Black Friday Bargain Shopping Guide

Every year as Thanksgiving draws closer and closer, another holiday season begins to descend upon us. Only the season I’m referring to is the holiday SHOPPING season.

The day after Thanksgiving – traditionally known as Black Friday – is the day that unofficially kicks off the Christmas shopping season. Retail chains have worked hard to turn this into THE shopping event of the year by opening up stores in the early hours of the morning and offering plenty of doorbuster deals. Some even offer free breakfast!

With the economy still struggling to recover and unemployment rates at their highest level in decades, overall holiday sales are expected to be down but that won’t stop that throng of dedicated deal finders from loading up their carts.

If you’re one of those people, here’s what you can expect to find at some of the country’s largest retailers.

Target

Opening: 5:00AM

Deals: Target has been getting some press for offering a Westinghouse 32-inch LCD TV for $246 as well as select toasters and coffeemakers for $3. Additional deals on electronics such as HDTVs, DVD players, GPS units and cameras can net savings of up to 50%.

Extras: The store is offering a $10 gift card when you spend $100 or more from 5AM to noon on Friday.

Best Buy

Opening: 5:00AM

Deals: Many TVs will be 30% off. GPS units are 50% off. You can get up to 50% off major appliances and both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are priced at $299.99.

Extras: How about your own safety? Learning from the recent disasters at stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy will be handing out tickets for doorbuster deals guaranteeing the holder of that ticket the product ahead of time so there is no stampeding through the front door.

Kohl’s

Opening: 4:00AM

Deals: Up to 50-60% off jewelry, clothing and appliances and up to 70% off on housewares. Discounts of 50% can be had on some of their specially priced electronics.

Extras: “Early Bird” specials will run from 4AM to 1PM providing extra incentives on already discounted merchandise. Additionally, Kohl’s will offer $10 in “Kohl’s Cash” for every $50 spent.

Wal-Mart

Opening: 6:00AM on Thursday – In an effort to manage the crowds, many Wal-Mart retailers will open early on Thanksgiving and remain open 24 hours leading up to the deals starting at 5AM on Friday. Instead of waiting in the parking lot, shoppers will be able to enter the store and line up at in-store displays for the items they want.

Deals: Wal-Mart has been pretty tight lipped thus far about their Black Friday plans but it appears they’ll be offering deals on several smart phones with a two-year agreement including the AT&T Curve 8310 for free and the Bold 9000 for $78.88. HP notebooks for $298 also look to be on the list.

Extras: Like Best Buy, Wal-Mart has taken steps to manage the potential madness by opening Thursday instead of Friday. Given the negative publicity that came with a worker death last year, this should be a welcome change.

Home Depot

Opening: 6:00AM

Deals: Select power drills, nail guns and tool sets will be on sale for 50% off or more. Appliances like refrigerator/freezers and washer/dryer combos will be available for 30-50% off. Christmas trees and all the accessories will be on hand at deep discounts as well.

Extras: Don’t want to fight the crowds at the store? Try shopping Home Depot online and get free shipping on most orders over $49.

Toys ‘R Us

Opening: 12:00AM

Deals: You name it and it’ll probably be on sale. Bikes, video games and accessories, and electronics are all being marked down. You’ll find 50% off Razor scooters in addition to 50% or more off of selected VTECH, Little Tikes, Leapfrog, and Playskool merchandise.

Extras: You can get a $10 gift card with any purchase over $75. Plus, check out their “Biggest Big Book” for loads of deals that you can get before Black Friday.

Amazon.com

Opening: Monday, November 23rd – Amazon is replacing the Black Friday day with Black Friday WEEK. Starting Monday, you’ll find discounts on items like TVs, DVDs, Blu-Ray players and computers with deals continuing to be added throughout the week.

Deals: Amazon has been relatively silent about this year’s offerings but expect markdowns on everything from electronics to clothes to their trademark book selection. In fact, Amazon has already engaged Wal-Mart and Target in a price war by offering several new release titles for just $9.

Extras: Keep an eye out for the Gold Box where you’ll find discounts of up to 75% on specially marked items.

Sears

Opening: 4:00AM

Deals: In addition to digital cameras and GPS units, hot doorbuster deals this year consist of several specials on HDTVs including a Samsung 22-inch LCD TV for $249.99 and a Panasonic 42-inch plasma TV for $649.99.

Extras: Go online and enter the promo code “SEARS5OFF50″ to receive an additional $5 off a $50 purchase.

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Author Info

This post was written by David Dierking. David lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been working in the financial services industry for over 13 years with a background in investments, accounting, and marketing. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute in 2004 and was recently published in the Milwaukee Business Journal. You can also check him out at The Ultimate Fit Challenge

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