11 Things That Are Usually Steals on Black Friday

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iStock

If you're a big shopper, or even if you're just good at planning out your holiday shopping well in advance, you've likely blocked off Black Friday as a prime day for getting items marked off your wish lists. And if you want to maximize your savings, you know to plan ahead. Some items, from TVs to video games to wearables, are typically the ones with the biggest annual markdowns. To help ensure that you get the best deals, here are 11 of the best things to buy on Black Friday.

1. TVS

Woman shops for TVs.
iStock

Electronics are a big part of Black Friday, and dedicated shoppers are known to camp out in front of stores for the doorbusters. Electronics stores like Best Buy and discount retailers like Target and Walmart are the major destinations for deals on gadgets, and flat screen TVs are one of the most sought-after items. In fact, according to a 2017 survey by Ebates on Black Friday shopping, 33 percent of adult Americans plan to shop for TVs on Black Friday. One incredible deal? This year, Best Buy is selling the Sharp 50" LED Smart Ultra HD TV for $179.99, down from $499.99. Heads up: this deal is in-store only.

2. SMARTPHONES

Man shopping for a phone.
iStock

Considering how expensive Apple products are, it's no surprise that iPhones are always a popular buy on Black Friday. It's the perfect time of to upgrade yours. You won't be alone: according to the Ebates survey, 28 percent of adults will buy smartphones this November 24. Target has the iPhone SE marked down from $159.99 to $99.99. It's not just iPhones, though! You can save on other smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S7, which Walmart is selling for $299 with a Straight Talk Wireless plan—a savings of $200.

3. LAPTOPS

Woman testing a laptop at a store.
iStock

Expect a ton of deals on Macs and PCs alike. Best Buy's 2017 Black Friday ad features discounts on laptops from Apple, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, HP, and more. This year, Ebates found that 32 percent of adults intend to take advantage of the deals on laptops, as well as 38 percent of teens. If you know you're gonna need a new laptop for next semester, buy it now for some strategic savings.

4. CLOTHING

Rack of clothing.
iStock

Despite the flashy deals on electronics, clothing is actually the number one item that Americans will purchase this Black Friday. According to Ebates, 39 percent of adults and 49 percent for teens plan to buy clothes on the big day. Many retailers run store-wide discounts, so you can effectively go on a regular shopping trip (albeit in a more crowded environment than usual) while saving a ton of money. Look out for deals on featured items from stores like JCPenney and Macy's, but know that prices on clothing will typically continue to go down through December, even though the risk of those boots you have your eye on going out-of-stock will also increase.

5. TOYS

Mother and child toy shopping.
iStock

Black Friday is a great time to do your holiday gift shopping, and you can save a lot of money on toys for the kids in your life. Ebates found that 30 percent of Americans plan to buy toys this year. Retailers Babies "R" Us and Toys "R" Us always have Black Friday promotions, like 50 percent off select Barbie sets and 40 percent off select LEGO construction sets. You can also find great presents in the toy aisles of stores Target, Walmart, and Kohl's.

6. APPLIANCES

Row of hand mixer kitchen appliances.
iStock

Department stores and discount retailers offer a range of deals on appliances, especially kitchen gadgets. Think toasters, coffee makers, blenders, microwaves, and more. Take advantage of the better sales and stock your kitchen with the basics, or search for novelty items, such as Walmart's offering of a 1.5 liter deep-fryer for $9.88—a 60 percent savings. Try to look for discounts over 40 or 50 percent though—many items priced at the 25-30 percent off range aren't worth the effort on a shopping day like Black Friday.

7. TABLETS

Man looks at smart tablet.
iStock

Like laptops and smartphones, tablets are a major steal on Black Friday. Look for price drops on the Apple iPad, the Amazon Fire, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Best Buy has the Apple iPad mini 4 128 GB for $274.99 (down from $400). And don't forget about e-readers like the Amazon Kindle! Amazon's own Black Friday deals have already begun with their Countdown to Black Friday, but keep your eyes peeled on the actual day for deals on Amazon Devices.

8. VIDEO GAMES AND CONSOLES

Video game controllers.
iStock

Black Friday is huge for gamers. You can find serious deals at GameStop, Best Buy, and P.C. Richard, or discount retailers like Walmart and Target. Many places offer saving on otherwise expensive consoles like PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox. Best Buy has the Xbox One S 500GB Console for $189.99, a $90 savings. Don't forget the games themselves: at Walmart, select titles start at $9.

9. SMART HOME DEVICES

Smart home device.
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Black Friday is the perfect time to take the plunge into the world of smart home gadgets—you can expect to find markdowns on many devices including the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Target has the Amazon Echo Dot for $29.99, a savings of $20. Head to Walmart to get a Google Home for $79 (down from $129).

