What’s worth buying on Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

Black Friday is kind of like a black hole. You think it’s a good idea to hit the mall and get your holiday shopping done early, but you really just end up with a bunch of random discounted shit that you didn’t need and can’t return. Besides, sometimes it seems like the clothing “deals” are nothing different than what you would get in the sale section on a regular day. So what gives?

We talked to Sara Skirboll, RetailMeNot’s Shopping and Trends Expert, about where to score the best deals, what to buy and when to buy it, and how to make sure you don’t overspend on stuff you don’t need.

First, we had Sara list what types of products get discounted the most on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you know where to look.

Black Friday:

1. Office Supplies: 50% off

2. Computer/Electronics: 47% off

3. Sports & Fitness: 42% off

4. Clothing: 32% off

5. Gifts: 31% off

If for some reason you need office supplies, you’ve come to the right place.

Next, we had her dish on what the best Cyber Monday sales are.

Cyber Monday:

1. Computer/Electronics: 48% off

2. Designer Clothing: 43% off

3. Teen Clothing: 39% off

4. Books and News: 33% off

5. Home and Garden: 31% off

As you can see, it might be worth skipping the clothing stores on Friday and just stocking up on Monday. Sure, you can’t try them on, but considering how long the changing room lines get on Friday, it’s probably the same deal.

Sara also says it’s not worth buying toys and gifts on Black Friday, she advises waiting until later in December because they “tend to drop in price ten days before Christmas.”

If you’re a beauty junkie, you also should wait until Cyber Monday to splurge. But for fitness, get out on Friday and hit the stores.

“If you’re looking to upgrade your fitness gear, definitely buy on Black Friday,” says Sara. “Last year we saw deals up to 38% off for Sports & Fitness. If beauty is on your list, wait until Cyber Monday for the most savings from retailers like Sephora and Ulta.”

But before you start filling up your cart just because the tag says “50% off,” put your smartphone to good use and compare other prices.

“Always check where you might be able to find the lowest price for an item,” says Sara. “Once you’ve found a great price, check sites like retailmenot.com to find a promo code or coupon and score more savings.

As for tips on how to not end up buying 20 things for yourself instead of the gifts you actually needed to buy?

“Make a list and stick to it,” says Sara. “Then, buy a discount gift card to use at your favorite retailers and leave your debit and credit card at home. That way, you don’t feel the urge to overspend.”

Okay, if you can actually leave your cards at home, you have serious willpower. But instead, you could just take out cash so that it’s easier to stick to a budget. Or, tell yourself that you’ll buy for yourself on Cyber Monday, and dedicate Black Friday to shit that you actually need to get.

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