Black Friday Deals Start Early

Why wait until the end of the month? Your favorite retailer may be offering steep discounts already.

By Liane Cassavoy

The jury’s still out on whether Black Friday is all it’s cracked up to be. But let's save that debate for another day—or at least for another Frugal Tech. Today we’re going to focus on the runup to Black Friday, and some of the deals that are already available as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year.

Amazon's Countdown to Black Friday

Amazon has kicked off the month of November with its Countdown to Black Friday event, offering deals on products including such electronics as headphones and TVs. Amazon is also offering Deals of the Day and Lightning Deals, which are available for a limited time or until the product sells out.

Some of the deals are decent (for example, $20 off most versions of the popular Kindle e-reader), and many of them are available only to Amazon Prime members. Amazon does offer a 30-day free trial of its Prime service, so if you’re thinking of checking it out, November could be the right time to do so. Amazon lets you see deals that have already come and gone and those that are on the horizon, so you can plan your shopping accordingly—or make new plans for purchasing an item that you missed out on.

Walmart is offering early online specials ahead of Black Friday, too. The retail site does not specify whether the deals are time limited, but it is making a wide range of items available. Notable deals include a 32GB iPad Mini 2 with Wi-Fi for $219.99, a good price for a device that most competitors sell for about $40 more.

If shopping for toys is on your to-do list this holiday season, you’ll want to download Target’s Cartwheel app. This free app will notify you of a daily deal, offering 50 percent off a different toy each day, from November 1 through December 24. To collect on any of these offers, you have to make your purchase in a brick-and-mortar Target store and you have to present the digital coupon (generated by the Cartwheel app) at checkout. The app also doesn’t tell you the price, since that’s set in the store; but you're guaranteed the chance to buy it at half off if you get to the store on the day of the offer.

Amazon, Walmart, and Target have plenty of company among retailers that are offering pre–Black Friday bargains. Expect many more to follow suit—and soon. Happy holiday shopping!

Main image: Flickr/jbhthescots