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Black Friday Holiday Shopping Tips
The Savvy Consumer

By Teresa McUsic,
THE SAVVY CONSUMER

Too early to be talking about Black Friday deals? Not at all, say online deal analysts of the biggest sales day in the year.

But the day after Thanksgiving has morphed into an entire seasonal sales holiday if you know which stores are offering deals and when. Developing a shopping strategy by using online coupons, rebates and loyalty programs can bring those sales prices down even further.

So what is predicted for this holiday season?

Brad Wilson, founder of Brad’s Deals, an online service that finds and publishes product deals on the Internet each day, made some bold predictions on everything from iPhone 6 to toys and clothing from the Disney movie “Frozen” for this year.

“One dynamic of Black Friday over the last five years is it’s become a bigger forum for retailers,” he said. “There’s more competition, which is good for consumers.”

Mark LoCastro, spokesman for DealNews.com, also sees a bright Black Friday season.

“We’ve had what they call Black Friday creep for a while now,” he said. “It’s happening earlier and earlier. Black Friday used to be one day, now it’s an entire season.”

Based on past holiday seasons, DealNews predicts that this year half of the best deals for Black Friday, called the Editor’s Choice deals, will be available on Thanksgiving Day, up from 31 percent last year, LoCastro said.

Although Black Friday has traditionally been a forum for electronics sales, DealNews also expects the number of clothing deals during the Black Friday season to double this year over last, LoCastro said.

With that in mind, here are ten predictions of what will happen this Black Friday from these experts who have been analyzing this sale for years.

1. IPhone deals: If you can hold off on an iPhone 6 for a few more weeks, you will see better deals around Black Friday.
“Last year, the brand new 5c dropped to $45 at Walmart and was bundled with a $75 gift card, so Walmart was effectively paying you $35 to take it home,” said Wilson. While he doesn’t predict quite that deal this year, he does predict the iPhone 6 will be bundled with a gift card for $179, while an iPhone 5C and 5S will be bundled with a gift card that pays you $50 to take it, Look for deals at Walmart and Best Buy. Don’t look for any deals at the iPhone stores, however, LoCastro advises.

2. Other Smart phones: Wilson sees the Samsung Galaxy 5S and Amazon Fire phone will be essentially free with a two year contract.

3. Big TVs: LoCastro says the popular small television doorbusters have hit their floor as far as pricing, so it’s time for the big boys to come out. He predicts a 60-inch big screen high definition television to go for $420; while 70-inch TVs to sell for $950.

4. Ultra portable laptops: Another popular Black Friday item this year will be the ultra portable laptops, which LoCastro says will be around half price at $450 on Black Friday.

5. Tablets: Wilson sees lots of low prices among the various tablets on Black Friday with 7-inch Android tablets going for as low as $29.99, while Kindle and eNook readers and the Galaxy Tab 3 coming down to $99. IPad Mini and IPad Air should be bundled with gift cards for prices starting at $199 at Best Buy, Walmart and Target, Wilson predicts.

6. Xbox1 and PS4 deals: With Xbox One lagging far behind PS4 in sales, Wilson sees Microsoft being aggressive on Black Friday with bundles that include games and Xbox Live gift cards. Most will be at the standard $399 price point, he said, or about $100 cheaper than prices throughout the year.

7. “Frozen” toys and clothing: Dolls and playsets based on the movie “Frozen” have been selling out all year long, so expect Disney to bring out a flood of merchandise for the holidays, Wilson said. Don’t expect deals below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price here, however, so if you see it grab it before it’s gone.

8. Makeup/Personal care: Surprisingly, Sephora and other brand name beauty product lines will be coming out with Black Friday promotions for the first time this year, LoCastro said. Check out stores like Bath and Body Works for Black Friday deals.

9. Household appliances: The lowest price Wilson has seen on a Keurig coffee maker model was $45 for a Keurig K10 B 31 Mini Plus at Staples in April. The model has a list price of $99.99, but with a coupon code the price dropped to $64.99, and with a $20 rebate in a Staples gift card, the net price was $44.99. Wilson said larger models like the K45 and K75 won’t go that low, but expect to see some true bargains on Black Friday now that the 2.0 models are out. Advertised prices will be higher, so add gift card bundles, coupon codes, rebates and store cash to lower the price.

Other appliance predictions from Wilson include KitchenAid Mixers from $100, Dyson Vacuums from $240 and small kitchen appliances as low as $3.

10. Clothing: Cashmere sweaters, a Black Friday staple, are expected to go as low as $29 at Macy’s and Kohl’s. Fashion boots are now part of the Black Friday scene and will be priced around $18.

So start doing your homework now. Some sites, like DealNews, will ping you with an e-mail alert when they see products you select ahead come down in price. There are also smart phone apps for deal alerts.

Black Friday Holiday Shopping Tips:

1. Buy online with coupon codes and free shipping. Almost everything in the ad--including doorbuster items--will be available to purchase online. Check websites like Brad’s Deals (www.BradsDeals.com), DealNews (www.dealnews.com) and BFAds (www.BFads.net) for online coupon codes to use on top of advertised sale prices.

2. Price match. Amazon matches nearly everything Walmart puts on sale for Black Friday, and vice versa. Check with other retailers to see if they will match a price. Be sure to know model numbers of products for exact match.

3. Almost everything will be on sale before Black Friday. Black Friday sales often starts much earlier with some deals a month or more ahead of the actual day after Thanksgiving.

4. Wait on toys .While some toys like from the popular move “Frozen” may be discounts for Black Friday sales, the best time to buy most toys for the lowest prices is two weeks before Christmas.

5. Remember loyalty programs. Cash back and loyalty points can help you decide where to buy a Black Friday deal that’s priced exactly the same in multiple stores. Several stores open their sales early online to rewards members last year.

Source: Brad’s Deals.com and DealNews.com

Teresa McUsic’s column appears Saturdays in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at TMcUsic@SavvyConsumer.net