The Black Friday Deals That Are Totally Not Worth It
Don't fall for these sales that won't save you big.
Make no mistake about it: Black Friday is bigger than ever. According to the latest stats, 66 million Americans put the shopping holiday high on their list of priorities. In 2017, Black Friday sales brought in a record $5 billion via online outlets alone, according to data from Adobe Digital Insights—and 2018 stands to see even bigger buys. This year, consumers are as insatiable as ever for Black Friday deals, with the National Retail Foundation expecting 4.1 percent higher sales numbers for 2018.
However, before you head out at 5am to score a brand new television or sous vide machine, make sure you know which stores are offering the real deals and which stores’ sales you should avoid at all costs.
Target’s iPhone Deal
On the surface, Target’s Black Friday iPhone promo doesn’t seem half bad. This year, every iPhone XS or XS Max on Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T that you buy at the store comes with a $250 Target gift card, and every iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X comes with a $150 gift card. What makes this sale not worth the money, though, is the fact that you can score better Black Friday deals at other major retailers. Head on over to Walmart, for instance, and you can score a $300 or $400 gift card, depending on the type of iPhone you choose to purchase.
Target’s Google Home Mini Deal
Thanks to the growing popularity of smart home devices, the Google Home Mini smart speaker is bound to be a hot ticket item this Black Friday. However, if what you’re looking for is the best bang for your buck, then it’s best to avoid Target’s $25 deal and instead opt for some of the packages that other retailers are offering. For instance, that $25 will get you the same speaker and a smart bulb at Lowe’s, and for $20 more, you can score a Google Home Mini, a Chromecast, and a $15 VUDU credit to spend on movies and music.
Target’s Black Friday Clothing Deals
If there’s one thing that Target fans know, it’s that the store is chock-full of clearance sections with items for as much as 90 percent off at all times. Sure, the store’s Black Friday sale includes deals on clothing items (like tech touch gloves for 66 percent off and men’s and women’s Wrangler and Universal Thread denim for $15 a pair), but you can easily find the same, if not better, deals on clothing at Target if you just know where to look.
Macy’s KitchenAid Artisan Mixer Deal
Seeing as KitchenAid stand mixers are always high in demand, any sale on this coveted kitchen appliance feels like a bargain. However, shoppers should beware of Macy’s Black Friday deal this year: Though the Artisan Stand Mixer will be on sale for $279.99, Bloomingdale’s just recently offered up the same model for $20 less, and retailers like Williams Sonoma are constantly offering steep discounts on the popular product.
Amazon’s Amazon Echo Deal
Even though Amazon is the creator of the Amazon Echo, the online retailer isn’t going to give you the best Black Friday deal when it comes to their smart device. Last year, the company—which tends to stick to the same discounts every Black Friday—priced their signature product at $30 below retail value. And while that may seem like a great deal, it pales in comparison to the Echo deal at Kohl’s: for that exact discounted price, you can buy the very same item this year and get $15 in Kohl’s cash.
Walmart and Target’s Xbox One Bundle Deals
This year, big retailers like Walmart and Target are offering the same Black Friday bundle deal: For $200, you get an Xbox One S 1TB console, an Xbox wireless controller, and a Minecraft I Starter Pack. However, should you purchase this Minecraft bundle over at Kohl’s, you’ll get all the same items for the same price plus $60 in Kohl’s cash to spend on other gadgets and gizmos, essentially putting your total at just $140.
Target’s BOGO Beauty Deals
One of Target’s many Black Friday promotions this year is a BOGO 50 percent off on all cosmetic, beauty, and personal care gift sets. However, according to Trent Hamm, creator of money-saving blog The Simple Dollar, a BOGO deal is hardly a deal at all, seeing as the items listed as BOGO are often marked up and most of the time “the items aren’t really things you want to begin with.”
Best Buy’s Ring Video Doorbell Deal
This year, Best Buy’s Black Friday deal for the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has two elements: Not only do you get $60 off, but you also get a free Amazon Echo Dot with purchase. However, you should be wary of deals like this that throw in free items as incentive to buy products. Unless you were already looking to buy an Echo Dot, then this deal isn’t actually all that great, and you could get a lower price on a Ring at another retailer like Target, where the Black Friday sale puts the video doorbell (albeit another model) at $40 cheaper.
Best Buy’s Gift Card Deals
Gift cards are one of the most sought-after buys at Black Friday sales, and so, naturally, any discounts offered on these hot-ticket items are going to seem like a good deal. However, you might want to think twice before you spend hours in line on Black Friday just to score a $50 Apple Store gift card for $40 at Best Buy. If you plan on buying many a gift card, then you’re better off buying them in bulk at Costco, where gift card packages worth $100 start at just $70 (and are available all year round).
Kohl’s Fujifilm Instax Deal
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a fun, portable camera that professional photographers and amateur shutterbugs alike enjoy carrying around for those photo-worthy moments that deserve more than a mere Instagram post. This year, Kohl’s is offering the camera at $59 with the added bonus of $15 in Kohl’s cash—and though this seems like a great price, the camera can often be found online with the same, if not a better, discount. (In fact, if you check out Unique Photo now, you’ll find an even better Holiday Bundle package for the exact same price.)
JCPenney’s Power XL AirFryer Deal
Air fryers are one of those kitchen gadgets that everyone wants but nobody needs, making them the perfect Black Friday purchase. But while many big retailers are offering deals on the popular Power Air Fryer XL this year, some Black Friday sales are significantly better than others. For instance, though JCPenney’s $70 discount on the $140 3.4 qt. Air Fryer XL looks like a good deal, it doesn’t seem like nearly as much of a bargain when you consider that over at Kohl’s, the bigger 5.3 qt. version of the air fryer is being sold on Black Friday for $80 with $15 back in Kohl’s Cash.
Best Buy’s Anova Sous Vide Deal
Unless you absolutely need a sous vide right this second, you’re better off waiting for the price of the popular kitchen gadget to drop even further. Sure, Best Buy’s $100 deal is quite the discount compared to the Anova Precision Cooker’s retail price of $160, but it’s nothing in comparison to $70, which is exactly how much Amazon offered it for on Prime Day. Though the 2018 Prime Day deals are obviously no longer available, the Anova Sous Vide is popular enough that it’s likely to go on sale again—and if you’re diligent about checking the item listing on Amazon, you’re bound to find a better price eventually.
Walmart’s Smart TV Deals
If your ultimate goal is to come home from all the Black Friday sales with a brand new television, then you might want to hit up Target or Kohl’s before Walmart. Though the retail giant is offering decent discounts on smart TVs, what they aren’t offering is cash back or gift card bonuses—and so while you could score a VIZIO 60″ 4K Smart TV at Walmart for $498, you’re better off getting the similar Samsung 58″ 4K Smart TV at Kohl’s for $550 with $165 Kohl’s cash.
Amazon’s Echo Spot Bundle Deal
Don’t be fooled by Amazon’s bundle deals this Black Friday. Though the retailer is offering their signature Echo Spot and Echo Dot products together for $130, the two smart devices can be bought separately at most stores for less. (Just grab an Echo Dot at Kohl’s for $24 and head to Best Buy to snag an Echo Spot for $90 and that’s $16 more in savings right there.)
Target’s Roku Ultra Deal
Both the Target Black Friday sale and the Walmart Black Friday sale include a Roku Ultra with JBL headphones for about $50. However, what makes Walmart’s deal better than Target’s is the fact that, in addition to offering a $50 discount, the store is also including a $35 Sling credit and one month free of Showtime with any purchase of a Roku player.
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