Get ready to fire up the Mariah playlist, because it’s time to talk holiday shopping! Sure, it may be a *little* too soon to put up a tree and scatter fake snow across the house, but where your shopping list is concerned, starting now can help you save. Here are the best things your money can buy in November (and yes, we’ve included Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals), and what to pass on this month.
What to Buy in November
Televisions. It’s not the holiday season unless there’s a gotta-have-it tech item, and this year, ultra high-definition 4K TVs are it. You can expect to get this kind of model at the same price as a less flashy 1080p TV but with better technology. “Last year, we saw savings between $200 and over $1,000 and expect to see similar savings this year,” says Kendal Perez, savings expert with Coupon Sherpa.
If you’ve got an Amazon Alexa device, you may get exclusive deals on TVs and tech during "voice shopping weekend" around Black Friday. If it’s anything like last year, Prime members can expect to see Alexa-exclusive deals on TVs, headphones, electronic toys and Alexa devices, Perez notes.
Another budget-friendly item to look out for: Walmart’s Sceptre C550CV-U 55" 4K Curved LED HDTV is expected to go as low as $300, says Kristin Cook, managing editor of Ben’s Bargains. (The item was $350 before it sold out online last month.)
Toys and games. Deals on toys run year-round, but Cook says this month will see the lowest prices, especially for some of the most popular items kids are asking for as gifts. “The last three to four years, Target has run a 30% off toys coupon in early November that stacks with sale prices, making for the strongest prices of the season for many items,” Cook says. “Amazon will likely match most, if not all, of their with-coupon prices.”
For older teens and adults alike, this is a prime time to score a gaming console bundle that will include the gaming system, a controller and a game or two. Look out for PlayStation and XBox bundles between $250 and $300, Perez says.
Laptops. If you just use your computer to surf the web, watch a few shows or check your social media feeds, November might be a good time to upgrade your laptop. “Budget and mainstream laptops featuring current-generation processors and up to 15" screens are typically priced between $99 and $450,” Perez says, noting these deals generally don’t include high-performance laptops used for gaming and live-streaming, or for Macbooks (sorry, Apple fans).
You can also use your current tech to get savings on your new tech, namely through mobile shopping and app-exclusive discounts from stores like Target and Walmart. “In 2016, Target offered pre-sale deals plus an extra 15% off in-store purchases on Black Friday through its Cartwheel app, which is not part of the Target app,” Perez says.
Baking supplies. You might be mid-Halloween sugar rush, but better get over it, because holiday baking season is here. The good news is you can expect to do so while spending less cash. Perez says shoppers can expect staples like flour, sugar, cake mixes, cookie dough, butter, nuts and canned pumpkin on sale in November. Another tip: buy Halloween candy at up to 50% off now and freeze it to bake into recipes later.
A wedding dress. Planning a wedding or know someone who is? Use this time of year, when bridal boutiques are clearing out their inventories for the year, to get a great deal on a gown. As long as you don’t mind wearing 2017 styles when you walk down the aisle, you can expect deep discounts off remaining fall and summer styles. And hey, you need to decide on a dress with enough time for alterations anyway, right?
What to Skip in November
Doorbuster deals. Be wary of doorbuster “deals” that aren’t really worth your money. “A lot of stores stock up on cheap off-brand items to use as doorbusters, but if it's a brand you've never heard of, I'd stay away,” Cook advises. “This is the most common for items like drones, headphones, apparel, and cookware.”
It also doesn’t make sense to go out of your way for a small gadget or appliance you never needed to begin with. As Cook puts it: “Don't make impulse purchases. Look at this as a good time to get items on your list at a better price than you would otherwise.”
Furniture. If you were hoping to upgrade your dining room set before you host New Year’s dinner, you might have to shell out a pretty penny. That’s because few furniture stores offer Black Friday deals — many aren’t even open — since most shoppers are focused on items like tech and electronics. Instead, Perez recommends waiting for end-of-season sales in January and February for clearance pricing on sofas, chairs, tables and more.
Bedding and linens. The temps are dropping, and hygge living is, you know, huge. But don’t shop around for flannel sheets or a new comforter set just yet. Instead, wait a few months when retailers hold their January white sales. That’s when you’ll see major savings on sheets, comforter sets, towels and other linens. For example, stores like Joss & Main, Ikea and Macy’s discounted their bedding basics by 50% to 75% in January 2017. Translation: Hit snooze on this purchase and find better deals in the New Year.