Dudes. Chicks. Calm that consumer rush. This is a hard one, cause I try harder than the average Joe to be frugal and not financially wasteful, but I do get an extra blood rush during November's consumer push. It's no secret that Black Friday deals are businesses' chance to get rid of old inventory. While that's no problem in itself (that's a good frugal direction to be headed,) be careful of overloading on junk.
My best advice for thriving frugality is to know your good third party brands. Spend a few minutes on Amazon or CNET to learn some known flaws with big brands or product lines. For example, none of the LG tvs I've seen are not very good at handling black levels...shadows, facial hair and the letterbox lines all look "neon black," instead of having varying levels of depth. Samsung has a track record of terrible customer service. Stores used to use different types of cables to sell different tiers. HDMI (the current standard) for Samsung and Sony, and component cables (extremely limited in color depth and resolution) for Vizio and Spectre. I haven't seen this practice for at least 5 years, though. The stores may have realized that some people don't have the $200 extra to get the name brand; or maybe they realized it was a shitty underhanded practice. Ultimately, custom settings can make your cheapie TV look much better.
|And please, please adjust your picture settings...a 2nd-tier TV is very capable of looking like the picture on the left.|
I won't weigh in on fashion-related Black Friday sales because part of my frugality means I'm crisp, but not current *brushes off shoulder.* I also won't say what stores to avoid, though 'doorbuster' sales make me imagine the worst, and I'd personally just order online at my own pace. Our favorite retailers are doing sales all month long, so there's no need to skip out on your loved ones Thursday night after the Martinelli's is still washing down the third piece of pie you crammed down. We aren't drinking and driving, after all.
If you're only looking for a few things, the amount you save in not paying tax on Newegg.com, or the free shipping from many sellers might cancel out the lower-priced local deal if you factor in your personal time, gas, and hospital bills associated with stick fighting over the last SNES classic at store price. (Damnit, Nintendo, just make more; it's not that hard of a concept.) Year-round, consider DealNews, TechBargains and woot for daily deals; there's no reason to pay big box retailers' rent, line Shell Oil's pockets with money, and miss out on your cousins' cracked-voice rendition of Poker Face when you can have stuff sent to you.