Chaotic customers, long lines, and cold temperatures can define Black Friday shopping. The reality, however, is that the official start of the holiday shopping season is more than just a gimmick. You can save real money if you're willing to brave the madness -- just make sure the stuff you're buying is worth the adventure.
Big-ticket items aren't the only way to save on Black Friday if you're considering a kitchen upgrade. Look for small kitchen appliances, too. "Black Friday is the time to purchase such kitchen appliances as mixers, blenders, slow cookers and coffee makers," Perez says. "Many doorbusters offered by Kohl's, JCPenney, Kmart and Macy's feature kitchen appliances for $10 or less, though a mail-in rebate is often required to get the lowest advertised deal."
According to Perez, kitchen-related savings go beyond the things you plug in. She suggests taking advantage of the many expected deals on food storage container sets. For example, durable, sturdy Pyrex glassware -- which is still made in America -- is coveted by home chefs everywhere, and on Black Friday, you don't have to pay full price. "Look for Pyrex-brand kitchenware for as little as $2 each and up to 70 percent savings on cookware sets," Perez says.
Black Friday is the perfect time to add some brand power to your wardrobe. "Luxury clothing brands don't usually go on sale, which gives them their elite credibility," says Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. "Shoppers will find discounts on these items for Black Friday, and shopping in-store will allow consumers to actually see and feel the clothing before purchasing. Always a good idea since some retailers' return policies can be tricky around the holidays."
Black Friday might also be the right time to upgrade your outdated pots and pans. "Just because Thanksgiving will be over, there is still plenty of holiday cooking and celebrating to be done," Skirboll says. "Several retailers will be marking down cookware items to help hosts prepare their kitchens for friends and family. It also can make a great, affordable gift."
Beauty products are pricey -- but you can save in November. "Cosmetic stores will be making room for new holiday sets and seasonal product launches, and wanting to clear out their shelves," Skirboll says. She added that you should look for particular savings on high-end products.
Skirboll says to look for "deep discounts" on price tags attached to "wellness products for dental hygiene, shaving, and more. This can be a personal purchase, or if you are looking for some affordable stocking stuffers."
According to Perez, high-end vacuums are also ripe for the picking come Black Friday -- and not just at one retailer. "Shoppers will find discounts of up to $200 on Dyson vacuums from Target, Kohl's and Macy's," Perez says. Several good vacuums by other brands may also be worth considering, too.
Thinking of upgrading to the visual awesomeness that is 4K? Black Friday might just be the moment to pick up a good cheap TV. "Now that 4K technology is more mainstream, expect to find deep discounts on 4K TV sets," Perez says. "Best Buy is a top destination for 4K Black Friday deals," Perez says. "Target and Walmart will also advertise deep discounts on 4K TVs, though many of the lowest-priced doorbusters will be on lower-tier brands like Hisense and Element."
Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNews, a shopping comparison website agreed and expanded on the potential for 4K savings, stating that "last year, a massive 67 percent of our top TV offers were on these high-resolution models." But the TV savings don't stop at 4K models. "Also notable from our research is that curved TVs will be a great buy this Black Friday," Sakraida says. "Although they won't make up the bulk of deals listed in the category, you can expect to see around three times the number of curved TV deals listed this November when compared to any other month."
"Like most electronics, the price of video game consoles drop come Black Friday and big competition from Dell, Walmart, and Target will push the cost of popular bundles down to budget-friendly prices," Sakraida says. "In fact, we saw nearly double the number of console deals around Black Friday than in any other time of the year."Since the new Xbox One X debuts shortly before the holidays, retailers will be eager to offload the earlier model. "We're expecting to see doorbuster offers for the Xbox One S 500GB bundles to fall as low as $159, while the 1TB bundles should cost a little more at $179," she says.
Although DealNews reported seeing twice as many Xbox deals as PlayStation deals last year, they anticipate plenty of deals for those who prefer Sony. "PlayStation loyalists are likely to see the best deals on the PS4 Slim 500GB model, which will hopefully fall as low as $169, while the non-slim unit may not budge from last year's $209 price tag," DealNews' Sakraida says.
The savings are expected to extend beyond consoles to the games themselves. "Not only are we expecting big deals on consoles and gaming laptops, but this Black Friday promises some exciting price lows on video games across all platforms," Sakraida says. "Last year, the most popular AAA titles of the season fell as low as $26 at Walmart and Microsoft, while Amazon price-matched the stores within minutes, so we expect to see the likes of 'Horizon Zero Dawn' and 'Prey' hit similarly low prices this year."You don't need a console to enjoy big deals on your favorite games. "PC gamers can expect to see the year's best prices drop as Green Man Gaming and Steam host their best sales of the year -- knocking up to 90 percent or more off many titles," Sakraida says.
