Before You Shop Black Friday, Read This

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Black Friday 2012 is almost here. With it comes a tsunami of Black Friday deals as it really is the busiest shopping day of the year. Americans aren’t just buying gifts, but also buying for themselves.

Around here we’ll watch the ads, cut through the noise and share the best of the best Black Friday deals. You’ll be able to snag most of them online, from the comfort of your own home.

If you do plan to shop this week, then prepare yourself with the answers to three common Black Friday questions.

Are the Black Friday deals the best prices we see all year?

Depends. There are some Black Friday deals that are rock bottom prices. Principally laptops, tablets, gaming device bundles and some kitchen gadgets, think Kitchenaid Mixer, will sell at stellar prices. But, there are things that aren’t worth buying on Black Friday. Those include toys (yes, I just said that), jewelry and name brand HDTVs.

Historically, toys hit their seasonal low prices about 2 weeks before Christmas. Very few Black Friday toy sales are noteworthy. Yes, there will be a handful of exceptions, but it isn’t the day to buy everything on your list.

Jewelry is in highest demand now through Valentine’s Day. As a result, prices stay up. Next year, buy watches and jewelry in June and July, the off season, for amazing prices. Then set aside your treasures until the holidays.

No name and low-end HDTVs will sell for unbeatable prices as doorbusters at various retailers. Name brand, higher-end TVs won’t. Typcially, TVs hit their lowest prices of the year in January/February. If you can hold off getting a new one until then, I think it’s wise.

Can I price match great deals from store A at store B? If I buy something now at store A can I get a price adjustment if the price drops on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Most retailers that offer to match competitor’s prices and/or adjust your price if you see a post-purchase price drop suspend those policies this week. However, a few retailers don’t. Of course there is fine print to each store’s price matching and/or price adjustment  so be sure you read through all the details before you march to the Customer Service counter.

  • Walmart’s ad match guarantee is still in effect, even on Black Friday. They will honor a local competitor’s advertised price if they carry the exact same item. There are restrictions.
  • Office Depot will match any local competitor’s ad, plus online prices at select retailers like Best Buy, Target and Sam’s Club even for Black Friday deals.
  • Staples has a similar policy to Office Depot, but they will price match with Amazon.

What’s new this year for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2012?

Black Friday creep is the name of the game. Stores are opening earlier than ever. Walmart, Kmart and Sears are opening at 8 pm on Thursday night. Most major national retailers will be open by midnight, except JC Penney. They don’t open until 6 am Friday.

It’s not just stores that are getting a jump on Black Friday. Online retailers are too. will launch its online Black Friday deals starting at 12:01 am on Wednesday. is known to release online exclusive deals that will be good Thursday only. Think of it like this – if stores open early, then the website sales start even earlier.

The other interesting thing this is year is Walmart’s guarantee of availability on 3 doorbusters. If you are in line to get one of the 3 select doorbusters between 10 and 11 pm on Thanksgiving night, then you are guaranteed to get one at the doorbuster price. If the store runs out, then they’ll help you place an online order and the product will ship to the store before Christmas. An iPad 2 for $399 with a $75 Walmart gift card is one of those doorbusters. It’s worth waiting for.

Let us help you make the most of this busy shopping season. Browse all the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Do you battle Black Friday crowds? Is it a family tradition? What’s on your shopping list? Which online deals would you like us to keep an eye out for?


  1. Shauna says

    Glad to see that there's at least one store (Penney's) that wants to let Thanksgiving remain a holiday. I think I will shop there!

    Does Staples match Amazon's prices all the time, or only on Black Friday. I literally put some ink cartridges back because Amazon beat their prices significantly.

  2. ella says

    Thanks Carrie for these tips! We did find an HDTV last Black Friday, had been watching for a long time, got a recommended name brand model, and price was rock bottom. We also wait a bit before buying into new technology, saved many hundreds of dollars on the HDTV than buying it when it first came out. There will always be something new and "better".

    The other thing to watch out for is getting caught up in all the hype. Budgeting, shopping, and saving are a year- round endeavor. Good luck to everyone!

