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How to shop the Black Friday sales this year

Hot tips for the year’s biggest shopping event

A 1940’s woman with a short bob in a fur coat holds 7 gifts wrapped in holiday paper. Photo collage.

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Whether it’s an affordable dining table or the best outdoor furniture, Curbed is always on the lookout for quality products at fair prices. But even in our bargain-filled world—Amazon Prime Day, anyone?—the Super Bowl of sales still comes around Thanksgiving in November.

Black Friday and its e-commerce-driven sibling, Cyber Monday, have continued to grow and coalesce into each year’s biggest shopping event, a whirlwind of sales that start before Thanksgiving and often run through at least the following Monday.

It can be a lot to navigate, especially with more and more online stores participating each year, which is why we’ve pulled together this guide to help you prepare for it all. From when the sales start to which stores and products to watch closely, here’s everything you need to know about shopping the biggest sales of the holiday season.

When is Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday falls on Friday, November 29, this year, the day after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday is just a few days later, on Monday, December 2. The deals, however, will start rolling in weeks earlier, so be on the lookout for leaked deal ads as early as late October.

Some stores will try to stand out by starting to discount items in early November, gradually ramping up to Thanksgiving week. These “Black November” sales often run the entire month.

For example, Lowe’s is running Black November sales that include 50 percent off the Dyson V7 Motorhead Extra Cordless Vacuum and up to 25 percent off First Alert Safety Systems. Sam’s Club is running a one-day event on November 9th that will highlight smart TVs and sound bars, and Walmart has already launched a landing page for their holiday sales.

Also keep in mind that many retailers, especially online stores, will offer promotions for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the latter often involving a slightly steeper discount or more freebies thrown in. The point is: There are still plenty of deals to be had for those who want to focus on the turkey and stuffing rather than shopping during the hectic Thanksgiving week itself.

Which stores will have the best deals?

Most brands will offer some sort of sale during Thanksgiving week, and you can expect steep discounts on home goods at major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, and more. Popular items consistently offered as Black Friday deals include standing mixers, Instant Pots, televisions, mattresses, and furniture.

Don’t forget, however, smaller and local stores will also be fighting for your business. Head over here for our list of the best local furniture stores in the U.S.

Do I need to go to a brick-and-mortar store?

Retailers, especially big box chains, will still offer in-store “doorbusters,” but the reality of the e-commerce era means that you’ll be able to find the same or comparable deals online. You can still go and fight the crowds if you want, but there’s a whole lot of shopping to be done on your phone or computer too.

Any other hot tips?

Definitely make a list of potential products you’re interested in buying. This will help you stay focused when confronted with the onslaught of sales, and ready to search for the best prices across multiple stores (the Instant Pot, for example, will likely be discounted all over the place).

It will also be helpful to download a few apps or web browser extensions before the sales start. You can track prices over time at sites like Camel Camel Camel (for Amazon) or Invisible Hand, and try the Retail Me Not genie for comparing all the best promo codes at checkout. Finally, follow your favorite brands on Twitter or Facebook, where they’ll sometimes advertise limited-time offers or codes on their feeds.

If you’re shopping on Amazon and won’t need two-day shipping, opt for No-Rush shipping to earn rewards as a Prime member. Amazon will give you varying credits—like $5 off of Prime Now orders or discounts on Audible books—to reward you for your patience, and your items will still arrive within six business days. Note that rewards can’t be used with other instant discounts and they do expire.

Finally, stay tuned to Curbed. Throughout the holiday season, we’ll be sharing the best deals for the home from the most popular retailers, plus tons of gift ideas and inspiration for all your shopping needs in the coming months.

So what should I buy?

We’ll share more deal picks as they come in, but here are a few popular products—some of which are already on sale—worth keeping an eye on. You can also peep our holiday shopping coverage last year to preview where you can expect to find discounts.

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