Black Friday, the biggest blowout sale day of the year, is approaching quickly, and if you’re going to capitalize on the huge savings, you’re going to need a plan.
If you know what to shop for, you can save hundreds of dollars on high-quality items that will make great gifts (or upgrade your own tech). These 10 items are the best you should buy on Black Friday if you’re looking for great deals.
Tablets and E-Readers
Both tablets and e-readers have been hot Christmas gifts for the past several years, and retailers will offer great prices to entice you to buy one.
You’ll often find that the tablets that are on sale are last year’s model, but with new models coming out all the time, last year’s will still be a great choice. A new Microsoft Surface 3 retails for $500, but you very well may be able to grab a Surface 2 for $150 or less, and you might even be able to find a very rare discount on an iPad (or at least a free gift card with the purchase of one).
Last year, Kindles were marked down $20 to $30, which is a big discount on the $60 to $150 base prices. E-books are also offered at a discount, especially on the Monday after Black Friday, which is becoming known as Cyber Monday.
Like with tablets, the laptops that go on sale for Black Friday are often last year’s model or a mid-to-low-range option that doesn’t pack as much power as some of the more expensive machines.
However, the vast majority of people will be fine with a less-than-ridiculously-powerful laptop, and nabbing one on Black Friday could save you a pretty penny. Last year, Best Buy offered MacBooks at a discount of up to $150, which is almost unheard of for Apple products. Other laptops could go down by $200 or more.
Like with anything else, impulsively buying a laptop on Black Friday is a bad idea. Even if a machine is 50% off, it’s not a good deal if it doesn’t fit your needs. Be sure to think about what you need out of your computer and make a list of the features you’d like if you’re considering buying a Black Friday laptop.
The most iconic of Black Friday’s deals, TVs often get massive discounts. It’s certainly not uncommon to see deals on TVs that will save you $300 or more—last year, Best Buy even had a 65-inch Samsung TV for $800 less than the retail price. As with laptops and tablets, though, remember that it’s not usually the top-of-the-line TVs that are on sale (those tend to go on sale in January, before the Super Bowl).
Again, however, you probably don’t need the absolute best. Even a mid-range TV will give you a great picture with decent sound, and if you can get one for $500 or $600 when it usually costs $800 or $1000, it could be worth buying. Just know that TVs go fast, so if you’re going to grab one on Black Friday, you need to get out early!
Video Games, Consoles, and Movies
If you’re looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest game console — or just to make a few additions to your game library — Black Friday is a great time to do it.
While you will find discounts, the best values often in price reductions of bundles. Games often go down in price, too. You’ll probably find the best discounts on games that aren’t new releases, but if there’s something you’ve been meaning to pick up for a while, this would be a good time to do it.
Last year, a number of stores were selling a PlayStation 4 with Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Last of Us for $400, about the price of the console alone (you can still get it now from Amazon). Buying an Xbox One would net you Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (Target offered a $70 gift card, as well), all for $330. Hundreds of games were going for 50% off at Target, as well.
You probably use Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu to watch movies, but some of us still enjoy owning a hard copy of our favorites on DVD or Blu-Ray. Black Friday is a great time to snatch them up, as they’re often down to $5 or $10. Players go way down too — Wal-Mart offered an LG Blu-Ray player for $35 last year.
Another thing that you can get great bundle deals on is cameras (but first, here are five money-saving tips you need to know before buying a DSLR). Purchasing a DSLR or a point-and-shoot digital camera is rarely just about the camera — there are lenses, bags, straps, SD cards, and other accessories to buy. On Black Friday, many of these accessories will come with your camera in a bundle for a reduced price (but remember, there’s a strong case for never buying a new DSLR).
For example, Target sold a Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR with a standard 18–55mm lens, an additional 75–300mm zoom lens, an 8GB SD card, and a bag for $449, saving customers about $265. That’s a solid setup for a very reasonable amount of money.
If you’re not looking for something as complicated as a DSLR, you have plenty of other options; Target was also selling the Nikon Coolpix L330 for $99, which is $140 less than usual. Wal-Mart sold the Nikon Coolpix L29 for $47, an absolutely rock-bottom price for a Nikon digital camera.
As with many of the other electronics that go on sale on Black Friday, you can often find the last version of a smartphone at a significant discount. How significant? Amazon was selling the HTC One for $0.01 with a two-year contract last year. Best Buy also sold the HTC One for $30, both a huge savings on the list price of $200.
Of course, many of the phone deals will require that you purchase a contract, which will end up costing you a lot of money in the long run, as you’ll just pay full price for the phone over the course of two years. So be sure to check out all of the terms and conditions, as well as compare the plan prices and see if an affordable cell phone plan and an unlocked phone would save you even more money.
Here are the 10 cheapest mobile phone plans in the US right now.
Often the butt of Black Friday jokes, small appliances like blenders, toasters, microwaves, and coffee makers drop down to extremely low prices after Thanksgiving. If you want to get more serious about your coffee (or anything else in your kitchen), this is a great time to start. You might need to make another purchase at a particular store to get these deals, but that’s not usually very difficult.
Last year saw some fantastic deals on small appliances, like the Keurig Mr. Coffee single-cup brewer on Amazon going from $120 down to $65, and a Skybar wine preservation system coming down to $180 from $500. Even things like vacuums get discounted; Wal-Mart sold the Dyson DC33 for $199 last year, which was over 40% off the retail price.
Do Your Research
The most important thing to remember when you’re trying to save cash on Black Friday is to go with a plan. Don’t go to a store planning to look at what’s on sale and make a game-time decision — that will only end up in impulse buys and spending more money. See what’s on sale, see if it’s a good thing for you to buy, and then find the best price. That’s all there is to it!
Will you be going out on Black Friday? What are you hoping to buy? What are your favorite stores to shop at? Share your thoughts below!