  3. Brittany says

    I was just wondering if anyone had some good info on when the best time is to buy Christmas craft material? I'm trying to start something on the side and then once things get more established, my mom can do some of the work from home (she lost her job and she has some health issues, I'm trying to find a way for her to not have to work full time). The materials I need are styrofoam eggs, ribbon, mini decorations (Michaels has these mini poinsettias I've been using), and mini pins/tacks. The eggs I can get whenever and I found a wholesale place where I can get them for under a dollar each for the unit price. I keep seeing there is a sale at Michaels on the ribbon and seasonal aspects. I think I've bought enough and have enough that I've been saving for what I need right now, but I keep having to fight the urge to buy more when it is on sale. I know after Christmas should be the best time to buy these things, but I'm worried there won't be much there if I wait that long. Is there a perfect time to buy these things? I'm experimenting with a few places this year as far as selling them (consignment shops) and I hope that I can have enough material and make enough of them so that I can get them to the stores ahead of time next year. Also, some of the Christmas ribbon can be played around with to be able to fit into other seasonal decor.

    I want to really stock up, but I don't want to spend too much. Does anyone know when the best time is to do this for Christmas items specifically?

    • Drew says

      If you specifically need Xmas materials, I wouldn't wait too long. They may clearance things out for really cheap after 12/25 but the selection will be limited.

      If you are buying for a business venture I would think that regular sale price on what you want is good enough. Using your time shopping may not be the best value.

      For example, if it takes an extra 1 hour to save $20 on materials, but you could have used that hour to produce more than $20 worth of goods than it doesn't seem like a good tradeoff. Best of luck.

      • Brittany says

        Thank you! Yes, that is what I'm worried about: selection. I wonder when the selection vs. cost is at the best spot? Right now I don't have a lot of money to put in it, so the hour saving money would be worth it. Since I posted the question, I'm thinking of getting my Christmas shopping out of the way before buying any more materials (I usually buy early, so that won't be a problem). I realized that my biggest worry was that I wouldn't have enough left over for Christmas shopping.

        Thanks again!

  4. Mikey says

    You could also try posting for things you need on freecycle or checking out thrift stores. I always forget to check the hanging bags of stuff section at the thrift stores (like Unique Thrift) and have found brand new Christmas cards, crafts items, etc. Anything that's too small to just put on a shelf they often bag together and you buy the bag knowing there may be items in it you really want and others you really don't want. They are clear plastic bags usually stapled shut with a price tag on them so you can look at several to try to find what you want/need. I just donate or freecycle things I don't want. Good luck

    • Brittany says

      Thank you very much for your advice! I haven't used freecycle for a while, but I might try it out again. I usually go to garage sales and rummage sales, but during the winter thrift stores sound like a great idea. I know of a few Goodwill places that have opened up that I haven't been to. The Savers near me has never really had a great craft selection :/

  5. Tracy says

    I saw Carrie talk about some apps for price and availability on items on KARE11 the other day but can't remember what they were. Please help!

    • says

      Shop Savvy is the price comparison app I mentioned. It and Red Laser are the two most popular comparison apps. Milo is the app that lets you see in stock availability of a product. Hope that helps!

  6. AsUntoTheLord says

    Just curious, if I'm not interested in the latest and greatest laptop, would it be better buying a new (or refurbished) one this time of year, or waiting until January and scoping out the used cast offs on, say, Craigslist, etc?

    • says

      Personally, I wouldn't buy a laptop off Craig's List – it might be stolen for all you know. If you go the refurb route, then do it through a legit site like Cowboom or Secondipity.

  7. AsUntoTheLord says

    Ironic you mentioned that, hadn't factored that into my thinking, though I'm pretty discerning of character and not easily fooled…if a person doesn't have a good history on a suspicious item I smell a rat, for example. However, my brother had his laptop stolen during a break in and used some techy tricks to find the guy's house after he posted the stolen goods on CL for sale…the police were impressed. :-)

    I hadn't heard of either of those sites but will check them out today. Would these be better than buying a refurbished one from the more mainline sites? I only even noticed the idea when browsing some popular sites for Friday's deals.

  8. Kathy T says

    Black Friday Cricket magazine publishing group sale. Prices are some of the lowest I've seen. Codes are hidden on each mag. description in ornaments. I used code I202 (that's capitol i followed by 202, not 1202) to get subscriptions at $22.95/yr (reg around $33).

    Also as a bonus, I was sent a link to a free ebook to download after ordering :)

    Great quality, ed. magazines–the only ones I actually pay for (the rest of my subscriptions, I get free from rewards sites!).

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