10. WEARABLES

Woman looking at her smart watch.
iStock

Wearable technology is on the table too, with the chance to save on a variety of smart watches and fitness trackers. Target has the Apple Watch Series 1 for $179.99 (down from $250), while Walmart has the Fitbit Alta HR Small Bundle for 33 percent off, down to $99. Pro tip: wear a fitness tracker on Black Friday to see how many extra steps you fit in while running around finding deals.

11. CAMERAS

Woman shopping for cameras.
iStock

Treat yourself to a real camera on Black Friday and stop relying on your phone for your photography needs. Deals on digital and analog cameras as well as camcorders are always plentiful. Save $70 on a pocket-sized Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX80 at Best Buy for $299.99, or go big with the Canon EOS Rebel T6. At $449.99, it might be one of the bigger Black Friday splurges, but at 40 percent off its original $750 price tag, it's also one of the day's biggest savings.

10 Reusable Gifts for Your Eco-Friendliest Friend

Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
Disposable tea bags can't compete with this pla-tea-pus and his friends.
DecorChic/Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

By this point, your eco-friendly pal probably has a reusable water bottle that accompanies them everywhere and some sturdy grocery totes that keep their plastic-bag count below par. Here are 10 other sustainable gift ideas that’ll help them in their conservation efforts.

1. Reusable Produce Bags; $13

No more staticky plastic bags.Naturally Sensible/Amazon

The complimentary plastic produce bags in grocery stores aren’t great, but neither is having all your spherical fruits and vegetables roll pell-mell down the checkout conveyor belt. Enter the perfect alternative: mesh bags that are nylon, lightweight, and even machine-washable.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Animal Tea Infusers; $16

Nothing like afternoon tea with your tiny animal friends.DecorChic/Amazon

Saying goodbye to disposable tea bags calls for a quality tea diffuser, and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be shaped like an adorable animal. This “ParTEA Pack” includes a hippo, platypus, otter, cat, and owl, which can all hang over the edge of a glass or mug. (In other words, you won’t have to fish them out with your fingers or dirty a spoon when your loose leaf is done steeping.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Rocketbook Smart Notebook; $25

Typing your notes on a tablet or laptop might save trees, but it doesn’t quite capture the feeling of writing on paper with a regular pen. The Rocketbook, on the other hand, does. After you’re finished filling a page with sketches, musings, or whatever else, you scan it into the Rocketbook app with your smartphone, wipe it clean with the microfiber cloth, and start again. This one also comes with a compatible pen, but any PILOT FriXion pens will do.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Food Huggers; $13

"I'm a hugger!"Food Huggers/Amazon

It’s hard to compete with the convenience of plastic wrap or tin foil when it comes to covering the exposed end of a piece of produce or an open tin can—and keeping those leftovers in food storage containers can take up valuable space in the fridge. This set of five silicone Food Huggers stretch to fit over a wide range of circular goods, from a lidless jar to half a lemon.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Swiffer Mop Pads; $15

For floors that'll shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.Turbo Microfiber/Amazon

Swiffers may be much less unwieldy than regular mops, but the disposable pads present a problem to anyone who likes to keep their trash output to a minimum. These machine-washable pads fasten to the bottom of any Swiffer WetJet, and the thick microfiber will trap dirt and dust instead of pushing it into corners. Each pad lasts for at least 100 uses, so you’d be saving your eco-friendly friend quite a bit of money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

6. SodaStream for Sparkling Water; $69

A fondness for fizzy over flat water doesn’t have to mean buying it bottled. Not only does the SodaStream let you make seltzer at home, but it’s also small enough that it won’t take up too much precious counter space. SodaStream also sells flavor drops to give your home-brewed beverage even more flair—this pack from Amazon ($25) includes mango, orange, raspberry, lemon, and lime.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Washable Lint Roller; $13

Roller dirty.iLifeTech/Amazon

There’s a good chance that anyone with a pet (or just an intense dislike for lint) has lint-rolled their way through countless sticky sheets. iLifeTech’s reusable roller boasts “the power of glue,” which doesn’t wear off even after you’ve washed it. Each one also comes with a 3-inch travel-sized version, so you can stay fuzz-free on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Countertop Compost Bin; $23

Like a tiny Tin Man for your table.Epica/Amazon

Even if you keep a compost pile in your own backyard, it doesn’t make sense to dash outside every time you need to dump a food scrap. A countertop compost bin can come in handy, especially if it kills odors and blends in with your decor. This 1.3-gallon pail does both. It’s made of stainless steel—which matches just about everything—and contains an activated-charcoal filter that prevents rancid peels and juices from stinking up your kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Fabric-Softening Dryer Balls; $17

Also great for learning how to juggle without breaking anything.Smart Sheep

Nobody likes starchy, scratchy clothes, but some people might like blowing through bottles of fabric softener and boxes of dryer sheets even less. Smart Sheep is here to offer a solution: wool dryer balls. Not only do they last for more than 1000 loads, they also dry your laundry faster. And since they don’t contain any chemicals, fragrances, or synthetic materials, they’re a doubly great option for people with allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Rechargeable Batteries; $40

Say goodbye to loose batteries in your junk drawer.eneloop/Amazon

While plenty of devices are rechargeable themselves, others still require batteries to buzz, whir, and change the TV channel—so it’s good to have some rechargeable batteries on hand. In addition to AA batteries, AAA batteries, and a charger, this case from Panasonic comes with tiny canisters that function as C and D batteries when you slip the smaller batteries into them.