According to DealNews, there are more clothing deals than anything else on Black Friday. "Expect the very best deals to come on Cyber Monday, when stores like Levi's, Crocs, and Nordstrom Rack offer up their best discounts of the year, coupled with no-minimum free shipping," Sakraida says. "6 p.m. will likely offer its best coupon deal of the year again -- around 15 percent off -- where you can save big on already-discounted Nike, The North Face, and Columbia items."
Mainstream laptops, which strike a bargain between being all-inclusive but also lightweight, are targets for Black Friday price cuts, too. "You can expect to see mainstream laptops with previous-generation Skylake Core i5 CPUs fall below the $300 mark," Sakraida says. "Gamers who want a build with dedicated graphics can expect to pay around $400 for a basic unit, while those looking for a faster i7 with it will shell out at least $600."You can also expect the price of cheap laptops to drop even lower. "Black Friday is the best time of year to buy most things tech, and a budget-friendly laptop is no exception," Sakraida says. "Bargain-hunters in the market for a basic build should shop Dell's doorbuster sale, where cheap and cheerful units with Intel Celeron processors and 2GB of RAM will sell from just $100 (although stock will be limited). Those willing to pay a little extra will land a Lenovo or HP build with similarly-basic specs, but double the RAM for just $40 more at eBay."
According to DealNews, travelers, especially last-minute travelers, can expect to save between 30 and 60 percent on stays at Hyatt and Starwood hotels. If you're planning to stay in Vegas off the Strip, you can score a room for less than $20.
If you're planning to fly abroad, take note that Black Friday will likely see large discounts on airfare, according to DealNews. Flights to Asia will be as low as $300. Going to Europe? Look for flights for $200. Even domestic airfare is expected to be reduced to as low as $100 for round-trip flights.
When it comes to iPhones and all Apple products, DealNews suggests avoiding the Apple Store at all costs and instead suggests seeking deals through re-sellers. There, you can expect to see steep savings on older models, thanks to the release of iPhone X. IPhone 7s are expected to sell for as little as $1 with a two-year contract, and iPhone 8s will sell with $250 in gift cards.
If you're looking for an Apple Watch Series 3, you can expect it to be bundled with as much as $105 in gift cards, according to DealNews. The Series 2 version should be on sale for $279.
DealNews also expects current generation, 9.7-inch iPads to sell for $204. iPad Minis with 12GB of storage should go for $329. The 10.5-inch current-generation iPad Pros are expected to sell for $499.
DealNews predicts 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs will sell for $899 and $1,599, respectively. If you're in the market for an Apple laptop, you should be able to pick up a 12-inch Macbook or a 13-inch Macbook Pro for $1,199. A 13-inch Macbook Air shouldn't cost more than $799.
Apple isn't the only tablet maker with Black Friday deals. DealNews expects Amazon Fire 7 devices to sell for just $33. The Amazon Fire HD 8 is likely to sell for $50 and the Fire HD 8 for kids will be priced at $106. If you're willing to go a generation back to the Fire HD 7 for kids, you'll probably see them selling for $76.
Considering cutting the cord? DealNews predicts all devices from all brands will be on sale for less than $100, with previous generation 32GB Apple TVs going for $40, Roku Express for $20-$25, current-generation Amazon Fire TV and Roku Streaming Stick Plus for $60, and Chromecast Ultra for $60.
Just as in years past, DealNews does not expect there to be many -- if any -- deals on the season's hottest toys. It's likely, however, that you'll find LEGO sets on sale for 40 percent off -- or even half off.
DealNews says that Black Friday is the single best time of the entire year to buy gift cards. Look for especially good offers from Amazon, Domino's, and iTunes.
DealNews believes that Black Friday is the only exception to the rule that apparel is most expensive when it's in season. With the exception of winter coats, some of the best deals of the entire year are for in-season apparel, including that from Patagonia, Gap, Nike, and Nordstrom Rack.
If you're considering installing a smart home, or you just want the benefit of an in-home assistant, Black Friday is the perfect time to buy an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, according to DealNews. You'll be able to pick up an Echo for $90 and the smaller Dot for $40. Google Home devices could be sold for as little as $89.
Know someone who just bought a new house, or have a handyman on your shopping list this holiday season? Tool kits are often included in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales alongside flashier items.