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What Not to Buy on Black Friday

Oct. 30, 2014
Black Friday, Shopping
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Black Friday is the best day of the year to buy anything and everything. (Actually, not quite.)

Despite the enticing doorbusters, huge price cuts and frenzied atmosphere that have come to epitomize the season’s most famous shopping day, not every product is as great of a deal as it may appear to be. Before you hit the stores or even read the ads, watch out for some product categories that you’d be better off buying at a different time of the year.

No Joy in Toys

Target has already released an ad touting its featured toys, and Toys R Us created its own “top toy” list. Major retailers have unveiled their selections of the holiday season’s hottest toys, stirring up excitement and likely inspiring countless letters to Santa. Toys are sure to be at the top of every youngster’s Christmas wish list, but when should parents purchase their child’s must-have Disney “Frozen” doll or dream “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” action figure? Not on Black Friday.

Toys are one of the major product categories to avoid on the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, making them first on NerdWallet’s “what not to buy on Black Friday” list. Stores are expected to offer discounts on toys on Black Friday, but – historically – children’s toys reach their lowest prices closer to Christmas. If you can push back your toy purchase into late December, your wallet will appreciate it.

Buy Jewelry in July

It may seem like the perfect Christmas present for that special person in your life, but jewelry is another gift that you’d probably be better off buying on a day other than Black Friday. The prices of jewelry fluctuate according to demand. Accordingly, necklaces, bracelets and rings are usually more expensive around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and – you guessed it – Christmas. You’re better off buying these products in off-peak months, such as in spring or summer.

If you can help it, try to avoid Black Friday jewelry promotions. Similarly, if you’re in the market for luxury products in general, Black Friday won’t be as valuable for you. Higher-end department stores don’t tend to offer as many Black Friday deals as their midrange and discount retail counterparts.

Holiday Lights Don’t Shine

Expect to see lots of holiday-decoration sales this Black Friday.

Retailers are known to herald their seasonal savings and attract potential shoppers by placing festive Christmas trees, lights and other holiday decor deals on the front page of their Black Friday ads. Ace Hardware did it last year with a mini light set promotion. Dollar General did it with lights and ornaments.

Despite this inviting holiday tactic, the absolute best time to buy Christmas decorations is actually after Christmas. Everything from wrapping paper to ornaments is usually discounted as much as 75% after Dec. 25, according to CNN Money.

If you can avoid making any decorating purchases for this year’s holiday, take advantage of post-Christmas sales so you can deck out your home next year for less.

Wait to Make the Bed

A seemingly unexpected item to remove from your Black Friday shopping list is bedding.

Linens, sheets and comforters usually reach their absolute lowest prices after the holiday season is over. Stores typically host what are known as white sales sometime in January. During such sale events, retailers are motivated to unload their winter bedding before they roll out their lightweight spring products.

So if you can hold out past Christmas, try shopping for sheets in the new year.

What’s the Catch?

Finally, there’s one deal to avoid no matter the type of product or the department of the store.

Here’s a helpful rule to apply when weighing any potential purchase: Try to avoid featured Black Friday products if their discount comes with a catch. This could include products that reach a low price only after a mail-in rebate or an in-store coupon. If there’s a chance that you’ll never fill out the rebate form or you’ll never return to the store to use the coupon, you’ll end up paying more for the product than the advertised Black Friday sale price.

As Fox Business warned, don’t let the fact that an item is on sale be the only factor motivating you to buy it.



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