30 Things You Should Never Buy on Black Friday
Separate the deals from the duds.
Black Friday tends to be a polarizing holiday: there are those who think it’s a great time to save big on those holiday presents, and there are those who recognize it as little more than a cash grab for retailers eager to clear their shelves before the new year. And while there are deals to be had, if you’re not a savvy shopper, you could be emptying your bank account for products that you neither want nor need in the long run. Case and point: According to NerdWallet, 93 percent of stores offered at least one product at the same price on Black Friday for two successive years, meaning some of those seeming steals are no bargain at all.
So how do you know when what looks like a deal is actually a dud? We’ve gathered all of the products to avoid on Black Friday so you can focus on the super savings that are still out there. And to make sure you actually save money when you go Black Friday shopping, check out these 17 Secrets for Scoring Black Friday Deals.
While it may be tempting to purchase those perfect diamond studs or that engagement ring during a Black Friday sale, you’ll be better off in the long run if you abstain. According to research from the International Diamond Exchange, 32.8 percent of diamond jewelry is purchased in November and December, meaning retailers don’t offer the biggest discounts during this time of year.
According to PriceScope, during a single year, round-cut diamonds from four to 99 carats were approximately 25 percent more expensive in November than they were in March. And for more killer Black Friday knowledge, make sure you know these 17 Dirty Secrets Retailers Don’t Want You to Know About Black Friday.
While gift cards are always a safe bet when it comes to gift giving, that doesn’t mean you should wait until Black Friday to buy yours. Just waiting a few weeks can mean far greater savings. “Gift cards are usually cheaper in December, leading up to Christmas,” says Sara Skirboll, Shopping and Trends Expert at Retail Me Not. “For example, iTunes has offered $100 gift cards for $70 to $80.”
If you’re looking to buy this year’s hottest toy for your kids, Black Friday won’t be your best bet. According to NerdWallet, toys don’t significantly dip in price until December, so if you can wait a week or two, you’ll save even bigger. And if you’re still skeptical, check out The Black Friday Deals That Are Totally Not Worth It.
While you may seem some hotels promise Black Friday discounts, if you really want to save big, it pays to wait until Cyber Monday rolls around. “Most sales show up for airfare and hotel stays on Cyber Monday (and the day after), so avoid making these purchases on Black Friday, as you are likely to find an even greater deal in just a few days,” says Sarah Hollenbeck, a Shopping and Retail Expert at BlackFriday.com.
Waiting to score a steal on a new stainless steel gas grill or complete teak furniture set since it’s winter and stores are trying to unload outdoor items? If you’re waiting until Black Friday, you’re already too late to get a deal. “The best discounts on patio furniture happen between August and September,” says Skirboll. And if you want to spruce up your outdoor space, check out these 20 Genius Ways to Spiff Up Your Backyard.
Much like its diamond counterparts, gold jewelry won’t be as discounted on Black Friday as many shoppers might expect. While some major retailers will offer sales, since November and December tend to be the fine jewelry industry’s bread and butter, the discounts won’t be as great as they are during the industry’s lull from March to October.
If you’re looking to upgrade your bedding, you’d be better off waiting until Black Friday has come and gone. While Black Friday will yield some discounts on those sheets and comforters, you’ll save more just over a month later when, in January, stores roll out their White Sales.
According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, you can save at least 10 percent more on bedding at big retailers like JCPenney if you buy in January instead of hitting up a Black Friday sale. And when you want to catch some extra winks, check out these 20 Nighttime Habits That Guarantee a Full-Night’s Sleep.
Renovators hoping to get their house holiday guest-ready and impress the in-laws with nice, new hardwood flooring, should reconsider and wait until after the new year.
Sales on flooring of all kinds typically hit in late December or January as most people aren’t doing any construction then and new models are about to drop. If you get those flooring products at Home Depot during a regular day of the year and a competitor is offering a better price, the home goods giant will not only beat their price, but give you an additional 10 percent off, and if your preferred flooring goes on sale within 30 days of your purchase, you can return them for a lower price.
