As shoppers gear up for a record-breaking holiday shopping season, retailers are launching sales even before Thanksgiving arrives.
With only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the 2013 holiday shopping season will be much shorter than usual. The low number of shopping days threatens to cost retailers nearly $1.5 billion, so they’re hoping earlier sales and bigger deals can help make up some of that difference.
We’re ready with a cheat sheet for you on how to get the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Every year, Black Friday starts earlier and earlier as brick and mortar retailers try to recoup the cost of the popular and often sales-cannibalizing Cyber Monday.
Who’s open early?
The list of who’s opening early for Black Friday includes Sears, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, and Toys R Us, all opening on Thanksgiving Day. Kmart leads the pack this year by opening at 6 a.m.
What are shoppers buying?
The hottest items on shoppers’ lists this year? Popular deals (including a few from leaked Black Friday ads) include:
- Off-brand HDTV’s (Wal-Mart’s 32” Sceptre is just $179). New brand-name models don’t drop until mid-January, but you may find 2013 models on sale.
- Laptops and laptop bundles with printers (at Wal-Mart starting at $301)
- Tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire ($99 at Best Buy) and Apple’s iPad Air ($479 at Wal-Mart)
- Toys R Us’s Skylanders Starter pack ($38) and LeapPad 2 Explorer ($40)
- Vacuum cleaners and appliances, like 25% off Dyson vacuums and $50 Shop-Vacs at Lowes
If you can’t wait until Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals, Amazon and Wal-Mart have already started their holiday sales. Amazon daily deals so far have tended towards digital cameras and accessories, with deals on larger items like HDTV’s possibly still to come.
Amazon is forecasting the largest Cyber Monday ever for retailers. They haven’t released details yet, but you can bet the retail giant will come out swinging. Other retailers planning big Cyber Monday sales include Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and Overstock. As usual, consumers are on the lookout for stores offering free shipping.
How to get the best deals on Cyber-Monday Expert money-saving tips include:
- Use sites like RetailMeNot to get coupon codes, or browser extensions like Honey to automatically find and apply discounts to your order
- Compare prices with PriceGrabber before buying
- Track retailers offering free shipping with FreeShipping.org
- Sign up for promotional emails with your favorite retailers, or use a tool like Hukkster to get price alerts on favorite items.
[Also on the Homeblog: Online shopping dos and don'ts]
Whether you’re a Black Friday or a Cyber Monday shopper (or both), planning ahead for your holiday shopping is the key to big savings. Get started by researching deals while organizing your shopping list and budget in a spreadsheet. Organizing yourself this way helps prevent overspending, as well as duplicate buying. This holiday season is shaping up to be a big one. Get started now for better deals and more time for entertaining and relaxing during the holidays!