Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What can you expect from Black Friday? - Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008

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Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008

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What can you expect from Black Friday?

QMy wife was laid off earlier this year, so money is tight. I still want the kids to have a happy Christmas. So, I'll be hunting for bargains. What is Black Friday? What kind of deals can I expect on tech stuff?
—Jeff in Phoenix, listening on KFYI 550 FM

ABlack Friday sure sounds ominous, doesn't it? Well, there's nothing to fear, except crowds! Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, kicks off the holiday shopping season. It marks the day retailers make profits and are "in the black."

Many stores offer rock-bottom prices on Black Friday to lure customers. Some deals are only available early in the morning. Others are available all day—or all weekend. Most sale prices will only be available in stores. But some Web sites will also have great prices.

To get in on the deals, you need to plan. Advertising circulars will appear in the newspaper on Thanksgiving Day. You don't need to wait that long for a peek, though.

A number of sites post advertising circulars early. The circulars are leaked by company insiders. Not all Black Friday sites will have the same circulars. Three sites to check out are BlackFridayAds.com, BlackFriday.info and BFAds.net.

Earlier sales

Traditionally, you find the best shopping deals of the season on Black Friday. This year, things will likely be different. That's because consumers plan on spending less on gifts.

You'll still see outstanding offers on Black Friday. But, prices may actually go down as Christmas approaches. This is especially true for televisions.

Also, analysts speculate that Apple will be more aggressive this year. Computers could be discounted $100 or more. Likewise, iPods could see steep discounts. Even the hugely popular iPhone could go on sale! Discounts should be available online and at its retail locations.

So, what can you expect to see at your local electronics store?

First off, high-definition televisions will be the queen of the ball. You'll see 47-inch LCD HDTVs drop below $1,000. But some of the best deals will be on 32- and 42-inch sets.

Wait for brand names

You'll see 42-inch LCDs in the $600-$700 range. A 32-inch LCD can be had for $400 or less. And, as the size of the set decreases, so will the price.

Off-brand sets may dominate Black Friday sales. If you must have a brand name, wait. These should be discounted two to three weeks before Christmas.

Monitors will also get the discount treatment. A 19-inch widescreen flat-panel monitor will be $100 or less.

If you've been holding off on a Blu-ray Disc player, now's the time. Blu-ray players will drop to the $150 price range. Off-brand players could even hit $100.

Many stores have offered $400 laptops on previous Black Fridays. These were often anemic, underpowered machines. This year, you can pick up a dual-core laptop with 3GB of RAM. The price will come in just under $400!

$300 laptops

If you don't need all that power, you'll find even better deals. Stores like Wal-Mart will offer $300 laptops. These are not netbooks, either. They will have large screens and full-sized keyboards.

As usual, digital cameras will be hot sellers. Pick up an entry-level DSLR with lens for $450 or less! Point-and-shoots will also be on sale. Expect to pay between $80 and $100 for a basic, 8- to 10-megapixel model.

To complement the cameras, digital frames will be on sale. A basic 7-inch model can be had for about $30. Or pick up a 9-inch model for $50 or so.

It isn't just big-ticket items that will be on sale. You'll find many digital accessories suitable for stocking stuffers.

Normally, I wouldn't consider an MP3 player a stocking stuffer. But this year, MP3 players will be ridiculously inexpensive. For example, a 4GB Sansa Fuze will go for $50. That's 50 percent off! Or, pick up a 4GB Sansa Clip for $35. Off-brand players will be even less expensive.

Storage is ridiculously cheap

Memory cards and thumb drives will be heavily discounted. Pick up a 4GB SD card for $15. Or, choose an 8GB thumb drive for $20.

Look for CDs and DVDs starting at $4. You'll find Blu-ray discs at $16. Now, $4 CDs and DVDs are nothing new. But this year, you'll see these prices on discs you actually want!

This is just a taste of what you'll find. Software and games will see modest discounts. And slow movers like GPS units and Bluetooth headsets will be heavily discounted. Check the circulars yourself to see what else is on sale!

There's just one problem with Black Friday deals. The best deals will be in brick-and-mortar stores. That means you'll need to brave crowds of shoppers. Fortunately, you can still find deals online. Check out my quick tip for easy ways to save money online.

If you do your Christmas shopping online, be careful. The Internet has plenty of crooks. My must-read tip will give you some priceless advice for avoiding unscrupulous sites.

You'll also need to be a little more organized if you're shopping online. You don't want gifts to get lost in the shuffle. My time-saving tip will help you keep your online shopping organized!

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Every day, Team Komando produces some of the best content you'll find anywhere on the Internet. Here is a sampling of what's new on our site today!

Video of the Day: Mickey Mouse is a huge cultural icon. And today is his birthday! Check out the first popular cartoon to feature Mickey.

Cool Site of the Day: Who doesn't like Mickey Mouse? Well, did you know there are hidden Mickeys all around? This site will show you.

Digital Minute, on your radio: You'll probably do your Christmas shopping online. Before you break out your wallet, heed my three tips.

Free Download of the Day: LCD monitors sometimes have dead pixels. But they can be hard to spot. This program will help you find them.

Tip on the site: Popular games can be costly. So, the idea of getting them free is attractive. However, you and I both know that is stealing.

Kim :)

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