Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

Between this Thanksgiving occurring as early as possible, and our plan to abandon Black Friday shopping in favor of decorating, I’m on track to cross off a substantial portion of my Christmas To Do list before the start of December. Here is all that I’ve accomplished already, ahead of Thanksgiving.

Christmas Cards, (✔)

We took our Christmas Card photo on Sunday, and finished our cards yesterday. I misread a coupon from Shutterfly and was rushing to get it done by Thanksgiving. Turns out I have no shortage of 40% off coupons that don’t expire until the end of December, so I’m sitting on our card until Black Friday/Cyber Monday to see if there’s a better deal coming.

Incidentally, rushing to get a family photo ended up being a good thing as not 24 hours later a cold started to make it’s way through our family bringing with it crusty noses, tired eyes and pale faces.

Black Friday, (✔)

BestBuy’s deal on the iPhone went live somewhere around 10 o’clock my time. Around the same time CamelCamelCamel alerted me to a good deal on the previous Kindle Paperwhite. Neither deal was spectacular, but can’t beat the convenience of shopping in my PJs while sipping my hot chocolate – especially since I’ve been hit by that cold!

While I am content to be finished with Black Friday shopping this year, I am a little disappointed. There didn’t appear to be a deal on the leap pad, either in person or online, and the phone ended up being not as discounted as I previously believed. I miss the spectacular deals.

“Santa’s” Shopping, (Mostly ✔)


I’m ridiculously proud of how well Nicole’s and Alexis’ stockings came together. I started planning them back in September as Santa was getting the girls custom name necklaces. I got the idea when Alexis’ started writing her own name. Wouldn’t you know one of the four things Nicole wanted (along with headbands, and nail polish) was a new necklace? Way ahead of you, girlie!

Alexis wants a real life unicorn, so Santa is stuck there, but I think she’ll be happy with what Santa came up with.

That just leaves Dana’s stockings. Her’s was always going to be the most difficult as I like the stockings to be somewhat practical and we have so many hand me downs she is not of want for anything. I’m thinking maybe teethes and bath toys.


Handled across the board. Domingo and I happened to be in Target the day of the 20% off toys sale, which worked out perfectly.

November 9, 2018

Black Friday 2018 Wishlist

I’m still feeling a bit burned by last year’s Black Friday, which is perhaps why I have been slow about really making plans this year. I still fully intend to shop online only, and while I know there will be good deals to be found online, I’m know I’ll also miss the atmosphere. C’est la vie.

If this year’s Black Friday had a theme it would be “get a good deal, not necessarily the best deal.” (Incidentally, that was my original Black Friday motto.)

Kindle paperwhite

Domingo’s current kindle, the Graphite modal, doesn’t have a backlight. He does have a detachable light, but the light only affixes to the kindle when the kindle is out of it’s carrying case. He’s traveling for work a lot more this year and what was once an inconvenience is becoming more a nuisance. As if sensing we needed just a little more of a push to get a new kindle, the light quit working on his last trip.

From my research it looks like I can expect $30-40 off if I wait until Black Friday.

Leappad for Alexis

Alexis loves her tablet, but they don’t really make good apps for three and four year olds. The games are either a little too advanced, or a little too juvenile so the device has become more of a mini tv. Nicole’s old leappad, on the other hand, is more age appropriate, but, well, old and the touch screen isn’t as responsive any more. We decided to get her a new tablet for her upcoming birthday to tide her over while she grows into her current tablet.

Last year the best deal was at end of October by stacking coupons. So far, I haven’t seen any comparable deals, or any black friday deals of any kind on leappad tablets, but I haven’t given up hope yet.


Both kids have decided their asking Santa for Hatchibabies.

Walmart’s Black Friday ad came out and they’re offering an exclusive hatchibaby, the Foxfin, for $34.88. I checked the website and there’s currently no listing of the foxfin, which makes me think the Foxfin is being produced just for he season. Our TV was manufactured for Black Friday. It was designed and produced at a super cheap price point so it could be one of those amazing door buster deals. One of the ways the manufacture made it cheap was by removing HDMI ports. When it hit the market on Black Friday it looked like a steal compared to fully featured TVs sold all year round. I’m not complaining. It’s certainly good enough for us, and in the same situation I’d buy it again. On the other hand, I’m not sure the “missing some features, but still largely the same at a lower price point” mentality works for a Santa Present. Besides, when I was doing research into the foxfin I found someone wrote an app to track store inventory for this hatchibaby only. Not a good sign it’s going to be easily available.

