Black Friday is by far the most popular shopping day of the year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has the holidays looking different.
So, when is Black Friday 2021? Black Friday is an annual event that occurs the day after Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday will happen on Friday Nov. 26.
But the in-store shopping craze that once occupied Black Friday is a thing of the past (for now). Instead, you’ll find the best Black Friday deals and sales for TVs, toys, tech, and more online.
Here’s how you can get the best Black Friday deals in 2021:
1. Shop early Black Friday sales in October.
The COVID-19 pandemic has the holidays looking different.
Retailers are starting their seasons earlier because of shipping delays and supply shortages. The good news? Some amazing holiday sales are dropping in October.
Target Deal Days was back for Oct. 10-12.
On Oct. 10, Target launched hundreds of thousands of deals in stores and online. There were major price drops on TVs, video games, Beats headphones, vacuums, kitchen appliances, and more must-have items.
Amazon launched epic deals on Oct. 4.
Prime Day was Amazon’s big event in October 2020, but Amazon made a comeback with more October holiday deals this year.
You can shop Amazon’s epic deals across every category with price cuts on top brands and trending products for 2021.
Amazon’s epic deals will likely last the entire season, which gives you plenty of time to score huge savings for the holidays.
Best Buy Black Friday sales start Oct. 19.
Best Buy is keeping up with Target and Amazon by making hundreds of Black Friday deals available early. Everything from cheap Beats headphones to $99 Chromebooks will be on sale starting Oct. 19 – Oct. 22.
See everything we know about early holiday sales in October.
2. Find most (if not all) Black Friday deals online.
Black Friday was once known for its in-store deals starting Thanksgiving Day. But since the pandemic poses safety concerns, stores are doing their best to avoid crowds. In 2021, most stores plan to close their doors completely on Thanksgiving.
Instead, stores will offer all their Black Friday deals online, including deals that used to only exist in store.
This year, Black Friday deals are just as easy to get from your sofa — so feel free to stay safe and snuggly at home.
Here’s a complete list of all the stores closed on Thanksgiving 2021.
3. Plan to shop in store? Scout out the store the day before Thanksgiving.
If you want to be a tactical shopper, go the day before Thanksgiving to get a feel for the setup of the store. Not only might you see setup going on for doorbuster deals, you can also find the second location of each hot doorbuster item.
For example, if Beats headphones are the “it” item at Target, you can expect that on Black Friday there’ll be an independent display near the store’s entrance — plus more inventory in the electronics department. If you know where to find them, skip the mayhem at the door, and make a beeline to get your headphones elsewhere.
4. Use Best Buy’s and Target’s Holiday Price Match Guarantee to get Black Friday prices before the sales start.
What’s better than getting Black Friday prices before Black Friday?
Target launched a fancy new price match benefit to help you save throughout the whole season. As of Oct. 10, any item you purchase from Target qualifies for a price adjustment if the Target price drops on or before Dec. 24.
So, if you buy something from Target now — and that item goes on sale later for Black Friday — you can get reimbursed for the total price difference. You’ll need to provide proof of purchase to get the price adjustment, but you can do this at any lane in the Target store. For Target.com purchases, call Target Guest Services at 1-800-591-3869 to request a price adjustment.
Best Buy is doing something similar with their Black Friday Price Guarantee — with automatic reimbursement for My Best Buy and Best Buy Totaltech members. You don’t have to worry about getting the best price by buying before Black Friday. Best Buy promises you will!
5. Sign up for store emails ASAP.
Get Black Friday deals sent right to your inbox as soon as they drop. Some retailers will even email you a special discount or promo code just for subscribing.
Sign up for emails at least two weeks before Black Friday to get ahead of the best deals. Here are a few to subscribe to now:
- Bed Bath & Beyond emails: Sends you the latest deals and products. New subscribers get 20% off a single item.
- Kohl’s emails: Sends you updates about sales, clearance events, promo codes, and free shipping offers. New subscribers get 15% off their next purchase just for signing up.
