It’s the craziest shopping day of the year. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, features early bird sales, online deals, door-to-door stuff and more.
Some items are hot commodities that day – there’s always a computer or TV deal that seems irresistible. But don’t jump on everything with a sell tag on it.
Here’s a quick list of the buys you should avoid on Black Friday — and the best times to do them.
Savvy athletes and weekend warriors know to replace their sneakers on a regular basis. How often depends on your use and wearing of the shoes, as we detail in 8 Things to Replace to Improve Your Life Today.
But Black Friday isn’t a good time for deals on sneakers, says RunRepeat, a sneaker review site that analyzed prices from previous Black Fridays and effectively concluded that Black Friday shoe deals are a myth:
“When looking at the 27 most popular pairs of sneakers in RunRepeat’s database, you can expect to pay an average of $23.95 (36.3%) more on Black Friday than you would on the cheapest day of the year per pair of sneakers.”
We’ve all seen the commercials where one couple surprises the other with a new luxury car that has a bow the size of a large dog strapped to the hood. We’ve all probably also wondered: who has that kind of money to spend on a holiday gift? And hey, what kind of store sells that size bow?
But, well, let’s say you got that kind of money. And an arc of this size.
However, don’t buy your new car on Black Friday. Wait a month or so, when dealers are most likely to offer year-end sales so they can allocate sales quotas and make room for new models.
3. Gift cards
Sure, gift cards are a bit impersonal. But it’s still a practical and useful gift, and it allows the recipient to choose their own gift, or to enjoy a restaurant meal or movie night.
But in terms of buying gift cards, Black Friday isn’t the time for deals. Just wait a few weeks: Often in December, you’ll find gift card deals, like a low-value bonus card that gets thrown in with your purchase for free. This is a really good deal – free money! However, be aware, as these add-on cards sometimes have expiration dates that are quickly approaching.
If you are not using your gift cards, remember that you can sell them online. Gift cards are also among the best items that you can enjoy.
Couches, chairs, coffee tables – we all have to buy furniture at some point. Savvy furniture buyers know that there is a kind of unwritten timeline around when to buy.
Black Friday doesn’t make that list, though. Better to wait for really cool discounts.
If you need indoor furniture, wait until the January-February window or August-September, when retailers are trying to get rid of their old inventory. (The Presidents’ Day and Labor Day sales are no joke.)
The best deals on outdoor furniture are usually at the end of summer, when those of us in cooler climates start thinking about packing it up until next year. If you can’t wait that long, see our tips in 12 Ways to Cut the Cost of Furniture.
5. Holiday decorations
You might find some great deals on holiday decor items this Black Friday. However, the time when stores really want to get rid of these types of seasonal items is after the holidays are over.
It may seem strange to buy Christmas decorations or yard decorations when the holidays are over and over, but if you see a big clearance sale, get yours in late December. You’ll be thanking yourself next year when it’s time to spot the decorations.
6. Fitness equipment
Fitness equipment retailers know when their big moment is coming, and it’s not before Christmas. It’s January when everyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get in shape decides to put together a home fitness room.
The same may be true for some gym memberships, but not always: Fitness 19’s low-priced gym (no bathrooms, but close enough to home that I don’t care) usually offers the cheapest monthly rate of the year as their Black Friday deal .
So, make sure you get a good deal – because you want to rip, not fall.
7. Cold weather clothes
Sure, you can grab some great Black Friday clothing deals. But when it comes to winter outerwear, shudder through December as you put on whatever you’ve got.
The best deals on parkas, snow gear, raincoats, sweaters and the like aren’t coming until January. Until then, you just have to relax.
The hottest games of the past years created near riots. Remember running into an electronic hamster named Zhu Zhu Pets during the 2009 winter holidays? Today’s games may be different, but the rush for the latest and greatest is still on.
Sure, there will be Black Friday deals on toys, but practical parents stock up on toys in January, when stores try to get rid of all the toys left over from the holidays.
9. Calendars and planners
The new calendars and planners are very bright, very clean, and full of hope. They are not written yet with dental appointments, canceled meetings and last minute trips. But if you pass a calendar kiosk in a mall or bookstore, you know how quickly prices can drop.
If you can snag until January, you may see 90% discounts on the calendar or planner of your choice, because the year it covers has already started.
The only problem with waiting: The “Hamilton” almanac you’ve been admiring could sell out, and you might be stuck with Garfield.