It’s that time of year again. Halloween is over, and with the ever-increasing commercialization of the holidays, that means it’s Christmas time — but not before it’s Black Friday. And no, I didn’t mean Thanksgiving; at this point, the two are indistinguishable with numerous retailers opening their doors for sales on Thanksgiving Day. So, should you bother with the hustle and bustle of Black Thursday/Friday or avoid it altogether? Here’s a quick run-down to help you make the right decision.

Go for it if… 

  • There’s something you’ve already been planning to buy that’s being offered at a great price – Being strategic about your Black Friday shopping is all about avoiding the hype. As my mother always said, “Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it.” Don’t be impulsive with your spending, but if you’ve already got a purchase in mind, you might as well get it for a good deal.
  • You’ve done the research – A big part of being smart about Black Friday shopping is finding out what sales are being offered on what days, what items are better to purchase now, and which items will drop in price approaching Christmas. Be sure to check online deals as well, as they can often be better than in-store offers.
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Stay home if…

  • There is a lot of fine print with Black Friday deals – Yes, that 42” TV is on sale for $97, but if you break out your magnifying glass and read closely, you’ll probably notice that the store is only offering that deal before 8:00 am, and it only has five of those TVs, if that. So, unless you plan to camp out and beat the crowd, you’re probably not going to get that big item you wanted. Further, most of these deals can be found online and are even better online, especially on Cyber Monday.
  • (Most importantly) You’re busy creating a food baby and enjoying the company of your family and friends – The holidays are about spending time with the ones you love, and the ones you love enough to tolerate for a few days of the year. Further, part of the joy of Thanksgiving lies in unabashedly gorging yourself, followed by taking one of the most satisfying naps of the year, and waking up for round two. Don’t cut your joy short by shortening the holiday so you can go shop.

So who’s got the best deals if you do choose to go out for Black Friday?

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It’s still a bit early to tell as only some of the Black Friday ads have leaked; however, according to predictions by, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy will lead the pack by offering some of the lowest prices. One great site to keep up with the release of ads is The website will be updated as ads are leaked, it offers information on store hours, and you can filter your searches based on the price of the items you’re looking for.

There are several lists of things NOT to buy on Black Friday and interestingly, these lists stay consistent over the years. ABC News’ article from 2011 agrees almost entirely with the list Fox Business has released this year. The most agreed upon objects to avoid purchasing: Video game consoles, HD TVs, toys, and winter clothing.

If you decide to go out, be safe, be smart, and please be civilized. As for me, I’ll see you on the other side of the madness.