When Is Black Friday?

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

It's coming up SOON, and yet many people aren't exactly sure when the "official" Black Friday season begins.  I can't really blame them; it seems that the holiday gets a bit more vague every year.  While the traditional date for Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, the extended shopping hours and addition of Cyber Monday has muddled the matter.

This year, for example, some stores are opening at 11:59 pm on Thanksgiving!  Others (like Amazon) are having their Black Friday sales RIGHT NOW!  If you're unsure as to when to shop, here's a quick breakdown for you:

Black Friday early sales.  We can't track all of these, there are just so many!  Amazon is offering Black Friday discounts as we speak.

Black Friday ONLY sales.  These are the most common.  All retailers that I shop at regularly are offering deals both in-store and online.  Be careful, however: stock is extremely limited for most of the best deals.  I would suggest ordering online, if possible, to avoid the crowds! (Online shopping also starts early; 4am for some sites.) As a Walmart Mom, I can't say enough about Walmart's online specials (which seem to last longer in the day than some other retailers.)

Cyber Monday sales.  These take place the Monday AFTER Thanksgiving.  The deals aren't quite as aggressive for consumer merchandise items like toys, clothing, or food.  They are great for people looking to buy anything that can be delivered to your door: computers, cameras, or digital services (like photo printing.)

To keep track of everything you want to shop for this Black Friday, I suggest going to a site that specializes in Black Friday sales (BradsDeals, for example, is very comprehensive!) Good luck, and stay within your budget!