I’m a Black Friday warrior. There’s nothing my family loves more than a good deal, so we always brave the cold Northeast November weather to wait in line at our local mall. It’s become a family tradition, but I have to admit – shopping Black Friday in person can be a frustrating nightmare.
Thankfully, the best deals aren’t just reserved for inside the stores anymore. This year, it may be worth just staying home on Black Friday. Here are some ideas for getting great holiday deals this week without having to wait out in the cold.
Shop retailers’ websites instead
In the past, if you wanted a great holiday deal online you had to wait for Cyber Monday on the week after Thanksgiving. Now that most of America is online, however, Black Friday brick and mortar stores offer great web deals on Black Friday, too.
West Coast electronics superstore Fry’s, for example, allows you to reserve their Black Friday deals online starting Thursday at 9AM – you just need to show up at your leisure on Friday to pick everything up. Retail giant Walmart, meanwhile, will not only offer its own online deals on Black Friday, but will also price match other stores’ prices on purchases made from its website.
Take advantage of Amazon’s special offers
Amazon.com has come a long way since it opened its virtual doors in 1994. Initially an Internet book superstore, Amazon is now just a superstore – it sells virtually everything you can think of, from funeral caskets to designer fashions. You can find a gift for anyone there. And nothing gets your purchase to your door quite as fast as membership in Amazon Prime, the site’s two-day guaranteed shipping service.
Amazon Prime is normally a $79 yearly service, but the website offers a free one-month trial to interested customers. The holiday season is the perfect time to take advantage of this offer, especially now that Christmas is less than a month away. You’ll be able to shop Amazon all holiday long and get free expedited two-day shipping on all your purchases. You’ll also get access to a number of other Amazon Prime benefits, like access to Amazon’s growing video library and the Kindle lending library.
Want more beyond just free two-day shipping? Amazon is running Black Friday deals all week long on tech gadgets, toys, and other neat gift items. And to boost your savings even further, check out these 6 ways to save money on your next Amazon purchase.
Forget about those doorbuster "deals"
When it comes to Black Friday, it seems like every retailer has its own too-good-to-be-true tech deal – even supermarkets and drug stores. You can find $99 Android tablets, $199 laptops, $299 big-screen TVs and more. There’s a catch: Either they're are only a handful, at most, at any give location or the products are no-name brand items that are of questionable quality.
Nowadays, there’s no reason to buy these tech doorbusters. Want a great bargain tablet computer that doesn’t suck? Check out the $229 Google Nexus 7, our pick for best small Android tablet, or the $150 Asus MeMO. Want a mind-blowing deal on an Android phone? You can buy the Google Nexus 5 phone off-contract for just $349. And these are just the normal, every day prices – keep your eye out online this holiday season, and you may be able to score an even better deal on each.
Check eBay the next day
If you’ve ever stood in a line on a cold Black Friday, then you know that not everyone is there waiting to buy gifts for their family. Some people are there to try and make a quick buck, buying items to resale later for a quick profit. But with so many people trying to make money the same way, the markup on these Black Friday "steals" is really only a few bucks for games and DVDs, and maybe a little more for computers and tablets.
Starting Friday afternoon, a lot of Black Friday resellers will be flocking to sites like eBay, Amazon, and Half.com to resell their deals. Keep an eye on these websites, or use a price tracker to do it for you. You'll probably have to pay a couple dollars more (sometimes, a few bucks less!), but it may very well be worth it to stay in Friday morning and sip coffee in your slippers.
Have additional tips for avoiding the Black Friday mess? Share them in the comments below.
[Redhead woman with shopping bags via Shutterstock]