- Macy’s emails: Sends you the latest sales and savings. New subscribers get 25% off for signing up.
- Target emails: Sends you exclusive offers and weekly ad reminders.
- Walmart emails: Sends you the best bargains and discounts.
- Bath & Body Works emails: Sends you special offers and surprises.
6. You might want to buy the most popular toys before Black Friday…
Stores are expecting their most popular items to sell out early this year. That’s why holiday shoppers are getting their hands on the hottest toys as soon as they can.
Target, Amazon, Walmart, and Macy’s all released their lists of top toys for 2021. These are the items you’ll want to watch closely.
You can check out these top toy lists for 2021 right here:
- Target Top Toy List 2021
- Amazon Top Toy List 2021
- Walmart Top Toy List 2021
- Macy’s Top Toy List 2021
If you’re planning to buy toys on any of these lists, be sure to snag them early just to be safe!
7. Overall, the best Black Friday deals are at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, and Kohl’s.
These big retailers tend to have the best Black Friday deals year after year. Here’s what to expect from them on Black Friday:
- Amazon: Daily discounts and lightning deals to help you save big for the holidays. Great deals on smart home items, all things tech, clothing, and more.
- Walmart: Great discounts on toys, TVs, smartwatches, home goods, and more.
- Target: The best deals on Beats headphones plus discounts on toys, TVs, home goods, kitchen appliances, and more.
- Best Buy: Amazing deals on TVs, laptops, and large appliances (up to 40% off).
- Macy’s: A variety of deals on clothing, kitchen appliances, furniture, and beauty products.
- Kohl’s: Deep discounts on toys, small appliances, gaming consoles, vacuums, clothing, and more.
8. Drugstores are best for stocking stuffers.
Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS are little-known hotspots for deals on Black Friday. Their sales are legit on their own, but the coolest part is that unlike many other Black Friday retailers, drugstores accept loads of coupons on top of Black Friday sale prices.
Download the KCL app, and we’ll find the coupons for you. Here are a few deals CVS ran last year:
- BOGO toys as low as $3
- $0.50 disposable razors
- $0.99 nail polish
- $0.84 cereal boxes
9. Find the best clothing deals at Macy’s.
Macy’s is always a Black Friday rockstar, but their clothing sales were especially strong in 2020.
Kids’ puffer jackets were marked down to just $15.99, and pajamas and slippers were on sale for under $19.99.
Some of Macy’s clothing deals for Black Friday last year included:
- 60% off coats for men and women
- 40-70% off women’s styles
- 25% off UGG boots
- 60% off kids’ outerwear
10. Save big on small kitchen appliances from Kohl’s.
When it comes to saving on small kitchen appliances, Kohl’s helps you the most with mail-in rebates.
When you stack Black Friday deals with mail-in rebates at Kohl’s, you can save 80-90% on brands like Toastmaster, Circulon, Farberware, and more.
To submit a rebate at Kohl’s, fill out a rebate form and send it along with your receipt and an image of the barcode on your appliance.
11. Look for Black Friday TV deals at Best Buy and Walmart.
Black Friday deals at Best Buy are legendary, especially when you want crazy discounts on top-rated TVs.
In 2020, Best Buy broke records with the best OLED TV deal of all time: a 55-inch Vizio OLED TV for just $899.
Walmart was a close second with some of the biggest overall price cuts on TVs. Some of the Black Friday deals in 2020 were:
- Samsung 50-inch Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) HDR Smart QLED TV QN50Q60T 2020: $497.99 ($152 off)
- Sanyo 65-inch Class 4K Ultra HD (2160p) HDR Roku Smart TV (FW65R70F): $398 ($100 off)
12. Check out Target’s daily toy deals.
There are plenty of toy deals at Target the whole month of November, so waiting for Black Friday isn’t totally necessary.
Typically, Target will release a “Toy Deal of the Day” to help you save on big-ticket toys from brands like Razor, Kidcraft, and Hatchimals.
