A smart shopper’s guide to Black Friday

By: Chi Ngo
Reading Time: 3 minutesClick Here for a Quick Summary!



Black Friday is a beloved American ‘holiday’ that has now become a global trend that allows consumers to go on a shopping spree without breaking the bank. Whether you’re hoping to upgrade to a new phone or buy Christmas gifts, here’s how to approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a pro. 

Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale 

Many people approach Black Friday shopping with a ‘just browsing’ attitude. “Let’s see what’s on sale” is how most people end up with things they don’t need on Black Friday. 

Preparing a shopping list, in this case, is crucial to help you save time and money while avoiding cluttering your home with unnecessary purchases. However, since it’s difficult to anticipate what’s going to be on sale on Black Friday, the New York Times advises being specific about what you’re hoping to buy. For example, if you’re looking to upgrade your TV, know the model you’d like to get, or at least the size and the features that you want. You should also establish how much you’re willing to spend on certain items. This way, you can follow the price drop of specific goods.

WireCutter also suggests taking your time and considering an item before buying, instead of jumping on the purchase just because it’s Black Friday. It’s best to shop around to see different prices, taking into account the item’s features, price, and whether it’s something you really need. They also recommend comparing the discounted price with the market price to determine if it’s actually a good deal. 

Shop online and avoid the crowds

Gone are the days when people camp outside of stores for hours to get the advertised ‘door-buster’ deals. This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’re better off staying at home and shopping online, since the Cyber Week of online sales actually starts from the day before Thanksgiving, according to the New York Times. 

You can find most in-store deals online, offered by retailers and their competitors. You can skip the long queues and avoid the crowds by shopping from the comfort of your home.


What not to buy on Black Friday 

Not everything is a good deal on Black Friday, especially items that are in high demand. Here are some things you should never buy on Black Friday.

  • Clothes, accessories, and jewelry 

The fashion industry has its own sales seasons: the week after Christmas, spring, and early fall. These are when fashion retailers need to get rid of last season’s trendy items to stock up on new trends. Although the Black Friday prices may seem attractive, if your goal is to save, you’d better wait until after Christmas when holiday and winter fashion starts going on sale.  

  • Holiday decorations and winter gear 

The end of November is when holiday decorations and winter gear are hot items, which means everyone is buying them and you’re unlikely to get a good deal. If you’re not in a rush to get these items, wait until the summer when these items are less in demand. 

  • Mattresses and bedding 

Although luxury mattresses and bedding are pricey items that are heavily advertised on Black Friday, it’s not the best time to buy them. Instead, Mashable suggests that Veteran’s Day (November 11) or Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 20) is a better time to get the best deals on mattresses and bedding items. 

What to buy on Black Friday 

According to WireCutter, you should believe the Black Friday hype when it comes to the following purchases.

  • Small kitchen appliances

Kitchen appliances have a very small profit margin, which is why you rarely ever see them go on sale. WireCutter says that November is when prices for kitchen appliances decrease the most, so Black Friday and Cyber Week is when you can get a good deal, especially for luxuries like a stand mixer or espresso maker. 

  • Amazon products 

Amazon-branded merchandise, such as Kindle e-readers or Echo smart speakers, only goes on sale twice a year: Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. If you’re eyeing these items, this is your best opportunity to get a good deal before Prime Day 2020.

  • Consumer electronics

TVs, smartphones, fitness trackers, and gaming consoles are all expensive items that rarely go on sale. If you’re hoping to splurge on an upgrade, Cyber Week is the only chance in the year you can save substantially on these items. 

However, since everyone’s going to keep an eye out for these items, it’s better to do your research on features, prices, and quality to know what you want before heading into Black Friday. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can grab the good deals before everyone else.