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All Contents © 2018The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Stacy Rapacon, Online Editor
Bob Niedt, Online Editor
| November 22, 2017
Black Friday has evolved into more than just a single day of big sales. Doorbusters and deals now start rolling out on Thanksgiving (often earlier), stretch through the weekend, and take on new life online come Cyber Monday.
How should you approach Black Friday? As with any competitive event, you need to prepare. Lucky for you, we've uncovered the best Black Friday deals of 2017 at top U.S. retailers, culled from store ads and the advice of shopping experts. Get familiar with what products are available, where and at what prices.
When you find something you want, act fast. Attractive prices can post for a brief time, especially on limited-quantity doorbusters. Get a heads-up on price drops by signing up for e-mails alerts from retailers, as well as third-party sales trackers such as BradsDeals.com and DealCrunch.com.
Take a look at some of the best Black Friday deals we could find from major retailers.
Black Friday has already arrived on Amazon.com. Courtney Jespersen, consumer savings expert for personal finance site NerdWallet, says Amazon has started rolling out Black Friday deals on a daily basis since early November. And more deals will continue to come online through Friday, Nov. 24, the actual date of Black Friday, and perhaps beyond.
Some of the best deals she and other experts recommends priming yourself for:
Best Buy's Black Friday sale officially starts on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. local time at most stores. The pandemonium goes until 1 a.m., and then everyone gets a seven-hour break to regroup before most stores reopen at 8 a.m. on actual Black Friday. (Check ahead, as hours will vary in some states and at certain locations.)
But plan to get there well ahead of opening. You'll need to nab an actual ticket for first dibs on the hottest doorbusters. Best Buy staff members hand them out to people lined up outside, and you have a couple hours after entering the store to redeem them. After that, it's first come, first served.
What are some of the items that might be worth camping out for?
Costco stores are closed on Thanksgiving Day, but many Costco.com online deals start on Thanksgiving and run through the weekend as long as supplies last.
Jespersen of NerdWallet suggests shoppers check Costco's Black Friday ad to see if a deal is also available online. Many sale or special items on Costco's website are often shipped free to members, who pay between $60 and $120 a year to join.
Selected by Jespersen—as well as Jeanette Pavini, savings expert at Coupons.com, and Rebecca Lehmann of deals site BradsDeals.com—here are a few of the best Costco deals to watch for on Black Friday:
Home Depot will be closed on Thanksgiving, but Brent Shelton of deals site DealCrunch.com notes that new online deals will hit the website at 6 a.m. Eastern Time on Thanksgiving Day. Stores will open their doors at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, when shoppers can find more holiday deals.
As you might guess, appliances and tools are the things to buy at this home-improvement retailer. Some of the top picks:
Like Home Depot, Lowe's is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but will open bright and early on Black Friday proper at 6 a.m. And online deals are available right now.
Also like Home Depot, the go-to items at this home-improvement retailer are appliances and tools. "Select appliance special values are up to 40% off," says Jespersen of NerdWallet. "Shoppers can also get up to a $500 Lowe's gift card via rebate when they buy multiple eligible appliances."
Specific deals to look for at Lowe's:
Many Toys R Us stores are staying open for 30 hours straight, starting at 5 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day—giving you a great opportunity to test how long it would take to literally shop 'til you drop. If those times don't work for you, don't worry. There are plenty of other opportunities, both before and after Black Friday, to scoop up some deals in-store and online.
In fact, the shopping experts we talked to actually recommend procrastinating until closer to Christmas to score the biggest bargains on many toys. Just don't expect the hottest toys of the holiday season to still be available if you drag your feet. One trendy toy on sale at Toys R Us: Playskool Friends Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo is going for just $20, down from $70.
Other good toy deals for all the Toys R Us kids in your life:
Walmart's Black Friday deals will be available in stores starting at 6 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving Day. On Walmart.com, the Black Friday deals begin even earlier: at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on Thanksgiving. Lehmann of BradsDeals.com thinks the doorbusters might be worth the wait. "For Walmart specifically," she says, "there are always going to be deals in-store that you just can't get online."
Here are some of the best deals to watch for at Walmart:
Also, you can pick up select Apple and Samsung phones, including Apple's iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X and Samsung's Note8, Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, for no money down and schedule an appointment to get it activated in-store with AT&T or Verizon—a ho-hum offer you're likely to find at other retailers, too. The big bonus at Walmart: You get a $300 store gift card with your smartphone purchase.
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