For Black Friday last year, Target had LEGO sets for 40% off and select board games and puzzles for 50% off.
When you factor in 5% savings with your RedCard, plus 1% in Target Circle rewards, you’ll stack unbelievable savings on toys for Black Friday.
13. Don’t miss Amazon’s stocking stuffers.
Not only can you get stocking stuffers for cheap on Amazon (and have them delivered fast if you’re a Prime member), but you’ll find unique, hilarious, and brilliant knick-knacks everyone wants and needs. Plus, you have a near-limitless assortment of gifts to choose from.
These were some of the most popular stocking stuffers on Amazon last year:
- Death Wish Coffee Co. The World’s Strongest Coffee 16 oz. Bag ($19.43)
- PopSockets: PopGrip Expanding Stand and Grip ($9.99)
- Poo-Pourri Before-You-go Toilet Spray Deck The Stalls Set ($19.31)
- TONYMOLY Peach Hand Cream, 1.05 oz. ($12.00)
14. Fill up and abandon your online cart for discounts like 15-20% off.
Some retailers will send you a coupon or promo code when you add items to your cart but don’t continue to check out. See if you can get some extra savings by adding items to your cart, then letting them sit for a while.
In order for this to work, you need to be logged in to your account on the store’s website. They’ll have your email address on file and know how to contact you.
Here are some retailers that give you promo codes when you abandon your shopping cart:
- West Elm
- Kate Spade
- Everyday Minerals
- World Market
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
15. Mix store pickup with ship-to-home options.
We’re seeing shades of shipping delays in the forecast this year.
Black Friday is chock-full of free shipping offers, but don’t expect speedy delivery without paying the price. Take advantage of free shipping offers earlier in the season so you have time to wait for your items to arrive.
If you’re a procrastinator looking for last-minute gifts, store pickup is your best bet. Because of the pandemic, tons of stores are beefing up their store pickup offers, or introducing them for the very first time. So work the perks to your advantage!
16. Pay with discounted gift cards from Raise for more Black Friday savings.
Raise is the easiest way to save big at your favorite stores — and it’s a Black Friday secret everyone needs to know about.
Raise.com buys gift cards from companies willing to sell them at a discount. Then, Raise sells them to shoppers at a discounted price.
You’ll save an average of 12-15% on your purchase with discounted gift cards from Raise. You can even set alerts to get an email when gift cards you want are newly available!
17. Read store return policies before you shop.
If you can make it through the holidays without returning a single purchase, we’re impressed. But it’s more likely that at least one item won’t fit. Or work the right way. Or come in the right color.
Be sure to read up on holiday shopping return policies before you shop the Black Friday sales, especially for your big-ticket items. Look for “restocking fees” in the fine print. Some retailers may charge a high restocking fee for returned items like electronics.
Here’s everything you need to know about return policies for some of the biggest Black Friday players:
18. Follow top Black Friday stores on social media.
The savviest stores know where their audience lives. They’ll post Black Friday content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Some stores will post sneak peeks or previews of deals to come. Last year, Target tweeted a preview of Black Friday deals on Oct. 30, including “major savings on gift-list faves.”
Twitter is also a great tool for real-time updates on Black Friday deals. You can create Twitter lists for your favorite Black Friday stores and view all their latest posts in one, organized place.
Walmart, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Ikea, and Costco have also posted Black Friday previews on social media in the past.
19. Stock up on items you can use as wedding gifts next year. And birthdays. And baby showers.
Building a gift stockpile for birthdays and weddings is a super smart way to save in the long run.
You know what’s on everyone’s wedding registry? A KitchenAid Mixer. And Black Friday is the perfect time to shop for one.
Last year, Kohl’s had the 5-quart KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer on sale for $100 off. Even better, it was eligible for $75 in Kohl’s Cash, which totals $175 in Black Friday savings!
Keep your eyes peeled for Black Friday deals on other top registry items — like toasters, knife sets, cooking utensils, bedding, toys, and baby products.
