It's the most wonderful time of the year — for bargain hunters at least. While you'll find niche sales on July 4th and Labor Day, Black Friday kicks off the biggest holiday shopping weekend of the year.
"Generally, everything goes on sale on Black Friday. It's the month where it's safe to buy just about anything," says Louis Ramirez, deals editor at Tom's Guide.
In other words, the bombardment of emails you'll receive this weekend from every retailer you've ever done business with will likely contain some good discounts across the board.
But for astute shoppers, it can pay to be a little discerning. Even though everything will be on sale, you're likely to find steeper discounts on certain items if you wait, deals experts say.
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Here are four things you should hold off on buying this weekend — and two you should purchase.
Don't buy: Seasonal stuff
You tend to see fall clothing go on heavy sale during Black Friday, and you may see some winter stuff in the mix too, says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews. If a heavy coat comes up for sale, "and you need it and the deal is decent, go ahead and get it," she says.
But generally, you're better off waiting until later in the season. "You're really looking to pick that stuff up in January or February," Ramhold says.
The same goes for "summery" items, says Ramirez. "For things like air conditioners, you might find better prices later in the year."
Don't buy: Fitness equipment
Looking to get in shape with a home treadmill or stationary bike? Wait until everyone else joins the bandwagon.
"Discounts on fitness equipment tend to be kind of small on Black Friday," says Ramhold. "Come January, everyone has fitness on their mind. That's when you'll see a ton of deals on equipment and activewear."
Don't buy: Toys and gift cards
Gift cards and children's toys will likely both make their way onto your holiday shopping list, but now is not the optimal time to buy, says Ramhold. "You'll see some discounts on store gift cards, but you're going to see a lot more in December," she says.
The same generally goes for toys, which tend to go on steeper sale right before the holidays.
But don't be afraid to snap up a good deal on something you're worried may end up out of stock. "Use your best judgment," Ramhold says. But, "if you don't mind taking a little gamble, you'll see a lot more deals in December."
Do buy: Mattresses and bedding
Mattress stores tend to offer deals on more obscure holiday weekends. But if you're in the market for new bedding, now is the time to buy, says Ramirez.
"These tend to go on sale on Presidents Day and Memorial Day, but November is when they offer the cheapest prices," he says. "Anything for the bedroom — mattresses, bedding, weighted blankets — will be cheapest during Black Friday sales."
Do buy: Big ticket electronics
You're unlikely to find a better time to buy an expensive tech upgrade. "On big ticket items such as TVs and laptops, look for a 50% discount at the minimum," says Ramirez.
While you likely saw some good deals on laptops and tablets during back-to-school sales, you'll see a much wider range go on sale this weekend. "Chromebooks, budget-friendly, lightweight laptops, midrange models and premium gaming machines will all be on sale," says Ramhold.
You'll see sales across price ranges on TVs as well, says Ramirez, with particularly juicy deals on top-of-the-line models.
"One thing that's shocking me is that OLED TVs — the highest of the highest quality — have been crashing in price," he says. "Maybe two years ago they were north of $2,000. Now you can get a 55-inch OLED for about $560."
But wait for the newest TVs
If you're looking for the most cutting-edge TV technology, however, you may want to hold off. That's because TVs you'll take home on Black Friday are the 2021 and 2022 models.
"If you like to have the latest stuff, the 2023 TVs will come out and be on sale just before the Super Bowl," says Ramirez. "So Black Friday isn't for people who want the latest and greatest."
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