It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of Black Friday. The promise of major deals, mega steals and tons of deeply discounted merch can have you whipping out your credit card faster than you can say “doorbuster savings!” The truth is: There are lots of amazing scores to be found online and in store this season, but there are also some less than stellar sales you should skip altogether.
Don’t worry, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts of your Black Friday browsing. Want to know what to snap up now? Check out our guide to the Best Black Friday deals. If you’re curious to find out what items you should avoid, read on.
Okay, this one is a bit confusing. And, we know, the word “electronics” is a bit broad. But here’s the thing – while there are some incredible sales on big-box, holiday-winning devices (think TVs, computers and tablets), there is an equal number of bummer deals to be duped by.
First and foremost, as you do your Black Friday shopping, avoid off-brand, no-name electronics. That 65” television price might look too good to turn down, but if you don’t recognize the manufacturer, think twice before hauling it home. These are often lower quality items with zero guarantees, so you might save more today, but spend additional tomorrow when your beloved flat-screen stops working.
Next, you’ll want to evaluate small-device purchases. While you’ll be able to get a tablet for less, it probably won’t be the latest make and model. If you want all the latest features and add-ons, hold out as new ones will soon be released (they’ll cost more, though!).
If you plan on impressing someone with a little box of something sparkly under the tree, you’ll pay for it through the nose. Sizable diamond necklaces, watches, rings — they cost more now than they will post-Valentine’s Day. So if you can hold off until the next gift giving event, you might even be able to upgrade with more shiny embellishments.
Santa knows that toys – though slightly discounted for Black Friday – will be more significantly marked down as Christmas approaches. It’s a risky move, however, so if a child on your list wants the coveted toy of the season, snap it up now before it’s out of stock. If you’re willing to chance it, though, wait a few weeks for further discounts.
Looking to redecorate your home for the holidays? Put a pin in your lofty plans. Black Friday is not the best time to splurge on expensive home items. You are best off waiting until later in the winter when better sales hit. Summer can be another optimal time for purchasing outdoor patio items. And if it’s a new mattress you’re pining for, try to hold out until President’s Day sales hit in February.
Trying to offset all those holiday cookies and Thanksgiving calories? Go for a walk, and wait to purchase that treadmill until late December or early January when they tend to get further discounted when everyone is making those health and fitness-related New Year’s resolutions.
Spruce up your home and get some merry-making accents, but try to avoid going slap happy on the holiday decor. These will come down in price a week or so before Christmas, and get deeply, deeply discounted in January.
If you are picking up a set of pre-packaged gift cards from a big-box retailer, you might want to wait a wee bit longer. These deals get even better the closer to December 25 you get. And since they require minimal effort (and zero wrapping), you might as well hang tight and save more. If you can’t wait, though, you can send an e-gift card to your loved one now and get Cash Back on that purchase thanks to Rakuten.
Enjoy your savings this Black Friday and beyond, and score big while you can. And whether you decide to heed the above advice (or ignore it altogether – no worries!), be sure to shop with Rakuten to earn Cash Back on all your holiday purchases. If you’re not yet a member, join for free today, just in time for the holiday savings!
Lauren is a digital editor, freelance writer, and Instagram aficionado with a feisty five-year-old boy and a sassy two-year-old diva at home. With a passion for family, travel, style, and alliteration, she spends her days chasing children, chugging coffee, and daydreaming about sleep. As a veteran lifestyle editor and media mom, Lauren loves to find ways to make the aspirational attainable for all the overwhelmed parents out there—because we really need to stick together! Lauren lives with her husband and kiddos in the suburbs of New York City.