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What to buy (and skip) on Black Friday 2020

What to buy (and skip) on Black Friday 2020
Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 16, 2020

Amid all of the retail chaos and change of 2020, at least one thing remains the same: the biggest sale day of the year.

Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — has a reputation as the best time of the year to buy just about anything.

But even though Black Friday still exists in 2020, it won’t be the same experience as before. Our guide can help you get the best bargains this Nov. 27.

Buy: Televisions

Low-priced electronics deals are a given on Black Friday. That won’t change this year.

Last year, Target sold a 65-inch TV in stores for only $279.99. Walmart, too, had a 65-inch TV for just $278. This Black Friday, you’re guaranteed to find discounts on TVs, as well as tablets and laptops.

As for some stocking stuffers to go along with your new TV, you’ll find video games, CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays deeply discounted from their original prices. In 2019, Walmart had over 50 movie titles for $1.96 apiece.

Skip: Toys

Historically, it’s best to wait until closer to Christmas to purchase dolls, action figures, play sets and other toys. You run the risk that certain items will sell out, but you may also be able to find bigger savings on what’s left.

In past years, select toys have been on sale for as much as 50% off in the final days before Christmas.

Buy: Apple products

There’s a specific electronic brand that’s popular on Black Friday: Apple. Major retail stores such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart discount Apple products each year, and previous-generation models usually see dramatic deals. These offers may include price cuts, free gift cards with purchase (up to $400 with a qualifying phone purchase on an installment plan), or a combination of both.

Target devoted an entire page of its 2019 Black Friday ad to Apple. The Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) started at $169.99 (regularly $199.99), and select App Store and iTunes gift cards were buy one, get one 30% off.

Apple discounts likely won’t disappear this Black Friday. In fact, Apple items have already been on sale in pre-Black Friday sales. Keep an eye out for deals on MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Apple TVs.

Skip: Bedding

You’ve got the entertainment center covered, but hesitate before stocking up on supplies to refresh the look of your bedroom this Black Friday.

Every January, retailers such as Overstock, Pottery Barn and Sears host “white sales.” During these seasonal promotions, discounts on bedding, pillows, towels and linens can hit up to 70%. Expect these to come around after Jan. 1.

Buy: Gaming systems

Black Friday is big for gamers. This year, look for savings on video game systems from retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop. Expect deals on products from Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo.

You’ll also find particularly great offers on gaming bundles. These include the game console plus a combination of accessories or games.

Skip: Winter clothing

Winter clothing generally isn’t the best value on Black Friday. Retailers frequently offer big clearance sales on jackets when winter gives way to spring.

But if you need something to keep you warm before then, you’ll be able to find some bargains this Black Friday. Year after year, department stores like to offer doorbuster deals on women’s boots with select pairs for just $19.99 each.

If you miss Black Friday, don’t worry. Department stores and clothing retailers have been rolling out new sales almost daily.

Buy: Christmas decor

Blowout post-Christmas clearance sales happen every year on Dec. 26 as shoppers make their way to the store to return gifts. Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, tinsel and other seasonal trimmings reach super low prices (for obvious reasons). Prices also drop in the final weeks before Christmas.

For those reasons, Christmas decorations used to be on our list of items to skip on Black Friday. But this year, it’s less likely you’ll be at the mall shortly before Christmas. And waiting to order online could spell shipping delays.

So if you need decorations, consider scooping up deals on artificial trees and rolls of wrapping paper from home and craft stores on Black Friday. That way you’ll have your essentials in time for Christmas.

Skip: Outdoor items

Outdoor products, grills and patio furniture were already deeply discounted immediately after summer ended.

If you didn’t pick up these products at the close of this summer, wait until Memorial Day and Labor Day sales roll around next year. Another viable option is the Spring Black Friday Sale that home improvement store Lowe’s usually holds each year.

Buy: Appliances

Black Friday brings big savings on washers, dryers, refrigerators and other kitchen appliances. Retailers typically mark down home appliances by 40%. Look for similar deep discounts again this year.

You’ll find smaller appliances such as coffee makers, mixers, blenders or vacuum cleaners on sale, too. Expect deals from department stores such as Kohl’s, Macy’s and JCPenney.

Shop: Online

For the ultimate combination of convenience, safety and savings, spring for online shopping. With so many stores closed on Thanksgiving, big-box retailers are bringing their doorbusters online this Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Online shoppers will usually enjoy free shipping. Or, you can choose to make your purchases online and pick them up at the store.

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Courtney Jespersen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @CourtneyNerd.