There are two types of people in this world: Those who embrace Black Friday and those who stay far, far away. As a self-proclaimed mall rat, you can pretty much guess where I’ll be the day after Thanksgiving.
I know what you must be thinking—but, the crowds! And while they’re not ideal, there’s little that can deter me from wanting to snag a good deal.
If you’re also planning to take advantage of Black Friday sales, now’s the perfect time to get your game plan in order. And yes, you’re definitely going to want a plan, because without that laser-sharp focus, you may end up with a bunch of regular-priced impulse buys and zero gifts for friends and fam.
So, to help you identify the best types of purchases to stock up on this Black Friday, we spoke to RetailMeNot‘s shopping expert, Sara Skirboll. Ahead, her advice on what to look for and what to avoid this shopping season.
The best things to buy on Black Friday
Traditionally, electronics see a huge price slash on Black Friday. Because of this, Skirboll notes that people will start shopping for them super early in the day. “If you see a good deal on a TV, computer, or phone, pick it up immediately. Electronics will sell out the quickest on Black Friday.”
Looking for a home upgrade? Keep an eye on appliances, as Black Friday is one of the best times to buy them. “This is because retailers make more mass orders than they usually stock, and prices drop much lower than normal retail,” Skirboll says. She recommends looking for items like coffeemakers, electric skillets, slow cookers, toasters, deep fryers, blenders, and rice makers.
Another category you can save big on: Winter wear. Now’s the time to stock up on a new winter coat, boots, or accessories.
If you have a flexible schedule you can also scoop up some truly stellar vacation deals. “Hotel and car rental companies as well as travel packages will pump out time-specific sales,” Skirboll explains. “Ski destinations, for example, which see peak visitor numbers December through March, are likely to push Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains for their ‘need’ periods, which are the first and last few weeks of ski season.”
The worst things to buy on Black Friday
While it might be tempting to pick up some new furniture finds, Skirboll cautions against pulling the trigger. “You may find ads for doorbuster deals on furniture from your local department stores or retailers, but don’t give in to the hype. Black Friday is not the time to buy these items.” She notes that indoor furniture is at its lowest in January and July through August, while the best discounts on patio furniture happen between August and September.
Another purchase to avoid? Spring travel tickets. “Sometimes buying airline tickets far in advance does not always yield the best airfare,” Skirboll advises. “Wait until after January to purchase airline tickets for spring travel. The optimum window to lock in airfare for this time of year is about six to eight weeks out.”
Lastly, if you’re shopping for younger folks this year, hold out on buying toys. You’ll actually find the best deals on toys about two weeks before Christmas.