Buy it: Amazon

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The 10 Best Holiday Gifts $25 and Under

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Whether you're shopping on a budget or looking for gifts for the person in your life who's halfway between acquaintance and friend, this list of great presents for small prices should do the trick. Fun and silly, thoughtful and serious, useful and frivolous, this group of gifts is filled with old favorites and new delights. Fair warning: You may end up buying two of whatever you pick.

1. Anker Power Bank; $22

Amazon

Need a little extra boost? Tired of looking down at the Low Power Mode warning? This incredibly light on-the-go charger is a tiny powerhouse that will keep your phone at 100 percent and keep you from scrambling to find a wall outlet at the airport. It also comes with its own travel pouch and an 18-month warranty, but the cable is sold separately. It's a solid one-for-me-one-for-them gift.

Buy it: Amazon

2. FYC Wool Socks; $13

Amazon

For the friend in your life with feet, consider these thick, stylish socks that evoke a vintage design while keeping toes toasty (and sweat-free). They're made of a blend of cotton, wool, and polyester, so you get the best of all worlds: comfortable, warm, and breathable. Plus, they're versatile enough to go with pajamas, your hiking gear, or Zoom-ready business casual.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Zulay Kitchen Stovetop Espresso Maker; $17

Amazon

This sturdy, classic brewer is perfect for the person in your life who is interested in upping their cup game. It's simple and sleek, but it also comes with a pressure valve (couldn't we all use one?) to boost caffeine extraction, and the design allows for espresso, crema, foam emulsions, and more. Best of all, clean up is easy, so you don't have to worry about grimy boiled bean build-up.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Meriwool Beanie; $21

Amazon

Need a great gift that everyone can appreciate? No sweat! Meriwool's wool beanie comes in nine different colors and will look great on anyone hoping for something soft to hug their cranium. Made with 100 percent all natural superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool, it's not a head-scratcher, and the material is naturally moisture-wicking.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bob Ross Coloring Book; $7

Amazon

No one is going to judge you for using paintbrushes on this coloring book. Or crayons, markers, pencils, or your fingers. The beauty of this official coloring book celebrating the art of American icon Bob Ross is that it gives you a rough image to project your own designs on. It's far from paint-by-numbers, and it'll be a welcomed gift for anyone in your life who needs to destress with a little creativity.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Jim from The Office Funko; $9

Amazon

Six days since our last nonsense seems ambitious, but fans of the hit workplace comedy will appreciate having an adorable version of Jim Halpert to sardonically stare at them from behind their keyboard. Naturally, there's also figures of Michael, Pam, Dwight, and the whole Office gang in case you've got someone with a growing collection on your list. Plus, there's always the rabbit hole of Funkos that should satisfy fans of everything from Anime to Zombie flicks.

Buy it: Amazon

7. The Godfather Family Album; $25

Amazon

It's almost criminal that this book is so inexpensive. This 512-page hardcover gem showcases Steve Shapiro's iconic on-set photography of the immortalized mob film. Striking, unique images of Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and the rest of the cast of The Godfather sit alongside the sharp film writing of historian Paul Duncan, making this a definitive tome that belongs on every fan's coffee table.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Star wars The Child Monopoly; $20

Amazon

There are hundreds of different versions of the classic game about buying rectangles and charging outrageous prices for landing on the wrong ones, but for those who are loving The Mandalorian, this version drops you right into the series' adventures. The only problem is that everyone will call dibs on the Hoverpram piece. This is the way.

Buy it: Amazon

9. British Chocolate Bar Selection; $20

Amazon

Give someone the ability to travel to Britain from the comfort of wherever they can unwrap a wrapper. Crunchie, Bounty, and Fry's Peppermint Cream are just a few of the offerings in this Global Treats pack that can remind someone of home or share a piece of the UK with your favorite anglophile. Don't worry—no fun size here. They're all full size and delicious.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Stanley travel mug; $25

Amazon

Stanley has over a hundred years of quality craftsmanship under its toolbelt. This sturdy, cup-holder-ready mug benefits from that experience and boasts double-wall vacuum insulation to keep piping coffee hot for seven hours and chilly lemonade cold for up to 10. Toss in some ice cubes, and whatever you're sipping stays cold for up to 30! It comes with a trigger action lid for one-handed, leak-proof use, making it perfect for the exercise bike or the office. Everyone could use another way of transporting their drink of choice, and this might just replace what they've already got.

Buy it: Amazon