Smart Spending

Black Friday 2013 No-No’s or What NOT to Buy

Toys, toys and more toys. Scoring a deal on the hottest toys of the years always seems to be the holy grail for some parents. But Black Friday is the absolute worst day to buy toys during the holiday season. Because there are far more toy choices (brands, sizes and options) available online than any one store (even including mega-store ToysRUs) could possibly carry physically, prices will start to decline for toys beginning on Cyber Monday and continuing to drop until about a week before Christmas. At that point – when people may be in panic mode because it’s so late in the holiday shopping game – prices inevitably start to go back up.
It should go without saying but don’t buy Christmas decorations on Black Friday. That’s what retailers hope will happen; that you’ll get so caught up in seeing the malls decorated and listening to that subliminal holiday music playing softly in the background that you’ll stock on up lights and trees and ornaments and wrapping paper and ribbon and Santa hats and wreaths. Don’t do it. As with toys, the closer you get to the holidays, the less expensive they’ll become. (Of course, we told you in January that the truly best time to buy Christmas decorations begins the day after Christmas and lasts for the first few weeks of the new year.
Remember how we told you that Black Friday is a great day for buying a laptop because fewer people are buying them (while more of us are switching to tablets). Not surprisingly, tablets – particularly the new Apple iPad mini and the new Kindle HDX – are not likely to be discounted at all. Typically retailers don’t start offering discounts on newer electronic products until a few months after they’re on the market and the latest generation of tables and e-readers are too new to be even considered for any significant discount at this point.
The holidays bring with them (for most parts of the country) cold – or colder – weather which means winter clothing will be in high demand. Retailers realize that so the chances that you’ll find any sales on Black Friday (or even throughout the holiday season) are not great. It’s always better to try to buy season clothing at the end of the season, which is easier said than done if you have kids because it’s not always easy to predict how tall they’ll be in a year or what size coat or shoe they’ll be wearing. But you’ll score far better deals if you wait until after January.
Finally, we told you last time that Black Friday is a great time to shop for lesser-known brands of televisions. But for brand names and higher-end televisions, Black Friday is not going to score you any savings. A much better time of year to buy a new television from a brand name you recognize is the end of December leading up to right before Super Bowl Sunday. After Christmas, retailers will be looking to liquidate their inventories as the 2014 models will be heading to their stores so save your shopping plans for that big screen TV until you start your Super Bowl party plans.