That stereo system you’ve been eyeing likely won’t have a major price reduction on Black Friday. Unfortunately, stereo equipment doesn’t tend to get discounted as much as shoppers might hope on Black Friday. “This is particularly true for electronics such as sound equipment,” says Brandon Ackroyd, Head of Insight at Tiger Mobiles.
If you want to save big on holiday decorations, it pays to be patient. Since customers often start their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving itself, many retailers will still be selling their Thanksgiving decorations at standard prices. If you want clearance prices, wait until December.
Along with jewelry, skip trying to pick up any worthy watches at a steep discount on Black Friday. These luxury items will maybe seem enticing with a few sales here and there, but wait until you creep closer to Christmas to cash in on significant savings.
It may be convenient to hit up your local big box store for presents and wrapping paper in one trip, but doing so may actually mean you’re paying more for the latter.
“You might find small discounts on wrapping paper during Black Friday, but the real savings come right before Christmas,” says Skirboll. “If your schedule allows, wrap all your gifts last minute and stock up on paper right before Christmas, when retailers are anxious to get rid of their inventory!” And if you’re short on wrapping paper before the holiday, remember that a bunch of stores offer free wrapping or free supplies.
Want to redecorate your home? Don’t assume that shopping Black Friday sales will yield any significant deals. “You may find ads for doorbuster deals on furniture from your local department stores or retailers, but don’t give in to the hype,” says Skirboll. “Indoor furniture prices are lowest in January and July through August.”
You may see a few vacation packages or deals on airfare pop up here and there on Black Friday, but the real travel steals start at the beginning of the year. “Contrary to popular belief, buying airline tickets far in advance does not always get you the best price,” says Skirboll. “Wait until after January to purchase airline tickets for spring travel.”
It might seem like you’re getting a great deal on clothing on Black Friday, but, in fact, you’d be better off postponing that shopping trip.
“While everything looks like it is on sale during Black Friday, people should avoid purchasing clothing,” says Jon Vincent, founder of EarlyBlackFriday.com. “These items [are] offered at larger discounts as you get closer to Christmas.”
If that wild deal on a 55-inch flat screen or 15-inch laptop seems too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. Unfortunately, some of the best deals on electronics are on those of the no-name variety with a questionable track record.
“You’ll find that most doorbuster sales are actually for off-brand electronics. If you don’t know a brand’s reputation, you don’t know what you’re getting with your purchase—so even though you might be spending a low amount now, it’s not worth it if you have to replace it in six months,” says Skirboll. “Make sure to check the details of the sale and thoroughly research (check online reviews!) for any off-brand electronics.”
If you need a new calendar for the upcoming year, it’s in your best interest to wait until the new year to actually buy it.
“Most places put calendars half off in January, so why not wait a few weeks? Also, set yourself up for success next year: buy a 14- or 16-month calendar so you can take advantage of next year’s calendar sales while still getting the benefit of having a calendar,” suggests Skirboll.
Retailers know that most people recommit themselves to getting in shape and leading a healthier life after January 1st and they plan their sales accordingly. That means there aren’t going to be many great deals for weight-loss plans and associated products on Black Friday, so relax, eat some more pumpkin pie, and dedicate your renewed fitness to 2019!
Think those “exclusive” discounts are as limited as stores make them out to be? Think again. According to Hollenbeck, many stores will claim they’re offering an exclusive deal or product when, in fact, that’s far from the case. Stores will “advertise certain sales (especially deep discounts during Black Friday) as ‘exclusive’ or ‘limited’ to drum up hype,” says Hollenbeck, explaining that many retailers will count on the “exclusive” nature of a sale to be enough to get shoppers to buy—and forgo the price comparison with other stores.