20. Join free store loyalty programs before the Black Friday craze starts.
Almost every store has its own rewards system these days, but not all of them are worth signing up for. Only the best store loyalty programs will help you save big when you shop.
Here are a few store loyalty programs that can actually help you save more for Black Friday:
- Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards: Get $5 back for every $100 you spend at Kohl’s (plus 8 extra rewards offers per calendar year).
- Petco Pals Rewards: Get $5 back for every $100 you spend at Petco (plus a free treat on your pet’s birthday).
- DICK’S ScoreCard: Earn 3.3% back at DICK’S Sporting Goods when you use your ScoreCard (plus exclusive coupons via mail or email).
- Ultamate Rewards: Save 3% at Ulta when you use your Ultamate Rewards card (plus 2x, 3x, or 5x points during special offers).
- My Best Buy Rewards: Save up to 2.5% at Best Buy (and get free shipping on qualifying purchases).
21. Track online orders and deliveries with the Shop app.
With all the online shopping you’ll (probably) do on Black Friday, it can get tricky to keep track of all your orders and when they’ll arrive.
The Shop app automatically tracks all your online orders and sends you delivery updates for every shipment.
You can manage your settings to only get alerts for the updates you want, but the FYIs will help you stay on top of all your Black Friday purchases.
22. Get $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend.
When we think of Black Friday at Kohl’s, we think of Kohl’s Cash. You get $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend during Kohl’s Black Friday week.
This alone sets Kohl’s apart from other Black Friday retailers. Prices on an Xbox might be similar at Kohl’s, Target, and Walmart. But if you can get $45-$60 in Kohl’s Cash when you purchase it there, it’s a no-brainer.
23. Join LEGO VIP for early access to Black Friday deals.
LEGOs are a big hit for Black Friday, but VIP members will score even bigger savings on bricks.
LEGO’s VIP Weekend is set for Nov. 20-21 this year — ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The event gives VIP members early access to Black Friday deals, exclusive offers and gifts with purchase, and double VIP points on purchases.
Keep your eyes peeled for more VIP Weekend deals from LEGO on Nov. 15.
24. Get a Target RedCard for 5% off and early access to deals.
If everyday 5% off isn’t enough, a RedCard also gets you free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items, plus exclusive perks like special items, gifts, and offers.
Even better, you’ll get an extra 30 days for returns and exchanges — a super helpful perk for the holidays. You’d normally get 90 days, but a RedCard gets you a 120-day return window.
You can use your RedCard to shop Target Black Friday deals in stores or on Target.com.
Sign up for a Target RedCard here.
25. Get automatic Price Protection with Capital One Shopping.
What used to be known as Paribus is now a part of Capital One’s Price Protection feature. When you set up Price Protection on your Capital One Shopping account, it instantly checks for coupons, better prices, and rewards for the purchases you make.
Price Protection works by scanning your email inbox for shipping and order confirmations to find purchases from the last 30 days.
Then, Price Protection continuously monitors and compares price changes for these items in real-time. Once an eligible claim is detected, Capital One contacts the retailer on your behalf and files a claim for a refund.
It’s a great way to get the best Black Friday prices without doing any of the work.
26. Use BrickSeek to check inventories before you go in store.
If you HAVE to go into the store for an unbeatable deal, just be sure to plan ahead by checking stock availability with BrickSeek.
If you’re looking for a specific product, BrickSeek tells you which stores have it in stock. You can search by an item’s stock-keeping unit (SKU) or universal product code (UPC), then type in your zip code to find the item near you.
BrickSeek will then check inventories at stores in your area and show you where it’s in stock.
You can use BrickSeek to check inventories at the following stores for Black Friday:
- Office Depot
- Home Depot
- CVS Pharmacy
- Dollar General
27. Don’t leave home unless you’ll save at least $50.
Don’t get swept up in a hot deal if you’ll only save ten bucks. That’s barely worth the fuel cost, let alone the stress of going to the store these days.
