PennyWise: Personal Finance & Travel TipsPennyWise: Personal Finance & Travel Tips

What to buy and what to skip on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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'Tis the season — the season for shopping and massive sales. With the holiday season in full swing, many people are counting down and plotting their plan of attack for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On the latest episode of PennyWise, show producer Ambre Moton is joined by Kimberly Palmer of NerdWallet who shares the top items to buy, what to skip and a few other tips for navigating two of the biggest shopping days of the year. 

Read more on NerdWallet here!

About this program

Nat Cardona is host of PennyWise as well as Lee Enterprise's true-crime podcast Late Edition: Crime Beat Chronicles. Lee Enterprises produces many national, regional and sports podcasts. Learn more here.

Episode transcript

Note: The following transcript was created by Adobe Premiere and may contain misspellings and other inaccuracies as it was generated automatically:

Welcome to Pennywise Lee Enterprises podcast. I'm Ambre Moton, the producer and editor of the show filling in for Nat Cardona.

'Tis the season, the season for shopping in big deals anyway. While shoppers have already seen early Black Friday deals in October from retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart, a survey reported that only a quarter of verified buyers during Amazon Prime Big Deal days purchased holiday gifts waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, maybe.

And are those deals even really worth it? Joining me today from NerdWallet is personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer to go over what to buy and what to avoid on two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Kimberly, thank you so much for joining. Let's just go ahead and dive in. My mom mentioned that she's had a TV every year that isn't working properly. Should I plan on waiting for Black Friday to get her a new one?

Yes, Black Friday is actually a great time to buy big electronics like televisions. You have another opportunity in February or on the Super Bowl. So if you missed a chance, it's okay. You have another chance to get great TV deals. But it sounds like your mom might need it sooner. And Black Friday is such a good time because we see those prices on big electronics, including televisions, drop on Black Friday and the days surrounding Black Friday.

So it's the perfect time to buy.

What are some of the other good things to buy during those post-Thanksgiving sales?

Definitely. Anything in the electronics category, which includes appliances, both large and small appliances. So if you are in the market for anything like a vacuum, a coffeemaker, anything like that around your house. Black Friday is when we see the lowest prices on those items. So it's the perfect time to pick those up. And then if you need to stock up on any winter clothing, winter jackets, any of that winter gear, it's also a great time to buy on Black Friday.

So basically, those are the highlights. You want to think electronics, big electronics, small appliances, large appliances and then winter clothing.

Awesome. I am definitely in the market for a new winter coat, so I will hold off until Black Friday to go looking for a new one.

Yeah, you'll see some great deals.

Okay, so how about what do you think should be avoided?

The biggest category to avoid on Black Friday is toys and holiday decor. And that is because the prices on those items keep dropping as we get closer to the holidays. And so you don't want to make the mistake of buying them too early because you will pay more. However, you do want to keep in mind that if your child or the children in your life want a specific toy, we do start to see inventory really drop as we get closer to the holidays too.

So it might be worth paying a little extra just to make sure you get that one item they really have their eye on. But in general, you want to wait on toys and holiday decor and then also sporting goods. So we do see lower prices for sporting goods as we get closer to Christmas as well. So if you can you want to wait on that.

And then tools and home improvement items is another category that we tend to see lower prices hit as we get closer to the end of the year and even into January.

Okay. That's definitely things to write down because I had a lot of things on my of those on my list for shopping. So I'm really glad I'm talking to you now.

Yeah. And it's really helpful if you do have a list like that, you can actually use a tracking tool like Honey or camel eyes or browser extension, and you can track all these items. And so then you can see as soon as the price drops, which if it's in the right category, will be on Black Friday, you can go ahead and make that informed decision of whether or not it's a good time to buy.

that is a great shopping tip. Do you have any other holiday shopping tips? I know I see a lot of buy now pay later badges. Is that something that's a good idea to take advantage of?

Well, basically, you want to be a little careful with buy now, pay later, because basically it does give you that flexibility to spread out your spending. You're you're essentially breaking up a payment into usually for chunks. And so instead of paying all of the money upfront, you can pay it over time. However, you want to be careful because you're still you still have to pay that money and you don't want to enter the new year with a lot of debt and a lot of payments that you owe.

So as long as you're careful about it as ideally the best way to cover all of these expenses is out of savings. But not everyone has that option. And so buy now, pay later can offer some flexibility and it lets you spread out those payments over time.

Gotcha. And then one of the drawbacks I know personally for me about shopping during the holiday season is the pressure to get the perfect present or please, people. Do you have any tips for mitigating that?

There is so much pressure and I think the best thing we can do is to kind of step away when we start feeling that intense. Basically, retailers want you to feel that. They want you to get wrapped up in all of that stress because then we end up spending more. And so the best thing we can do as shoppers is to kind of step away and give ourselves space and breathing room.

One really helpful thing is because Black Friday sales are not just on one day, they tend to start earlier and last longer. So you don't have to buy everything on one day. And actually spreading out those purchases over time can make it easier on our budget and also just easier emotionally to handle all of that intensity.

That's great. That definitely will help relieve some stress when it comes to holiday shopping. Is there anything we've missed that you wanted to make sure that all of our listeners get to hear about Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Just one more thing we've noticed this year as a trend, because so many people are feeling that stress of inflation and higher prices. A lot of people are talking with their family and friends and saying, Hey, let's scale back a little bit this year. We'll all spend less. And it's something that everyone can get on board with. And so it might be a good idea just to have those conversations early.

And that way you can save money.

That's great. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Thank you.

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