites like CouponFollow.com or download a coupon plug-in like Cently to your browser that automatically applies coupons to your cart. (And we always love signing up for a company’s email distribution list to save 10%. You can always unsubscribe as soon as your discount comes through.)
INFLATED ORIGINAL PRICES
Retailers often mark up their original prices to make Black Friday deals look like a better value. They do this knowing that shoppers are more likely to buy something when they perceive a bigger savings. But don’t get duped— check prices histories to determine if that Black Friday deal you’re seeing is the lowest recent selling price, using tools like CamelCamelCamel.com. And while you’re at it, make sure you stick to your list (and check it twice) and don’t let claims of big discounts influence your purchasing decisions.