‘Tis the season for Black Friday deals, nearly a month in advance of the actual event!

For online shoppers, that’s great news, but it can be a bit daunting to suddenly receive a flood of emails in your inbox,  with each one trying to sell you something.

To help you navigate this tide of temptation, I’ve decided to share some things I’ve learned that help me to find the best online Black Friday deals now.

Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week – Deals Everyday on Amazon!

Black Friday Deals:  All Month Long

Just finished with Halloween and looking at buying holiday gifts?  That’s what the retailers are hoping you’ll do!  Both online and off, this is when most of the large retailers make or break their year, so Black Friday deals are available now.

From my stand point, this is good.  It allows me to make a gift list and budget, and start picking up gifts over the course of a couple months.

 I know that holiday themed items ( candy, lights, decorations, and similar) will be half off almost immediately after Thanksgiving.  If I have gifts I want to give that include ornaments or decorative dinnerware, I wait until after Thanksgiving to buy them, expecting to pay at least 50% Off.  Kohl’s, Target, and Macy’s have all had tremendous savings on holiday items like these, immediately after Black Friday.

Big ticket items like electronics can be a bit more difficult because it’s tough to know when to pull the trigger. Low deal prices are available now, but wanting to get special bundles, gift card promos and knowing that the included warranty coverage starts the day I purchase it, I wait as long as possible to buy.  I research the items I want to buy, taking note of their current prices and what I want to pay when deal shopping.  I also choose an alternative item, just in case I don’t find the first one at the right price.

If you’re looking to buy newly released electronic items like the just released Apple iPad or the Xbox One, expect to pay the price for the latest and greatest.  No great deals will come around on these items, but shortages or shipping delays may occur, so feel confident that whenever you buy it will be OK.

This year the best Black Friday deals online regarding electronics will undoubtedly be in that $200-$400 range, with laptops, 40″ plus HDTVs, PS3 and XBox 360 bundles leading the pack.

Getting started earlier, means a more leisurely shopping experience for you, with Black Friday deals available from now through the end of the year.

Tips for Happy Hunting

1. Sign up for newsletters at your favorite retailers online, to receive info on sales and promotions.  Use a web-based email like Gmail for these sign-ups to eliminate receiving large amounts of ad laden emails in your primary inbox.

2. Use free apps to learn about new Black Friday deals.

3. Make a gift list with possible gifts for your family and friends, and use it as a guide. (I do a spreadsheet in Google Drive and fill it in as a shop.) This will help you avoid buying things you don’t need just because they were such a great deal!

4. Research big ticket items. Know what the current sale prices and specs are, and decide what you’ll be willing to pay for the item.  If possible, have an alternate item in mind and be aware of warranties. Black Friday deals will be available now through the end of the year on items like furniture, vehicles and electronics.  If you’re spending a lot and may have the opportunity to haggle, you need to know the specifics.

5. Be open to factory refurbished items for greater savings.  Works well with electronics and small home appliances. The Apple Store is my favorite for these items, as their factory refurbished items are like brand new with the same warranty as new.  You can also purchase these deals in advance of Black Friday, and get the same pricing as on that day.

6. Make a budget, and stick to it.  This is the toughest part for me, but having specific amounts assigned to each person helps a lot.  I see it as a challenge.  How do I get the most for my money and still give a gift that I’d be happy to receive myself?  Having no debt after Christmas with a little bit to play with at the year end sales events is a nice perk.

7. Don’t forget to check the Daily Deals.  Many sites have them, and the Savvy Sleuth has easy access to several that you can check in one convenient place!

8. Keep it real.  While it’s nice to give extravagant gifts, it shouldn’t be what the season of giving is all about.  Make sure that in your hunt for bargains you also pick up a few gifts to give to those in need and be grateful that you have the means to do so.  Satisfying the soul and the urge to hunt at the same time!

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