Your guide to Black Friday savings

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Black Friday was once a whirlwind shopping day heralding the start of the holiday shopping season with much-needed door knocking, swollen crowds, winding queues and packed parking lots. The most ardent bargain hunters would even brave the freezing cold and camp outside stores to pick up the most coveted deals and save some cash.

Now shoppers are bombarded with “pre-Black Friday” sales at the end of September, from October to November, many of which can be purchased with just a few clicks from the comfort of a sofa. There are no queues, no parking spots to trap, and no need to step out in the middle of the night to be among the first to ambush stores when they open. Even early Black Friday ad breaks are rare.

However, there are still great deals offered exclusively on Black Friday and the days leading up to the cardinal consumer holiday. But before you rush out the door (or the computer), take a moment to plan your shopping adventure, because grabbing fleeting deals while saving money takes some finesse. Consider these tips to plan your getaways, get the best deals, and save money along the way.

Pre-order the Thanksgiving Day edition of The Times Union — our biggest newspaper of the year — for $5 and get a $10 Dunkin’ Gift Card while supplies last (limit four per customer). You can pick it up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Times Union, 645 Albany Shaker Road, Colony. You don’t even have to get out of your car. The newspaper will feature several Black Friday advertisements (although many are now digital-only) as well as the all-new Game Day Recipe Guide, a Holiday Magazine, a 48-page Puzzle Book, Savings Source Magazine and the start of our Leaf of local holiday deals with over $100 in instant local coupons. Details: https://www.timesunion.com/store.

Preparation for online purchases

Online shopping? Create an account now at your favorite stores so you can grab the best deals and checkout in a snap. Time will be counted. Also, sign up for membership or loyalty programs in advance so you know about early sales and coupons. Consider adding a browser extension. These are handy if you don’t feel like jumping from one website to another to compare prices, get coupons, or net cash back. The RetailMeNot, Rakuten and The Capital One Shopping browser extension will search for a better price while you shop and instantly apply coupons. You will also get cash back or rewards that you can redeem for gift cards.

Plan your Amazon attack

Amazon announced it was slashing the prices of millions of products during the 48-hour Black Friday event starting on Thanksgiving Day. There will be discounts on YETI, Savage X Fenty with Rihanna, Sweaty Betty, Moroccanoil, Pokémon, Bose and more. The e-commerce giant also plans to offer surprise deals every 30 minutes during certain times throughout the two-day event. If you constantly compare prices (and you should), be sure to use CamelCamelCamel.com. Amazon’s free price tracker lets you see what an item sold for up to 120 days ago. You can also create Amazon price trackers and receive email alerts when prices drop.

Carefully consider buy-it-now and pay-later options

Nearly 30% of shoppers plan to use a buy-it-now option like Klarna or Paypal to fund their Christmas gifts, according to research from shopping platform DealAid.org. In 2021, only 13% of buyers planned to use these tools. Offered by a growing number of retailers, buy-it-now, pay-later programs are a bit like traditional layaway plans: you fill your cart and put down a deposit. However, unlike layaway, you immediately get the products you buy. The most popular programs allow payment purchases to be split into four equal interest-free installments. If a merchant joins such a program, it will be offered at checkout.

You should not undertake too many plans at once. Smaller payments can hide how much you’re actually spending, and you don’t want to be stuck with more than you can repay. You should also ensure that you always make your payments on time, as late fees can be high.

Know when stores are open, when sales start and times for the best deals

Most stores and all malls in the Capital Region will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Although Black Friday sales have been increasing daily since September, some of the biggest sales of the season are still to come in the days leading up to and include Black Friday. You’ll need to know exactly when the official online sales start, so you don’t miss a thing.

It varies enormously. Best Buy’s Black Friday sale begins online the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Walmart will launch its Black Friday sale online on Monday. More Black Friday deals will be unveiled for in-store purchases at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. You can see a breakdown of Black Friday sales start times in-store and online at BlackFriday.com.

Shops with the biggest discounts

More than 66 million Americans are expected to shop in person and 88 million will shop online this Black Friday. To help savvy shoppers find the best deals, personal finance website WalletHub has just released its best places to shop in 2022 on Black Friday to identify the stores offering the biggest discounts across various product categories this holiday season.

The overall average discount for Black Friday is 37%. Anything less isn’t really a deal. JCPenney has the highest overall discount rate at 64.71%. Macy’s and Kohl’s are not far behind with 53% and 44% respectively. Don’t expect to save much at Costco, where the average discount hovers around 6%. Best Buy and Amazon didn’t fare much better, at 23% and 26%, respectively.

Differentiate Black Friday deals from duds

It can be confusing and stressful figuring out what and when to buy during the month-long Black Friday sales that push different deals on different days, said Andrea Woroch, shopping coach and consumer savings expert. Figuring out whether something is a real deal or a dud takes some strategy, Woroch said. She shares these tips to help you focus on what to buy now, what to wait to buy, and how to decipher a genuine Black Friday deal from a dud.

Buy this: Look for deals on personal gadgets, video game consoles, smart home devices, big screen TVs and small kitchen gadgets. You can even find strikers on certain garments like a pajama set, sweater, or slippers. However, not everything is a good buy on Black Friday, so review what to ignore. Some retailers will offer free gift cards or additional rewards on Black Friday, which can make an offer more attractive (Target is offering $10 free for every $50 spent on LEGO, for example). You can also find deeper discounts on gift cards from restaurants and retailers like Amazon, offering cash or an extra bonus card with purchase that ends up being like two freebies in one.

Ignore this: Best to shop for clothes, beauty and shoes on Cyber ​​Monday with lots of sitewide sales (look for discount codes to save more via text alerts, email newsletters or coupon sites like CouponCabin.com), toys will be marked down the last two weeks of December, and winter clothes are cheapest the last days before Christmas and right after. If you’re looking for bedding and linens, expect the best prices during the January white sales. Finally, mark your calendar for Travel Deal Tuesday, November 29 to find the best deals on airfare, hotels, and car rentals through Hopper.

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