December Deals That Are Better Than Black Friday

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fading quickly in the rearview mirror, it has many shoppers wondering if their chance of scoring a good deal before Christmas is fading as well. What if I were to tell you that there are specific days in December where you can find better deals than the infamous Black Friday? Here are the dates you need to know to maximize your savings.

1. Christmas Toys — December 16th

Most Christmas toys don't start going on sale until the 16th of December. Retailers realize they have a captive audience during the Black Friday frenzy and tend to not offer many deals. Instead, they'll wait until mid-December to start lowering prices, including offering more online and in-store coupons. But this comes with an important caveat — if you're shopping for the mega-popular toys of the season (i.e., anything Star Wars related) you may have to snatch those up when you find them to avoid getting gouged as we get closer to Christmas.

2. Quality HDTVs — December 11–13th

Black Friday is known for huge doorbuster deals on really cheap HDTVs, most from brands you've never heard of with less than spectacular specs. But if you want to find a really good deal on a quality brand like Panasonic, Samsung, or Vizio, check out the deals on the weekend of December 11th–13th. Historically, this weekend sees big price markdowns and the release of above-average coupons from retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Sam's Club. If you're not buying a new HDTV as a Christmas gift, wait until the end of January when we typically see excellent deals leading up to the Super Bowl and after the Consumer Electronics Show, when new models are released.

3. Laptops — December 15th

If you missed out on one of the great laptop deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, don't fret — December 15th could actually be a better day to save. Over the past several years, that date has seen consistent markdowns and coupons from the likes of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and even Apple. Also, unlike Black Friday deals, which often see inferior laptops made specifically for the day, mid-December deals are on quality models with specs that won't leave you begging for an upgrade in a few short months.

4. Apparel and Shoes — December 18th

The single best day to shop for apparel and shoes in December is also known as Free Shipping Day, and this year it falls on December 18th. It's the day when over 1,000 online retailers come together to offer free shipping (no minimum) with guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery. The majority of these online retailers are clothing and shoe sellers like Gap, Lands' End, Old Navy, Zappos, and American Eagle Outfitters. In addition to free shipping, most of them also offer a percent or dollar off coupon code to entice last-minute shoppers. Be aware of return policies and know your size before ordering to avoid costly return charges.

5. Tools and Hardware — December 16th

If you're buying a new power tool for yourself, and can afford to wait, buy it during the two weeks leading up to Father's Day to maximize your savings. But if you're buying it as a holiday gift, start your shopping on December 16th and take advantage of a plethora of new markdowns and coupons from the likes of Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears. In the past, I've seen a 55% increase in deals starting on December 16th that typically last through the 20th of the month.

6. Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances — December 18th

It pays to shop for small kitchen appliances and gadgets closer to Christmas. Think coffee brewers, blenders, panini makers, garlic presses, and other items along these lines. By shopping online on December 18th, not only will you be able to take advantage of free shipping, but many websites like Pfaltzgraff, Crate & Barrel, Mikasa, Brookstone, JCPenney, and Chefs Corner Store offer discount codes in the 20%–40% off range.

7. PS4 and Xbox One Consoles/Games — December 14th

Starting on December 14th and going through the 17th of the month, you can usually find prices on PlayStation and Xbox items comparable to, or better than, the pricing you see on Black Friday. This includes older game titles in the 30%–40% off range and new titles 15%–20% off at retailers like Walmart, Gamestop, Target, and even Amazon. Also, if you look to buy a bundled system, which typically includes the console, game, and an extra controller, you can find deals in the 25% off range a week out from Christmas.

What is your holiday shopping strategy and how do you find the best deals?

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