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Black Friday: What you should avoid buying

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Yahoo Finance technology editor Daniel Howley joins the Live show to run down which electronics consumers should not wait to buy on Black Friday, while highlighting deals that are worthwhile.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: It is time to get that holiday shopping list in order, with just one week to go until Black Friday. But what kind of discounts should you expect, especially around some of those gadgets you may have your eye on? We've got Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley on the case for us. And Dan, I guess it's a combination of, number one, looking for the deals, the biggest price cuts, but also, just getting your hands on the supply this year.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, exactly, Akiko. And basically, I'm going to give you a couple of tips on what you should and shouldn't buy. The first thing, though, is, as you said, the supply issues. And so to deal with that, I say, don't wait for Black Friday, don't wait for Cyber Monday. If there's something that you know you need, go out and get it now because the supply issues, experts that we've been talking to on the shows and that I've spoken to privately have said, look, there's going to be problems with getting some of the gifts that people want.

And so if there is something in particular that you know somebody is going to be asking for or has asked for already, just go get it because when Black Friday, Cyber Monday rolls around, you don't know if there are going to be deals on it, number one, and number two, if there will actually be enough to go around. So even if you do wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, do the shopping then. Do not hold off to the last minute this year. It is not the year to do it.

So with that being said, the things that you should avoid, let's start with number one. And I know it really is kind of the go-to for Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday sales, but it's TVs. The reason I say that is because the TVs that are on sale during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, they're not usually the best. They're going to be kind of the bargain TVs. They're not going to be the ones that are perhaps going to last you seven years into the future. Five, seven years, that's usually around the time that people keep their TVs.

You have to look at what specifically you want. So if you're looking for a TV that's OLED or you're looking for a TV with four HDMI ports, make sure that if you see one on sale, that that's what it has. Don't just go, wow, this TV is 100 bucks. I got to get it. Because that could just be you throwing 100 bucks out the window when that TV doesn't work in a year, or it just doesn't meet your expectations. So, look out, make sure what you're buying is actually what you want.

Also, there's going to be fewer sales on TVs this year, just because of the supply crunch and the chip crisis. So even if you are looking for super cheap TVs, they might not necessarily be there. So, this year isn't the best for it. In general, though, I think if you do want a cheap TV or you want a TV with good features and you want a good price, your best bet is to wait for around the Super Bowl, because that's really when the best deals are out there.

After that, I say avoid super cheap laptops. And I used to work at a business-- I will say it rhymes with test guy. And I used to sell computers there. Every Sunday morning, I would get a circular, and then people would just blast through the front doors and grab a $200 computer, a $300 computer or whatever, and then walk out the door. And I always figured to myself, these people are just throwing $200, $300 in the trash because that computer is going to be slow out of the box.

And so, in a few months, you're going to be thinking, why did I buy this computer when it's already slow? If you just hold off a little bit longer and save a little bit more, then you might be able to get a computer that'll last you a lot longer. So those crazy, wild doorbuster-looking computers, complete waste. I think if you're going to be getting a computer, you should go with a base model with a core I5 processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM. It's not going to blow your world. It's not going to knock your socks off. But it is going to do what you need it to do, and it's going to last you a while. So avoid those cheap computers. They're not worth it.

And then, finally, what not to buy, game consoles. There's not going to be there. So if you have your heart set on one, rethink that. They're not going to be around. There are just too many supply issues, too many chip issues. So if you can get one, best of luck to you. But if you have your heart set on it, don't bother.

Now, real quickly, what you should get are headphones. There's really no issue with headphones. AirPods are going to be on sale. Beats are going to be on sale. Samsung's are going to be on sale. Amazon's are going to be on sale. There are great prices, there are great products. And there's really, no, oh, this doesn't have the right kind of processor in it, kind of guessing. It's whether or not it has active noise canceling and you like the look of it. That's basically it. So, headphones, earbuds, those are a great deal.

And then believe it or not, gift cards on services are awesome. So you're looking at things like Netflix. Maybe you're looking for gaming, and you have Playstation network. Or the absolute-- and I say this in a very positive way-- dumbest deal in video games is Microsoft's Game Pass, because they just throw video games at you for $15.99 a month, but you can get those Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cards for, like, $1 for three months and just stock up on them like crazy and just fill out your whole year for 12 bucks.

So those are really worth it. There's also obviously Hulu, other cards along those lines. So I think those are a great gift. But those are my tips. Happy shopping. But as I said, don't wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday if you don't have to.

AKIKO FUJITA: Dan, I get the sense that a lot of people are going to be getting gift cards this year, if these supply shortages play out. I always find them to be so impersonal, you know? Better to get something specific, but well, we'll be watching that one closely, Dan. I know you're going to be watching all those Black Friday deals.