Move over, Black Friday. A new shopping trend is taking over: a season of savings.
Retailers are starting their holiday sales earlier than ever before. With ongoing global supply chain issues, early shoppers will be able to score deals on products that may not be in stock if they wait.
Scroll on for what to know.
4 Ways You're Doing Black Friday All Wrong:
Retailers are shaking things up this year, and if you’re waiting on those doorbuster deals, you may lose out.
Julie Ramhold of DealNews shares some of the biggest Black Friday mistakes.
"I would say without a doubt, every year the worst mistake that you can make is not planning ahead of time," Ramhold said. "The ads drop earlier every year. It's important to look at them and to see what your favorite retailers are offering, and take note of those prices as well as sell dates. Sometimes they start early; sometimes they're very limited in quantity. Read that fine print."
Ramhold said you can't just plan to shop for Black Friday deals on the actual day itself.
"Especially now, from last year and this year, we both have a season extend longer, so it's really important that you start looking at your favorite stores even now, and keep an eye out," she said. "There have been early Black Friday sales this year and if you're waiting until Black Friday, you're setting yourself up for disappointment."
But don't ignore doorbuster deals, Ramhold cautioned.
"If you're kind of skipping the Black Friday doorbusters, you're missing out on some of the best deals we're seeing all year long," she said. "Not all of them will be great, but if you're looking for great TV deals and things like that, you better be paying attention."
What about refurbished and open-box items? Ramhold said if you're not set on having the newest version of something, it can be a good way to save money.
"Focus on those refurbs and open-box items, especially from reputable [retailers such as] Best Buy and things like that, because they typically refurbish the item like new," she said. Open box means that an item is may have been a display model or returned, but if you're comfortable with that or a refurbished item, you can actually save quite a bit, she said.
Ramhold also said shopping in-store can be a mistake on Black Friday: "Because at this point, so many deals are moving online; there's no need to get up early and stand outside in the cold or to fight the crowd. You can find most, if not all, of the best deals online as well as in store."
Some Retailers Are Shelling Out the Savings Now
Retailers are rolling out the deals in waves this year: Amazon kicked off its 2021 holiday season on Oct. 4, Walmart on Oct. 17, Best Buy on Oct. 19, and Lowe's started its season of savings Oct. 28.
Here are some of the best deals we found:
- At Walmart, a TCL 55-inch 4k TV is $228.
- You can save 25% on select air fryers at Bed Bath & Beyond.
- And keep an eye on Amazon, as the retailer is marking down a handful of tech products daily.
However, global shortages may prove to be the real Scrooge this year, as these deals are only good "while supplies last."
There are some products you should probably buy now if they’re on your wish list, because they could sell out fast. Those include the Nintendo Switch and gaming laptops due to the chip shortage; TVs because experts predict stock to be low this year, and home decor, simply because we’re spending more time at home.
Here's What to Buy in November
November is one of the best months to score discounts on just about anything, but this year, supply chain disruptions have shoppers wondering if they’ll be able to find anything, let alone a good deal. The sales and selection are there, with one caveat: shop early.
Consumer Reports tracks the prices of many of its top tested products all year long, so it knows exactly when they go on deep discount.
Here's what to buy in November:
- First up, tablets. Consumer Reports found the Lenovo Duet Chromebook tablet on sale for $249 at Amazon. This Chromebook tablet is one of Consumer Reports' top picks for kids because of its parental controls.
- Next, 4k TVs: "Prices on TVs have gone up a bit this year, so the discounts won’t be as big as you might expect around Black Friday," said Consumer Reports shopping editor Samantha Gordon. "We're going to see the best deals around larger TVs; that's 65" TVs and bigger." The Samsung 75" QLED 4k smart TV is now $1,900 at Best Buy. Consumer Reports says this family of Samsung QLED 4k TVs have excellent color accuracy, superior deep black levels and a wide viewing angle.
- Next, give the gift of mobility and ease with wireless headphones. JJLab JBuds Air True Wireless earbuds are on sale for $24.49 at Amazon and Target. This affordable pair of earbuds scores comparably with higher-end brands, and even outperforms more expensive models for sound quality.
- If you plan on hosting for the holidays, you might want to upgrade your vacuum. The Shark Vertex Ultralight Corded Stick Vacuum is now $240 at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon. Consumer Reports says this 2.9-pound vacuum aced its tests for carpets, bare floors and pet hair.
- And finally, if anyone you know still doesn’t have an air fryer, it’s about time they get one as a gift! The Dreo air fryer is now $81 at Amazon. Unlike most air fryers, Consumer Reports says this model is easy to clean.
And if you’re worried about prices dropping after you buy, check to see if the retailer has a price match guarantee. That way, if the price does go down, you might be entitled to a refund of the difference. Stores with good price match policies include Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Savings Shortcuts and Tips for Online Shopping
If you're avoiding the in-store shopping frenzy by shopping online, make sure you install a money-saving browser extension before you do it.
These shopping tools — such as Rakuten, Capital One shopping and PriceBlink — will help you save before you check out. These extensions are free to use; just add one to your browser and they will do most of the work for you.
The browser tools will apply coupons, do product price comparisons with other online stores, and send price drop alerts to you. Rakuten even offers cash back and rewards from many retailers, while the Capital One browser extension can be linked to your Amazon account and take shipping cost into account when searching for the best deals.
If you're planning to buy your items with a credit card, many companies are offering great sign-up deals during this time. But plan ahead, and search for the card that fits your needs. Look for a credit card that offers cash back, a signup bonus or reward points.
Don't forget to explore retailer subscriptions and loyalty programs. Members of Walmart+ will get access to early Black Friday deals and free delivery. If you don’t have the membership, you can sign up for a 15-day trial.
Target Circle and My Best Buy are two free loyalty programs that offer access to early deals and savings all year if you sign up.