So if a pair of UGG slippers are on sale for $30 off in store, wait for another deal to pop up online. Even if you pay a few more dollars in the end, you’ll save your time and sanity (which are worth a lot during the holidays).
28. Make your shopping list by order of importance.
Prioritize your shopping list with your must-have items at the top. From there, plan your shopping trip in a way that gives you the best chance of getting everything before stock runs out.
Here’s when stores opened in 2020:
- Amazon: online shopping started a full week early on the Friday before Black Friday
- Bath & Body Works: opened 6 pm Thanksgiving; online shopping started 6 pm ET Thanksgiving day
- Best Buy: stores opened at 8 am on Black Friday; online shopping started 1 am ET Thanksgiving day
- JCPenney: in-store shopping started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving; online shopping started 1 am ET the Wednesday before Thanksgiving
- Kohl’s: opened 9 am on Black Friday; online shopping started 12:01 am ET Thanksgiving day
- Macy’s: in-store shopping started the Tuesday before Thanksgiving; online shopping started 12:01 am ET the Tuesday before Thanksgiving
- Target: stores opened at 8 am Black Friday; online shopping started 3 am ET Thanksgiving day
- Walmart: stores opened at 7 am Black Friday; online shopping started 10 pm ET Thanksgiving day
29. Bring a reusable bag to the store instead of using a shopping cart.
Shopping carts are a pain to push around the store, but handheld baskets are too small to keep up with great deal hunting.
If you’re heading into the store for Black Friday deals, bring an oversized reusable bag to carry merchandise instead of maneuvering a cart through aisles of holiday displays. You’ll navigate the store much easier (and avoid touching anything that might be germy).
30. Use the Amazon mobile app to easily send gifts.
Amazon has a brand-new feature for Prime members this season:
For the first time ever, you can use the Amazon mobile app to send gifts with just an email address or mobile phone number — no need to know the recipient’s mailing address.
All you have to do is choose a product to gift, then select “add gift receipt for easy returns” during checkout. Then, type in a known email or phone number for the recipient. The recipient can either accept the purchase or exchange it for an Amazon gift card without letting the sender know they did).
31. Shop Amazon Alexa-exclusive deals.
Take advantage of Alexa-exclusive deals by asking, “Alexa, what are your deals?” to hear a list of deals averaging 40% off.
Some Alexa-exclusive deals from the past include:
- Save $80 on a 32-inch Samsung 1080p LED TV
- Save $15 on a Philips Hue LED Starter Kit with 2 Bulbs & Hue Bridge Hub
32. Use a price protection app or browser extension.
Black Friday is a super-competitive event for retailers. You’ll see different prices on the same product at multiple stores. So how do you find the best deals without a breakdown?
You can use a price comparison app like Price.com to search for the lowest prices, coupon codes, and shopping recommendations. The app has a built-in barcode scanner, but you can also search prices by snapping photos of the item you’re looking for.
The Amazon mobile app is also a great tool for comparing prices, especially if you’re in the store. Just click the camera icon next to the search bar and hold your phone over a barcode to scan its price.
33. Set a budget and stick to it. Even consider only carrying cash.
If you’re known to impulse buy, live on the dangerous side and only take cash with you. You’ll stick to the budget you set and won’t end up with a carload of things you didn’t need!
34. Bookmark the KCL Black Friday page.
Our shopping experts work around the clock to find you the best Black Friday deals at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and a lot more stores. As soon as they drop, we post them on our Black Friday deals page.
Bookmark our Black Friday deals page to get your hands on unbeatable deals fast. You won’t regret it!
35. Download the KCL mobile app.
Get real-time deal alerts on the best Black Friday sales, offers, and specials at the stores you love. The KCL mobile app lets you set up alerts for certain brands, products, and stores, so you only get notifications for the deals that matter most to you.
Download the free KCL app to prepare for Black Friday perfection!
UP NEXT: The Best Black Friday Deals