Though there may be some tempting deals on all things beauty on Black Friday, the pendulum has swung to Cyber Monday being the best time for killer deals on beauty products. In fact, at Sephora’s Black Friday preview, the cosmetics giant was offering a slew of products for under $50, which sounds like a great deal, until you realize there’s no actual discount being offered, just a lower priced, limited-edition product. Hold your horses until the following Monday and you’ll find truly deep discounts. And when you are in the market for some beauty upgrades, start with The 30 Best Beauty Products As Picked by Cosmetologists.
These are the white whales of Black Friday, the blockbusters that make the news and whip people up into a frenzy. Skip trying to grab one of these insanely discounted items in the store and instead look for online doorbusters. You’ll still get a good price while saving some shreds of your humanity.
Black Friday typically comes a little too early for Hanukkah and about a month before Christmas, meaning flower purveyors have little incentive to significantly discount their merchandise for the shopping holiday. So, unless you’re eager to save a few bucks on a bouquet that will be unrecognizable by the time you’re ready to give it to someone, don’t spend your Black Friday browsing the blossoms online or at your local shops.
The newest models of nice cameras like high-end DSLRs will have some discounts on Black Friday, but if you wait until after the new year, you’ll be able to save a lot of money as fresher models come in and make the slightly older ones more competitive on price. According to NerdWallet, electronics like cameras only typically get discounted 26 percent on Black Friday, while other holiday sales are likely to see much greater price reductions.
While you’ll see plenty of cars on sale for Black Friday, it’s not actually the best time of year to buy one. According to TrueCar.com. waiting until the following month will yield the most savings. If you purchase your new vehicle on New Year’s Eve, you stand to save up to 8.3 percent on it! And if you are looking for a new set of wheels, check out The Best New Cars for 2018.
A good night’s sleep is priceless, but retailers certainly won’t shy away from selling you their mattresses for a high price, even on Black Friday.
“Black Friday is not the time to buy these items,” says Skirboll. So, when should you drop some serious cash on a new mattress? The three-day weekend sales they have on Memorial Day, President’s Day, and Labor Day will typically yield steeper discounts.
If you’re eager to save serious money on subscriptions like Audible, Rosetta Stone, and Lynda, or are finally biting the bullet on that beauty subscription box, you’ll save significantly more if you wait just a few days.
Apple store merchandise
While you may find some deals on Apple products at your preferred big box store, shopping from Apple directly won’t yield the deals you’re likely hoping for. In 2017, the company’s Black Friday promotion was even more lackluster than shoppers could have anticipated, with the electronics giant giving out gift cards on older model products, but only with the purchase of a full-price piece of merchandise. Considering that countless Apple products will run you upwards of $1000, that hardly feels like much of a deal at all.
Fraudsters are drawn to days like Black Friday because of the sheer amount of money being spent—almost $8 billion in 2017—and they will take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Beware of deals that seem to be too good, especially ones coming from sites whose reputation you’re uncertain of. If that $3,000 Gucci bag is being sold by a no-name website for $30 on Black Friday, you can bet it’s a fake—if you end up receiving anything at all.
Don’t let those warm thoughts of cozying up in front of a fire cloud your judgment when you’re shopping on Black Friday. Since the colder weather has only recently set in in many parts of the country, many retailers won’t offer major discounts on their electric fireplaces just yet. Case in point: According to RankTracer, on Amazon, a Country Split Oak Vented Dual Burner Log Natural Gas Fireplace is only three percent cheaper in November, whereas other home appliances have discounts of up to 50 percent off.
Anything at all
Take a page from outdoor retailer REI Co-op and make Black Friday a day where you don’t buy anything. They will close their stores on Black Friday to get more people outside and doing fun stuff instead sitting inside spending money. Or make it a day to donate to your favorite charity—Patagonia directs all money made on Black Friday to grassroots organizations helping to make the world a better place. And if you’ve yet to finish buying this year’s gifts, here are 21 Genius Tricks for Making Holiday Shopping Less Miserable.
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