It's almost time to start shopping for the holidays, and with two of the biggest sale days of the year around the corner, you may be wondering how to get the best bargains this year. Here, we discuss your best strategy.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer two very different types of deals. On Black Friday, for instance, the best things to buy are cameras, TVs, smartphones and laptops -- but don't expect to see the best deals on as many name brands.
Another thing to keep in mind is that hyper-discounted items come in limited quantities, so chances are they'll be out of stock once you get there. Make a game plan on what you'll do if what you want isn't available and stick to it. Otherwise, you'll be left considering the most expensive brands.
If dealing with long lines and frantic crowds isn't your thing, Cyber Monday may be more your speed. You'll likely find nearly 70 percent of the same deals online without the hassle of leaving home.
What kind of deals can you get? According to DealNews, Cyber Monday is the best day for bargains on apparel and accessories. However, overloaded servers and out-of-stock items are the biggest downsides.
Whichever day you prefer to shop, you'll be sure to save. But if you use these tips, you'll get the most out of your holiday shopping.
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Black Friday is an excellent time to buy a new TV, as we predict a variety of size categories will hit their lowest price points. But don't expect the best deals to be tagged with name brands. Typically, the rock-bottom prices apply to third-tier manufacturers; brand-name TVs tend to see their best price of the year in late December as manufacturers look to clear stock before revealing 2014 models.
There's no shortage of digital camera deals around Black Friday, but premium current-generation cameras are just a few months away from being replaced by a new line of 2014 models. If you're eyeing a brand new digital SLR, we recommend waiting until after CES and into February for 2013 cameras to become "old," and thus receive aggressive discounts from retailers.
For those of you looking to get a leg up on any fitness New Year's resolutions, you should resolve to wait to buy any fitness equipment. During Black Friday weekend 2012, we listed just two Editors' Choice fitness deals, while December and January each saw more than five times that amount on a variety of gear including heart rate monitors, ab machines, ellipticals, and yoga equipment.
While we don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate a seasonal throw blanket, we don't recommend giving them as gifts this year unless you've got a stock of them in the closet from last season. Not only does holiday decor get cheaper after the holiday in question, but bedding and blankets fall to their lowest prices of the year come January and February during "White Sales," which have been a colorful tradition since the 1950s.
Perhaps better received than throw blankets, gift baskets and wine subscriptions are especially popular during the holidays. But as the giver, you'll get a better deal on specialty foods (i.e. Omaha Steak gift bundles, fruit baskets, and assorted baked goods) if you wait until December; last year we saw twice as many Editors' Choice deals close to Christmas than around Thanksgiving.
If you have your sights set on a trip to California or Florida, by all means purchase airfare around Black Friday and even closer to Christmas; last year we saw up to 50 percent off coupons from Frontier, JetBlue, and Virgin America. However, if it's an international getaway you're after, we advise you to hold off on booking your flight until the new year. Last year, we saw zero Editors' Choice airfare deals between Thanksgiving and New Year's. But in the first two months of the year, Air Canada offered the lowest base rate we'd seen for flights to Toronto; JetBlue took 80 percent off select flights to the Caribbean; and Lufthansa offered roundtrip fares to Europe for $471.