What to Buy (and Skip) in November

Put on your game face, as Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring the deals.
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Written by Courtney Neidel
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November brings forth a cornucopia of sales: Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But that’s just the beginning of what this deal-driven month will produce. Here are the categories from which you should be buying — and a couple you should skip — over the next few weeks to get the most for your money.

Buy: Electronics

Of all the products that will be on sale in November, electronics take center stage. Stores stuff the pages of their Black Friday ads with markdowns on tablets, laptops, gaming systems, smart watches, smartphones and more. This often equates to hundreds of dollars in savings.

If you’re planning a major purchase such as a refrigerator or computer, hold off until the end of the month.

Accordingly, shoppers should be patient and wait until Black Friday (Nov. 24) to make an electronics purchase. Some major retailers will kick off their Black Friday deals a day early, on Thanksgiving. If you don’t want to brave the crowds to get a deal, many stores will also give shoppers an opportunity to do their discount shopping online.

Skip: Bedding and linens

January is just around the corner, and it's your best bet for a deal on bedding and linens. Dating back to the 1800s, stores have promoted bedding discounts called “white sales” at the beginning of each year as a way to bring shoppers into their home departments. In January 2017, bedding basics were slashed by 50% or more at retailers like Macy’s and Overstock. We expect similar levels of savings again in 2018.

Buy: Vacuums

Aside from spring cleaning season, November might be the best time to add a new vacuum cleaner to your closet. Last year, Walmart had vacuums from Dyson, Shark, Bissell, Hoover and more on sale during its Black Friday event. Department store Kohl’s took 25% to 60% off select floor care styles. Expect these sweeping sales to land at the end of the month.

Skip: Winter products

The first day of winter is fast approaching. Dec. 21 will mark a change in seasons, but retailers are already gearing up for the cold months by releasing winter apparel and sporting equipment early — usually at full price. Similarly, Christmas decorations now adorning store displays are more expensive when they first hit shelves than when they’re on their way out the door. Consider reserving your seasonal purchases until near Christmas, or even after Dec. 25.

Buy: Wedding dresses

Dress shops have been known to clear out racks of existing merchandise in the fall as they make way for brides to shop new styles. Accordingly, look for deals on wedding dresses. Another insider tip: If you really want to save big, buy a dress that isn’t a wedding dress at all. Many stores sell white dresses in styles similar to wedding gowns, but if the dress isn’t labeled as such, it’ll generally cost you less.

Shop: Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales

We alluded to it earlier, but November is perhaps best known, at least when it comes to retail, for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year, Black Friday is on Nov. 24, and Cyber Monday is on Nov. 27.

If you’re planning a major purchase such as a refrigerator or computer, hold off until the end of the month. Major retailers like Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Amazon usually release Black Friday advertisements in the days or weeks before the shopping event to announce their upcoming deals and doorbusters, so you can plan your shopping accordingly.

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Bonus: Veterans Day

Black Friday isn’t the only shopping holiday this month. Veterans Day traditionally delivers military-specific discounts at retailers and restaurants to salute members of the armed forces, but savings often extend to everyday shoppers as well. Last year, a variety of popular stores hosted patriotic promotions, including J.C. Penney, which reduced select home collection styles by 30% to 50%. This year, Veterans Day is on Saturday, Nov. 11, but sales will likely last throughout the weekend.

Bonus: Freebies

To round out the month, keep an eye out for freebies. If you’re a fan of sandwiches, you’ll likely be able to find a buy one, get one free sub offer on National Sandwich Day, which is Nov. 3. Check social media to see how to claim deals near you.

You may also be able to take home a free turkey for Thanksgiving this year. In the past, many grocery store chains have given free turkeys to customers who spend a certain amount at their store. You could hit that minimum if you buy other Thanksgiving dinner trimmings. So how much are you saving? A 16-pound turkey cost an average of $22.74 in 2016, according to an informal price survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.