It's become a holiday season tradition: Lining up Thanksgiving night, or rather Thanksgiving afternoon as of 2013, when stores began opening at 6 p.m. Supposedly, those who give up their turkey dinner grab the best sales of the year.
With two months till Black Friday, the most hyped shopping day of the year, Black Friday (and Thursday night) may no longer provide the absolute lowest prices of the holiday season.
When the Wall Street Journal crunched six years of pricing data, it discovered that overall lowest prices are not on Black Friday.
- It says items that stores overstock, like blenders, sweaters, and holiday items, are cheaper if you wait two weeks, until mid-December.
- It also says name brand flat screen TVs tend to be cheaper before Black Friday. It's typically off-brand TVs that see those huge Thanksgiving night markdowns.
- Toys tend to be cheapest two weeks before Christmas, except for super-hot toys that will be very difficult to find. What that means is that if you want a Disney Elsa/Frozen doll, buy it immediately: Do not wait for a sale or you may never find it.
But you may want to start price shopping for TVs soon.
The Best Black Friday Deals
From the "Doesn't That Stink" file, there are items you will have to ruin Thanksgiving for, if you want the lowest prices.
The Journal and sites like DealNews.com say the best door buster deals on the Xbox, PS4, and tablets are typically on Thanksgiving. In those cases, Black Friday really does mean savings, assuming you are among the first in line.
So you may have to skip your turkey dinner if you want those items, to which you may say, "Doesn't that stink?"
Crowds Now Smaller
One potentially good thing about this dilution of Black Friday is that crowds are now smaller.
Stores reported lower sales Thanksgiving evening 2013, because it was the holiday and because the sales are now so stretched out.
Bottom line: If you are willing to shorten your Thanksgiving dinner and stand in line, you'll still find great door buster deals. But some of the lowest prices may come on other days, so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, and so you don't waste your money.