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Black Friday has matured to more than deals on TVs, air fryers and electronics.
All sorts of retailers are attaching the name "Black Friday" to sales, says Jane Boyd Thomas, a professor of marketing at Winthrop University in South Carolina.
As the Black Friday sales go on longer and expand into more categories each year, you’ll find deals you might not have thought about. Here are six offbeat Black Friday buys.
Can you see the top of Lincoln’s head? Car nuts will know the penny trick for gauging tire wear. And if you’re due for a new set, tire retailers and manufacturers are ready to sell you some new rubber at a discount. Nationwide retailer Discount Tire’s website says it will drop Black Friday tire and wheel deals Nov. 23-29 this year.
Look for deals on batteries and filters too. Your local car wash may even run a Black Friday promotion. Car stuff on Black Friday. Who knew?
2. Big-ticket baby gear
After the baby shower, stuff gets expensive to replace without the help of family and friends. Black Friday could be a good time to get a discount on something you use a lot that may be wearing out.
Thomas, who’s about to be grandmother, says it’s a category she wouldn't have thought about otherwise at this time of year. She’s seen an influx of digital ads for strollers and highchairs lately, some of which were marked down by 50% for early Black Friday, she says. The week of Thanksgiving should bring deals from all sorts of baby brands like Owlet and BOB Gear.
Rather than roll the dice on a gift your mom or dad might not use, give them a comfortable place to sit for the next gathering at your house. Furniture isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for a Black Friday score, but deals on couches, chairs and tables are in full effect this November. You can get up to 35% off at LoveSac right now, and over at Macy’s, the popular Radley sectional couch is marked down 47% through Nov. 25.
Your relatives should appreciate the soft seating at holiday gatherings.
4. Amusement park tickets
You may not be thinking about theme parks at the moment, but there are deals worth cheering for this time of year. You can save up to 60% on tickets and annual passes to SeaWorld Orlando, for example, or up to 50% on tickets to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia. If a theme park visit is in your family’s future, look for a deal now.
5. Health and beauty supplies
Not everything has to be a big-ticket buy on Black Friday. You can also find good sales on smaller items like health and beauty products, for example. Thomas says it’s interesting to see how early retailers like Ulta Beauty have pushed out discounts.
Ulta deals are happening now and roll on through Nov. 25. Look for good discounts on items you need to restock, like shampoo and conditioner. Check the websites of your favorite brands for deals, too.
Also, look at your local drugstore on or around Black Friday for better-than-usual buys on toiletries and over-the-counter medicines.
6. Streaming services
Streaming services are getting pricey, and the cost of multiple subscriptions adds up. Last year’s Black Friday streaming deals included 50% off a Paramount+ annual plan and one year of an ad-supported Hulu subscription for $1.99 a month.
Check provider websites on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday to make sure you don’t miss out. Note that offers may apply only to first-time subscribers.
Don’t let Black Friday break you
A great deal is still a bad reason to go into debt, offbeat buys notwithstanding.
NerdWallet’s 2023 holiday shopping report found that around half of Americans (52%) incurred credit card debt shopping for gifts last holiday season, and among them, nearly a third (31%) haven’t paid off these balances.
And if you’re taking on credit card debt to spend on a semi-discretionary item like a sofa, you may want to reconsider.
Even 50% off a $5,000 item is still a hefty $2,500 out of your budget, said Robert Finley, a certified financial advisor and founder of Virtue Asset Management in Chicago, in an email. Try not to be “seduced by a discount,” he added.
But let’s say you have the money saved for something you need — like tires — and you come in under budget on the purchase thanks to a holiday sale. Finley called what’s left over “found money,” and doesn’t recommend going shopping with it.
Instead, make sure to pay off credit cards to avoid interest, put savings toward student loans if you have them, and if anything is left, invest it, he said.
We won’t knock you if you still want to shop some, though. It’s Black Friday after all.
But while the masses are scrambling to save 20% on an air fryer, you might find something more useful on sale. Look around.