Stores across the country are preparing themselves for the biggest shopping day of the year - Black Friday - when hordes of shoppers hungry for deep discounts on big ticket items head for the stores to find that one perfect gift.
Shopping for the holidays isn't just stressful, it's turned into an endurance race where only the fittest survive and the starting gun goes off after everyone finishes their turkey. Fortunately, a little bit of preparation can go a long way in reducing the stress and the hectic holiday spending sprees.
To help you best plan how to you should best spend your time and money this year, WalletHub looked at nearly 7,000 deals being offered by 35 of the largest retailers in the United States and broke it down by which stores and category of items will have the largest discounts. Categories include items like "Apparel & Accessories" "Computers & Phones" "Appliances" or "Consumer Electronics."
According to the survey, most of the biggest discounts this year will be found in the Apparel and Accessories category with 23% of stores offering discounts for those types of items.
There are plenty of deals available on Black Friday for Computers and phones according to WalletHub's survey with with 12% of stores offering discounts on those items.
Jewelry will also see some steep discounts, especially at stores like Sears, Stage, Kohl's, Belk and JC Penny.
Experts say people should pace themselves for Black Friday and be diligent in distinguishing the real deals from the marketing traps. University of North Carolina Assistant Professor Mark Pelletier says shoppers shouldn't consider a low price equalling low-quality - especially on Black Friday.
"Always ask yourself if you would you even consider buying this product if it was not deep-discounted. Every Black Friday, retailers bring out products and brands that they would not normally carry to entice people into their stores for "amazing" bargains," said Pelletier. "If you have never heard of a particular brand, there is probably a reason why. Do some research. When tablets and e-readers were all the rage, many retailers had deals on cheap knock-off versions of popular brands."
"Before spending your cold, hard cash on a product that looks good, do some research," Pelletier adds.
Pacing yourself can also keep you from overspending on Black Friday. A good rule of thumb when shopping on Black Friday is to stick to your plan and avoid spending money on what seem like great deals. If you don't absolutely have to purchase a particular item, you really shouldn't, even if you feel like you're saving a lot of money.
"Impulse purchases can quickly lead to financial hardships. Have a game plan before heading out to shop and stick to it. Never spend more than you plan on, and don't use credit if you aren't able to take control of it. Psychology research has shown us that there is indeed a "pain of paying" that kicks in to protect us from spending too much," said Pelletier. "Getting caught up in emotion can sometimes cause us to ignore or suppress this pain, but it's there for a reason, so listen to it!"
Deals on Black Friday can often be outdone by other big shopping days that have sprung up around Black Friday. For instance, depending on the item, you may be able to save more money by purchasing it on "Cyber Monday."
"Services, such as digital products, and small ticket items for Cyber Monday and big-ticket items for Black Friday is the best bet," Pelletier says.
WalletHub determined the best stores for Black Friday by surveying nearly 7,000 deals from 35 of the biggest retailers' Black Friday ads. The following stores were included in the survey:
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Ace Hardware
- Best Buy
- Big Lots
- Dell Home
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Fred Meyer
- Gander Outdoors
- Harbor Freight
- New York & Company
- Office Depot and OfficeMax
- Payless ShoeSource
- Sam's Club
- Stage (includes its five brands: Stage, Bealls (not to be confused with Bealls of Florida), Goody's, Palais Royal and Peebles)
- Stein Mart
- True Value
Photo: Getty Images, WalletHub