Black Friday 2018 isn’t just another day of deals, it’s the biggest shopping holiday of the year. So big, in fact, that you’ve probably heard horror stories of people getting trampled, battered, and bruised during this mad dash to snag deeply discounted items. After all, waking up at the crack of dawn and fighting a stranger at your local Best Buy is what Black Friday is all about, right? Well, that’s not as true as it used to be. As online shopping has grown year over year, online Black Friday deals shopping has grown right along with it.

Though there are still quite a few retailers offering special in-store discounts, the majority of the Black Friday deals will also be available online this year.  This shift to an eCommerce model is great for anyone who enjoys browsing deals in their pajamas, but it also creates an overwhelming scope of savings to sift through. Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and every other business will be throwing out deals left and right, and without the proper guidance, you may end up paying more for something than you should have to. If the best holiday shopping deals are what you’re after, this will be the page to find them on. We’ll keep you updated with the latest Black Friday news and update with new deals every hour once the madness begins.

When is Black Friday 2018?

Black Friday officially begins the day after the Thanksgiving holiday (Thursday), so this year it’s on November 23, 2018. However, it’s likely going to be more than just the one-day event it has been in the past. Many retailers start coming out with Black Friday shopping deals early in the week as to avoid getting drowned out by everyone else. Most deals will also continue on through the weekend and into Cyber Monday, which is now actually Cyber Week. So, the exact dates for Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become fairly irrelevant for any shopper.

What’s the difference between Black Friday Deals and Cyber Monday Deals?

Comparing Black Friday deals to Cyber Monday deals is a lot like comparing apples to, well, apples. Since the day after Thanksgiving has become more and more of an online shopper day, it has started to bleed into Cyber Monday to create a sort of mega deals extravaganza.

Though the two are nearly identical nowadays, Cyber Monday emerged quite a bit later. Black Friday dates back to the early 1950s when retail stores would kick off the Christmas shopping season with some of the biggest sales of the year right after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday, however, didn’t arrive until very recently — 2005 in fact. This was back when online shopping was a thing, but it wasn’t exactly “the thing,” and people still needed encouragement to buy online rather than in a crowd of bloodthirsty shoppers.

What sort of deals will we see on Black Friday 2018?

We don’t know for sure what will be discounted this holiday shopping season, but since we’ve gone through quite a few of these post-Thanksgiving shopping Friday’s in our day, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from last year:

  • Amazon will heavily discount its own products. Echo devices, Fire TVs, Fire Tablets, and many other smart home accessories will be on sale with lightning deals appearing every hour or so — sometimes with coupons.
  • Walmart will try to match whatever everyone else does. Google Home devices, Samsung 4K TVs, and a ton of other stuff will be discounted.
  • TVs will be at their lowest prices of the year, so add that to your shopping list.
  • There will be huge price drops on laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets.
  • Mobile carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon will start offering great deals on smartphones and plans very early on, so it’s a great time to look for sweet deals on the iPhone XS and iPhone XR
  • Video game consoles like the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox will likely have steep discounts.
  • Smartwatches and other wearables will be on sale.

What retailers will have the best deals?

There are an overwhelming number of sales and a great deal of savings to be had before the Black Friday season, and sorting through them all can be a real pain. If you’re looking to make it easy on yourself this year, we can give you a quick rundown of what retailers you should focus on based on last year.

  • Amazon Black Friday: This one is no surprise considering Amazon has been heavily involved in the transition from in-store to online shopping, especially when it comes to free shipping. Historically, Amazon offers a lot of top deals on smart home devices, but it will likely have discounts on just about everything else, including Fitbit, for Black Friday 2018 as well — so get that old gift card ready! Pre-Black Friday deals have already begun.
  • Walmart Black Friday: Walmart is right up there with Amazon when it comes to the sheer volume of products available on sale and with free shipping, but with a greater focus on TVs and home decor. They will likely release their Black Friday Ads a week or two prior to the actual day, complete with a toy list and a coupon code or two.
  • Best Buy Black Friday: For many of us, when we think of Black Friday deals, we think Best Buy. Though it usually has quite a few in-store discounts, Best Buy has been moving more to the eCommerce side of things in recent years by including free shipping. You may still receive a flyer in the mail telling you about the latest appliance deals prior to the big Friday, though.
  • Target Black Friday: Though Target will have a lot of the same deals as Walmart or Amazon online, it will also have quite a few exclusive deals you’ll only be able to get by going into the store. Their Black Friday ads are already showing up very early, so get that shopper hat ready and take a look take a gander at this ad scan full of doorbuster savings.
  • Macy’s Black Friday: If you’re looking for clothes, kitchenware deals, and bedding, look no further than Macy’s. And if you have already have a credit card with them, even better! Just don’t blow your budget all in one place.
  • Apple Black Friday: Apple tends to be a little more secretive about its deals and sales, but if you’re looking to snag a new iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or Apple Watch on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’ll want to keep an eye on them.
  • Costco Black Friday: Costco has already leaked a sneak peek of what they are planning on discounting on Black Friday. Just make sure you pick up some delicious free samples while you shop!

How do you know if a deal is really a good deal?

Whenever you shop online, whether on November 23 for Black Friday, on Thanksgiving day, or otherwise, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a retailer has slashed a price doesn’t mean it’s the best deal out there — or even really a deal at all. This tactic is all about inflating perceived market value and then discounting the product back to its actual market value. So just because something is “on sale” doesn’t mean it actually is — being a vigilant shopper is important.

In an ideal world, we would be able to trust everything we see on the internet, but since this is not the ideal world, you’ll want to look at each deal with a certain level of skepticism. Here are a few simple tricks to help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls:

Google the product you’re looking at

It seems pretty straightforward, right? More often than not, a quick Google search will tell you whether or not the item you want is actually on sale or if there’s a better price shopping somewhere else. If you have the exact model number of the product you’re shopping for, the Google price locator will do all of the work for you by aggregating the best prices in a module to the right of your search — assuming you’re not using a mobile device. This section is often sponsored, however, so you may need to do a wee bit of digging past the first five options to make sure you’re getting the best Black Friday price.

Using Google is a great way to compare prices in the present, but if you want to go a step further, you’ll need to check price history.

Compare product price history

This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually really easy to do. There’s a site called CamelCamelCamel that allows you to input URLs and keywords to see the price history of over 18 million Amazon products. This free tool only works for Amazon products, but chances are usually pretty good that if it’s on sale on Amazon during Black Friday, it’s going to be the lowest price available.

This tool also allows you to receive price drop alerts via email and Twitter so you don’t need to constantly keep an eye on the things you want.

Check the fine print and the comments

While most retailers are pretty good at specifying whether something is used, new, or refurbished, there are often a few products that slip through the cracks. If you think you’ve found a great deal on a laptop or a TV, for example, make sure you check the fine print to see if a third-party seller isn’t trying to dupe you into buying something his cat has scratched into oblivion. More often than not the commenters will call out any BS, but you have to read everything thoroughly to be sure.

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