Should You Shop Black Friday or Wait?

Lauren Krause
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Heading out to shop on Black Friday each year sometimes feels like planning a military campaign. While there are some great deals to be found, Black Friday shoppers often wonder whether the crowds, early hours and hassle are worth it. Here are some tips to help you decide whether you should do your shopping on Black Friday or wait until the crowds thin out to get your holiday shopping underway.

Do Your Pre-shopping

Black Friday deals tend to cluster around a few major categories, primarily electronics and appliances. However, all too often, deals that look incredible in the ads turn out to feature shoddy or sub-par merchandise, and prices touted as phenomenal deals sometimes aren't that great. Don't let yourself be caught up in the frenzy of Black Friday without doing some serious pre-shopping. Make your gift list ahead of time, and do the research to determine which specific items and models you consider acceptable. Pre-shop each of these items online and in retail stores so that you know what a good price is. That way, when you see Black Friday ads for the items, you can decide whether it's worth it to get in line and fight the crowds.

When to Shop on Black Friday

Consider shopping on Black Friday for electronics such as HDTVs, laptop computers, tablets, video game consoles and wearable tech. All these categories tend to have significant discounts on Black Friday. Look specifically for bundling of electronics with other gift items. For instance, tablets are often bundled with gift cards, and video game consoles are often bundled with games. Cookware and small appliances are also often real steals on Black Friday. However, make sure you're getting models you are sure to be happy with. Especially where TVs are concerned, Black Friday deals often feature bottom-of-the-line models that are only good deals if you care more about price than you do about quality.

When to Wait to Shop

If there aren't specific deals you want to take advantage of on Black Friday, consider instead taking advantage of Small Business Saturday the next day, when you can support the unique local retailers in your community. Significant deals on electronics are also available on Cyber Monday, the largest shopping day of the year for online retailers. In addition, many people love to make holiday shopping a social experience to be shared with family and friends. If you want to enjoy the lights and displays of the holidays, or if you want to see and touch merchandise before you buy, avoid Black Friday altogether, and let your shopping experience be more enjoyable.

Figure out ahead of time how much in savings is needed for you to brave the Black Friday crowds. If you're only going to end up saving $10 or $20, is it worth it? If you choose to avoid Black Friday, you're not alone. Instead, opt for Small Business Saturday, deals on Cyber Monday, and social shopping experiences with friends and family to make holiday shopping simpler and more pleasurable.


Photo courtesy of lamnee at



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