There’s no doubt you can find great deals on Black Friday. But just because something is advertised as a bargain doesn’t mean it actually is one.
Some items, in fact, should be avoided altogether on Black Friday because you’ll find them cheaper at other times of the year.
Here are 10 items you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday, along with when to buy them instead:
Though these probably comprise much of your holiday shopping list, it’s smarter to wait: Toys are actually at their cheapest the first two weeks of December. (So don’t worry, you’ll still have them under the tree in time for Santa’s arrival!)
2. Ultra Cheap Tablets
You want a tablet, and you spy a really cheap one at the store, cheaper than you can believe. Don’t walk — run — in the other direction.
As Chris Burns explains on Slash Gear: “Every single Black Friday for the past several years, we’ve seen retailers offer a special on tablets. Do not purchase the cheapest tablet. It is a piece of junk.”
3. Fitness Equipment
What’s the most common New Year’s resolution? To get in shape. Fitness equipment manufacturers know that and slash prices in January — so wait to buy that elliptical until it comes time to work off those holiday pounds.
4. Holiday Decor
Sure, you want your house to look festive over the holidays, but don’t go overboard purchasing decorations on Black Friday. If you wait until just after the holidays are over, you’ll find steep markdowns on everything from inflatable snowmen to menorahs.
5. Bargain Laptops
Little known fact: The incredibly cheap Black Friday laptops are tangibly different from the ones available the rest of the year.
“The item on sale is a derivative product, specifically manufactured for Black Friday and the holiday season with lower overall quality and fewer features,” explains Daily Finance. “These items may look like their pricier counterparts, but they probably won’t last as long, costing you more in the long run.” So stay away!
Ever heard of white sales? A tradition since the 1800s, their annual occurrence is the reason you should wait to buy bedding and towels until January.
The holidays are the most popular time of year to pop the question: Last year, 16% of couples got engaged in December. And in the new year, the holidays keep coming, with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. So wait until summer to buy jewelry, when retailers need a reason to draw you in.
8. Brand Name HDTVs
Contrary to popular belief, Black Friday is not the best time of the year to buy high-quality televisions. You’ll find basic sets for cheap — but if you want a brand name HDTV, you’re better off waiting until March and April, when retailers are getting rid of last year’s models after the holiday and Super Bowl rushes.
9. Winter Clothing
Temperatures may be dropping, but prices on winter clothing aren’t at their best for a few more months. The cheapest time to buy winter gear is in January, or, of course, at the end of the season.
As nicely as they might fit in the stockings, you should skip the screwdrivers and hammers this time of year. Tools are cheapest in June, just in time for Father’s Day and the summer fix-it season.
There are exceptions to every rule, and you shouldn’t view this “not-to-buy list” as a definitive guide. We hope, however, it does remind you not all Black Friday sales are good deals.
Be vigilant and do your research, and you should walk out with some great bargains this holiday season!
Your Turn: What do you avoid buying on Black Friday?
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.