Black Friday Insider’s Guide

Remember to be a good customer you need to camp out for the best specials! Photo Courtesy: David Haines
Remember to be a good customer you need to camp out for the best specials!
Photo Courtesy: David Haines

By Taylor C. Berrier

IT’S RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. The scent of pumpkin spice lofting in the air  on cooler nights and shorter days. Many have come to know this time of year to be one of infinite specials and spending opportunities, as custom to our capitalist traditions. I’m not just talking about Christmas or Single’s Day. Many have spent most of the year putting their money away just for this occasion when supply is at its highest, prices are at their lowest, and retailers are at their greediest.

If you need a television for your tailgate, go with something that’s not going to break your back, anywhere between 40 and 50 inches will come in under 30 or 35 pounds. Keep an eye out for 29 inchers for around $75, 32 inchers for under $90, and compared to what we saw last year, 40-inch TVs for around $110. If you’ve got a senior in high school, snag one of these for their new dorm next fall. They also are perfect for tailgating.

But if size matters to you, look out for 45 inchers for $150 or 50 inchers for $175.  You might have to post up in line for a few hours, but if you do breakfast or lunch as your Thanksgiving meal, you should be golden in getting your hands on the best deal. Look for 15-inch displays to drop as low as $50 from retailers like Fry’s Electronics and Best Buys. 19-inch displays under $70, and 24-inch displays under $100.

I won’t endorse any one wearable, because they all will jump into the limelight of  retailers’ ads before Black Friday. I also won’t tell you which one is best for you.  As long as you have one, you are trying, and that’s all that counts. There will be deals even at the higher price points. Apple Watch has been on shelves for a year and Apple hasn’t exactly seen the success it wanted from its first make and model. Let’s see if Black Friday can stir the pot of sales for what are actually  stylish watches. If you are on a budget and looking for something that can also “do it all,” Android Wear watches should drop much closer to the $100 price range.

Unless you are Karl Malone, now is a great time to pick up a smartphone, if not for you, then for your 2-year-old or any child with fingers and enough dexterity to play Angry Birds 2. Look for no-contract phones at Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart, and even RadioShack (if they’re still in business), as they will be well under $50 for models that do pretty much everything every other phone can do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Android phones for as low as $10. But the golden price point from last year was $30. Best Buy had an HTC Desire 510 for $30, Target had the Kyocera Hydro Vibe for $30, and Wal-Mart had a Samsung Galaxy Ace Style II for $30, and LG’s were across the board. Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, who sell phones, other electronics and occasional some cool off-branded deals, like Polaroid tablets or RCA mp3 players are usually worth checking out, especially the 24-hour locations.

Special mention to power tools, though anybody buying power tools probably knows what they’re doing when buying them. You still can count on some big markdowns on these, because sure enough, Sears, Home Depot, and Lowe’s can set you right on Black Friday.

Clothes shoppers are best to lurk the shopping malls since they have multiple clothing retailers in walking distance of each other. But now found in malls across America are Microsoft stores, and Microsoft’s own smartphones being sold in them!

Just a couple more things to remember: Wal-Mart will match its competitor’s  prices any day of the week, including Black Friday deals on Black Friday. RadioShack continues to honor the student/college and military discounts with valid identification, an additional 10 percent off pretty much anything, and this too applies on Black Friday.

For member’s only: check out Sam’s Club and Costco. These places have their dedicated followers but in my opinion are one-stop shop places void of the joy of hopping from venue to venue.

It all takes a little bit of time and planning, but anybody can walk away a winner, especially if you come prepared, like having all of your rewards cards and info together in one place.

Online-specific retailers will start their deals Nov. 1 if they so choose. Some will wait until a week before Black Friday, and some will go on through all of December. Best advice: just keep your eyes peeled.

Proceed with caution on cameras, batteries, drones, shoes, scooters, bikes, camping, streaming media boxes and gaming systems. Many of these items come in bundles. Bundles are hard to estimate because any location can have any version of any given bundle. Many bundles ultimately can save you money if you had planned to purchase all included items anyways. One more helpful tip for those who have made it to the end of this guide. I would never tell someone not to buy a warranty, but be warned: these can break the bank.

Music lovers should check out their local record stores for huge markdowns on their used items including phones, CDs, vinyl, movies and video games.