Far Better Options than Black Friday
Black Friday originated in 1966 in Philadelphia. It was used to describe the horrible foot and car traffic in Center City on the day after Thanksgiving. It certainly didn't start out as a positive term. Many people would have the day after Thanksgiving off and it would tend to be the start of the Christmas season. Eventually other retailers picked up the name and would open up early for the day. In the 1980's it became very popular for parents to rush to stores early on Black Friday to try and buy the most popular toys their kids wanted. Stores would start to offer better deals on these days with lower prices on popular items. In about the year 2000 retailers started to outdo each other with lower prices and opening earlier and earlier. At this point we now have Grey Thursday Black Friday has basically creeped into taking over all of our Thanksgiving Holiday. This drives me nuts but, its just the way it is. Some states like in Massachusetts have laws against retailers opening on Thanksgiving so they open at 12:01 AM instead, meanwhile huge crazy lines have been outside for hours. Most serious shoppers go to New Hampshire where stores are allowed to open on Thanksgiving at 6 PM. For the most part there are lots of good deals. But, the big ticket deals are often fewer. Stores will have maybe 50 of the giant tv for $200 and 200 people are trying to get it. Often times news stories come out about people being trampled and fights breaking out. So I do my Christmas shopping online instead.
Most of my purchases were from Amazon or other deals my wife or I found online. The one thing my wife and I couldn't find a deal on anywhere was Disney Infinity for the XBox 360. Literally every other console had a discount on Disney Infinity as a lightning deal and they had lots of figures. So I did the unthinkable and went to Target at about 12 in the afternoon on Black Friday. To my surprise they still had a couple left. Target had it for $40 so I saved $20. By the time I got there the crazy people had gone home and likely gone to bed. I saw a couple people with carts full. But, for the most part it was about as busy as any weekend near Christmas. The store was a mess and stuff everywhere with workers doing their best to clean and stock the shelves.
Amazon's Lightning Deals
Amazon is by far the best place to get online deals. My wife and I have been doing most of our Christmas shopping on Amazon for years. We don't need to wait in line. Our packages show up at our door. It's just great. For Amazon the holiday season starts on November 1st and they start adding lightning deal. The lightning deals are fairly random items. But, strangely each year they tend to have a ton of certain things. This year it is watches and dog clothes. I have no idea how this gets decided or how it makes any sense. The best year was when we first started and it had tons of DVDs for about $4-$10. You can get to the page by looking for deals at the top of the Amazon home page. New deals are released every 20 minutes. For the most part you can look at the deals page and see what will be coming up for about a day in advance. When the deal appears you need to be fast and add it to your cart. Then you have 15 minutes to purchase the item before it goes back up for grabs. Some things last hours on sale if they are only like 10% off or no one wants it. Other things are gone as soon as they appear. We needed a new TV this year. My wife and I looked online for about a week and then she saw a perfect TV listed on a lightning deal. She clicked it as fast as she could but, was too late. She ended up joining a waitlist. Luckily for us someone didn't get the TV and we got a notification it was in our cart to purchase. We saved 30% on the TV. Check out the current Amazon Lightning Deals. We also tend to buy other things we just need in general during these huge saving deals. We got our sons new coats and I got a bike pump. We also got a few movies. Its definitely worth checking to see what is coming up for deals that you might need.
Amazon Prime is basically priority shipping. When it started it was $75 for one year and you would get free two day shipping or cheaper one day shipping. We found that combining Amazon Prime with the lightning deal worked perfect together. Normally to get free shipping you need to spend $35 on Amazon. But, with Prime there is no minimum. So if you find a good deal for a $12 toy or whatever you can just buy it within the 15 minutes and not worry about adding anything else to your cart or having to pay for shipping. Now Prime has gone up to $100 and you get video streaming like Netflix and some free books for your kindle.
Dealnews is by far my favorite all around deal finding site. A lot of it is for electronics but, it has some of everything. Mostly readers find deals on the web and submit them to be added to the site. There is a nice search feature in the top right corner and it will show the latest deals for the item you want. Regularly they have deals on bikes, trips, computers, smart phones clothes etc….
Groupon is great for deals on social events, restaurants and even products. A few months ago I got a set of nice pillows for half price and just last week I got a Dyson Vacuum for $230. They had numerous holiday deals with an extra 15% off the original discounted price. I have purchased tickets to obstacle races and Picture People packages to get the kids picture taken from here too.