If there's one "secret" that decorators love to share, it's where they scored a good deal. Ask the person with the cute skirt on where they got it, and if it happened to be on sale, they'll probably be enthusiastic to tell you. We all like feeling as though our money is working for us (rather than the other way around), and that's why Black Friday sales can be so alluring. It's as though an entire event was made for us to share our best finds with loved ones and strangers alike, and those deals and bragging rights are too good to pass up.
But don't let your excitement for slashed prices blind your better judgment: Black Friday is only worth it if you know how to find the best items on sale. We found the five things you should definitely not spend your money on as you brave the crowds, and five better options that will help you make the most out of the available discounts.
Below, read on to learn about what you should not buy on Black Friday, and return home with that elated feeling of savings along with exciting new products.
A new refrigerator or washing machine may feel like a smart purchase on Black Friday—especially ahead of all the holiday eating and party hopping you plan to do—but better deals can usually be found during three-day weekends like President's Day and Memorial Day. In fact, waiting until New Year's Day sales hit can often help you score a better discount, too.
Instead, focus on buying smart home technology. If you're set on making your home run more smoothly with a Black Friday purchase, opt for products like an Amazon Echo or Google Home. Kohl's, for example, has been known to offer Google Home for as low as $80 (versus its usual prices between $100 and $230 depending on the model).
It might seem like a can't-miss deal if you come across a highly discounted diamond ring during a Black Friday sale at a department store, but don't fall for it. The prices of diamonds and gold are dependent on their market value, so a discounted piece usually means that it's not worth much to begin with. It's best to hold on to your money and buy a ring that's worth the splurge.
Instead, accessories like Apple Watches and Fitbits are legitimate steals at big-box stores during Black Friday, as long as you're willing to settle for an older model. Rather than paying much higher rates for the brand-new, top-of-the-line varieties, you'll find that the previous year's models usually include the vast majority of special features at a fraction of the cost.
Electronics are often what Black Friday sales are all about—that's usually what customers are clawing after in "doorbuster" deals—but don't get caught in that crowd. Those specific electronics are often off-brand models, which means that they're of a lower quality than what you can bring home for more money. Also, each store only receives a limited number of the "buster" product, so it's likely that the inventory will sell out quickly.
Instead, do your research if you're ready to wait in line for a new high-definition television or other coveted tech toys. The brand-name offerings will still be discounted, but you'll have peace of mind knowing that they'll last years. When it comes to televisions, stick to trusted brands like Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sony and more. A cheaper model might feel appealing now, but you'll thank yourself later for spending a little more for higher quality.
When you see a cute top—and even cuter shoes—at a discount on Black Friday, all signs seem to point to the checkout line. However, it's best to hold off on buying any clothes until a couple of days later on Cyber Monday. You're likely to find even better deals on what's up for grabs, and you can do it from the comfort of your home. If you're looking for the best clothing deals that come after Black Friday, try on the items in-store ahead of time to find your size, minimize returns, and ensure you pick the best pieces for your wardrobe.
Instead, gaming systems are a notorious steal on Black Friday if you don't mind taking home last year's models, and you can save as much as $100 on them at big-box stores. (In other words, the money you save on buying a PlayStation could be put toward new shoes.) Similar to wearable technology, the latest models are often very similar to the previous year's, so the money saved can go a long way without sacrificing much quality.
Holiday decorations will likely be lining the aisles of stores that are open on Black Friday, but it's a good idea to skip buying any garlands, wreaths, or ornaments now. The real deals for decorations happen after the holidays themselves, which means that you can stock up at a discount then.
Instead, focus on where you're going to travel next year. Many airlines offer affordable flights, cruises sell lowered fairs, and resorts book at discounted prices during Black Friday. And if you haven't bought anything after that date, don't worry—a lot of the deals are extended for Cyber Monday, as well. Get your family or friends together before the holiday weekend to discuss where you'd like to go, what the budget is, and how you'll be getting there. Once Black Friday rolls around, you'll be able to purchase travel necessities at a steal compared to rates during the rest of the year.
If you didn't buy discounted décor last year, keep things minimal this year and plan to shop in late December or early January for the best holiday pieces you'll keep for years to come.