Should I Shop Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

black friday, thanksgiving, cyber monday

When are you most likely to get the best deal: Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday? It depends on what you want to buy. As we discussed in our recent guide to finding hidden Black Friday deals, some days are more likely to have deep discounts on select categories of items. Black Friday may get all the attention, but some of the best deals actually show up on Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday. If you want to shop smarter, you need to figure out the best date to do your holiday shopping. Here’s a guide to help you decide when you should buy certain items on your holiday shopping list.


Thanksgiving Day

thanksgiving table decorations

CNBC recently noted that Thanksgiving shoppers who buy items online see an average discount of 24 percent. In general, November is a really good time to find sweet deals. Consumer Reports points out that November is generally the best time in the year to buy things like baby products, bikes, camcorders, grills, toys, and TV sets.

However, if you have things like home appliances or small consumer electronics on your holiday shopping list, Consumer Reports suggests you’re actually better off buying those items in December. And if you have items like linens, bedding, treadmills, or winter coats on that Christmas list, you may want to put off buying those items until January.

When it comes to Thanksgiving sales, MarketWatch suggests that 2014 might be the first year that Thanksgiving sales trump Cyber Monday sales. While there’s only about a four percent difference between the average sale prices on Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, that’s a big difference to families on a budget.

Wondering when the stores near you will be opening on Thanksgiving? Check out our big guide to all the retailers that are open for Thanksgiving. We also note which retailers are closed for Thanksgiving 2014.


Black Friday

Eager Retailers Greet Crowds Of Shoppers On "Black Friday"

Kiplinger notes that you’re most likely to see the best deals on Black Friday sale items like HDTV sets, tablets, small appliances, and wearables.

It’s also worth noting that “Black Friday” sales don’t always start on Black Friday. Some retailers will open their doors for Black Friday sales starting Thanksgiving morning, while some online retailers like Amazon started their “Black Friday” deals on November 1.

Even when Black Friday deals are some of the best out there, it can be hard to actually claim those deals. While some retailers, like Wal-Mart, do offer Black Friday rain checks for items that sell out, other retailers who sell out of ultra-low priced “door busters” don’t have to offer you the same courtesy. Black Friday deals can sell out quickly compared to other big sale days of the year.

Wondering when the stores near you will open for Black Friday? Check out our comprehensive guide to Black Friday store hours for major retailers in the US.


Cyber Monday

cyber monday

(Getty)

Last year, Lifehacker noted that Cyber Monday was the best day to find deals on things like clothing and shoes. However, Thanksgiving was the best time to buy items like smartphones and TVs. If you want to shop from the office, however, you may find that your employer has blocked certain websites.

Generally speaking, Yahoo! News argues that Cyber Monday is the best time of year to find deals on tools and hardware. Most retailers haven’t released their Cyber Monday deals yet, but you can click here to see Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals once they go live.

Still confused about the best time to buy your Christmas gifts? You might want to check out the Wall Street Journal’s new Christmas Sale Tracker. This cool service tracks price fluctuations for gifts like Kitchen-Aid mixers, VIZIO TV sets, or Keurig brewers.