Beyond Black Friday: The Best and Worst Things to Buy in November

This post comes from Benjamin Glaser at partner site DealNews.com.

November is the ultimate month for deal hunters. Not only will you find above-average sales every week, but this month you also get to shop Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and price lows you simply don’t see throughout the rest of the year.

However, not every sale you come across in November will offer true price lows. Thus, we’re here to tell you what you should buy this month, what will be cheaper next month, and what you should avoid at all costs.

November’s best buys …

Large home appliances

From Dyson vacuums to washer and dryer units, November is the month you want to make your major appliance purchases. Black Friday week in particular will offer an abundance of deals on laundry units, vacuums, dishwashers and refrigerators. Our research shows that 35 percent of these deals will hit their best-of-the-year prices, compared with 25 percent otherwise.

The best deals will come from Home Depot, Target and Sears. Keep an eye out for additional coupon savings, and free site-wide shipping.

Apple devices

Everything from iPads to Apple Watches can be a great buy during Black Friday, with two big qualifiers: Buy one generation behind, and don’t buy from the Apple Store. Brand new devices don’t see as many significant discounts, and the Apple Store is always undercut by resellers like Best Buy and Micro Center.

That said, you can grab an iPhone 6s (with new and improved memory) for $349, or $200 off — or for free with a two-year contract. The iPad Air 2 will drop to $350, and even though they are the same price, the iPad mini 4 will drop to $300.

Apple Watch pricing gets a little confusing, because there are now three distinct models. The Series 2 is the newest, and the Series 1 is the same as the original Apple Watch, but with a better processor. The original doesn’t really have a name, so we’ll just call it the original. The original Apple Watch will see the best prices, as low as $150. Just be aware of what you’re getting, because stores might be vague about which model they’re selling.

Android and Windows tablets

If you don’t want to invest a lot of money on a slate, November is an ideal time to buy a budget tablet. We expect to see an 8-inch 16GB quad-core Android tablet for $40, a 10-inch 32GB quad-core Android tablet for $60 and a 10-inch 32GB quad-core Windows 2-in-1 tablet for $75.

If you want to spend even less, you could opt for refurbished units, which we expect will sell for $15 and $30, respectively. However, for a better tablet experience, it will be hard to top Amazon’s Fire tablets. Their entry-level 7-inch one was discounted from $50 to $35 on Thanksgiving last year. Their latest, an 8-inch HD version, costs $90, so it could be available for $60 around Black Friday. Check out A4C and Newegg for other tablets under $100.

Clothing

November apparel sales are easy to predict because retailers tend to offer similar deals to the ones they had the previous year. That means you can expect the average apparel deal to shave 54 percent off, whereas the best sales will take up to 80 percent off. Coupons, of which there will be many, can take as much as 60 percent off.

However, stackable coupons will be a little more moderate, taking between 20 percent to 30 percent off. One thing to keep in mind is that the best shopping day for clothing this season isn’t Black Friday, and isn’t even Thanksgiving: It’s Cyber Monday. Be sure to check this day for the best deals on apparel, shoes and also beauty items.

4K TVs (and budget TVs)

Month after month, we’ve warned shoppers to stay away from TV deals. Well, now is the time to upgrade, and, for the first time ever, we’re saying 4K is a great buy for Black Friday. We expect to see prices on these TVs drop to lows that would have been unthinkable just a year ago. Expect to see 4K doorbusters for as low as $230, with midsize UHD sets for less than $500 readily available.

But the really in-demand sets (with a better price/performance balance) will still be 1080p sets. Those around 42 inches could go for $120.

Mainstream and budget laptops

In addition to TVs, Black Friday is also traditionally the best time of the year to make a laptop purchase. As usual, 15-inch laptops with current-generation processors will provide the best value: A 15-inch Windows laptop with an i5 Skylake chip should drop to $300. If you want a faster i7, expect to pay $450.

Bargain bin laptops will also see incredible lows, dropping below last year’s doorbuster price of $149 to the $110 range. That’s for a 15-inch laptop with less memory and a weaker processor. Extreme budget laptops, however, may once again drop as low as $99, but keep in mind these machines will offer inferior hardware usually consisting of an 11-inch screen, Celeron or Atom processor, and just 2GB of RAM. They’re fine for simple tasks like web browsing and social media, but can struggle with more powerful tasks like streaming HD video or multitasking.

Laptop deals are plentiful at Amazon, Newegg and Best Buy, which are also three of our top overall stores for Black Friday. But also keep an eye on Dell Home, Adorama and the Microsoft Store.

Kitchen appliances

Whether you’re a casual cook or an actual chef, November is the absolute best time to buy kitchen goods and appliances. Even high-end devices like KitchenAid mixers and essential Pyrex container sets will see extraordinary deals. Our 2016 Black Friday Home Goods Guide anticipates around 50 percent of this year’s small appliance offers will earn the Editors’ Choice nod, in comparison with a typical 19 percent from the rest of the year. Look for deals from stores like Kohl’s, Kmart and Bon-Ton.

Low-end MacBooks and iMacs

Apple computer deals are easier to come by for the smaller and less powerful models. For laptops, that’s the 11-inch MacBook Air; for desktops it’s the 21-inch iMac. Expect low-end 11-inch Airs at $700 and base model 21-inch iMacs at $900.

Midgeneration game consoles

The Xbox One S and the PS4 Slim are new, but the next generation video game consoles for both companies have already been announced (and the PlayStation Pro is already available). That means you’ll be able to get a great deal on what is essentially still a current-gen console. Used versions of the Xbox One and PS4 will be super affordable, but still won’t be much cheaper than new consoles. Look for bundles that include top-rated games and a controller.

Hold off on these purchases …

Winter apparel

If you need a new parka or wool scarf, you’ll see better prices during midseason sales in January, when discounts will top 50 percent.

High-end computers

Intel’s new Kaby Lake processor is still mostly available in ultralight gaming laptops. It won’t see major discounts, but most consumers don’t need these specs anyway.

Apple also doesn’t see big discounts for its more powerful laptops, even following a major update like the one coming up next week. Back in 2012, the last time MacBooks got a significant upgrade, we didn’t see any deals on older models during Black Friday.

Gift cards

These handy stocking stuffers practically rain from the sky in December, when you can easily score $100 of iTunes credit for $80 or even $70.

Exercise equipment

Stores like to take advantage of all those New Year’s resolutions, so wait until early January to pick up weights or an exercise bike.

Toys

Sorry, but if you’re looking for the hottest toys of the season, Black Friday deals will be few and far between. Whatever is the “Frozen” or “Star Wars” toy of this season will be so in-demand that it won’t be discounted often. The truly dedicated can find deals of up to 60 percent off on items from the Toys R Us Fabulous 15 list, but these offers will sell out almost immediately. It might be better to take your chances at finding a deal during December.

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