Since Walmart’s exclusive hatchibaby was being offered at $35, I figured it was unlikely anyone would beat that price. That made the current price for the Ponette ($39.37 on Amazon) not bad. Previously they have been “on sale” since October for $48.88. I bought ours last night.

Wilton large baking sheet

Our non stick backing sheets are no longer non stick. Besides, now that we have a larger family it would be nice to have a baking sheet large enough to fit food for everyone! I bought one of these over the summer and it works great. We can make due with the one we have, but two would be nice. This is a good candidate for a sale, so I’m waiting to see.


My current phone is now four years old, can no longer hold a charge for a day, and a particularly JavaScript heavy website can bring it to its knees.

Target is doing another $250 gift card with activation, but I’d have to go in person and that was the straw that broke the camels back last year. We got a good deal on Domingo’s phone by purchasing it online at BestBuy the week before, and they’re doing $150 off the iPhone this year so I’m hoping that works again this time. It’s not the best deal possible, but it’s the most convenient! My time is worth an extra $100.

November 26, 2017

No Phone for Me

Despite early online successes, in person Black Friday shopping this year was a colossal failure.

I was able to get a sale as good, or better than I was expecting on pretty much everything on my list through online shopping. I had sorted all our old baby clothes, knew what we were missing, and took advantage of the sales to flush out Z3’s early wardrobe. I opted to skip most of the baby gear on our list in favor of just in time decisions based on what we need. Since Z3 is our last, there’s no point in stocking up in what we might need. The monitor is the clear need, but a simple security camera will likely suffice and can stream to our phones which means one less component that could fail.

By the time the kids were in bed Thursday night, there was just one thing left on my list: my new phone.

We arrived at Target at 7:30 pm, about 90 minutes after the doors opened. I was surprised to see a line still outside the door. My heart sank when we noticed it was the iphone line. Not a good sign to begin with, and our night was about to get even worse.

We have never waited in a Black Friday sale before, let alone at nearly 8 months pregnant. I wasn’t sure how long I could hold out with Z3 compressing my internal organs. Simply standing can be exhausting. As we stood in line I started the timer on my phone. I wanted to be able to estimate how much longer we would likely weight if I felt like I was maxing out my capabilities. We alternated between both of us standing in line, and me sitting on the nearby bench while Domingo held our place. At 31 minutes, 30.11 seconds one of the Target employees made an announcement.

It turns out the line we were in was the pre-line line. When we got to the front they’d check our eligibility for an upgrade, and verify they still had the phone we wanted (network, color, memory size, etc) in stock. Then we’d enter the actual line, an virtual queue. At some point later we’d get a text/call that we were next and have 15 minutes to make our way to the counter and claim the phone, otherwise our spot was forfeit. It could be any time between then (8pm) and midnight, or after 6 am the next day. The employee’s best guess was the next day.

We abandoned all hope and left the line. I couldn’t spend that much time at Target, and if we went home it was unlikely we’d be able to return promptly in fifteen minutes, and that’s assuming I didn’t miss the call/text. I didn’t want to feel pressured into getting a different size, or color than I wanted, and worried I’d be told the phone was in stock, only to discover it wasn’t once I arrived. But I was still disappointing, and as we returned home I started to second guess myself. There was no guarantee the call/text would come at a bad time. I might have been able to get my phone had we stayed in line, I definitely wouldn’t by exiting the line.

On Friday I read a market watch article talking about the frustrations many customers had purchasing their phones. Even those who were in line before the doors opened were waiting for hours. I felt a little better for not sticking it out. It sounded like a miserable experience.

Saturday I realized we had forgotten candles for Alexis’ birthday cake and had to send Domingo to the store for an emergency pick up. The party aisle is right by the electronics section and he couldn’t help but overhear one of the annoyed customers. The customers had been summoned to pick up his iPhone twice. The first time, despite being told the phone he wanted was in stock and ready to be picked up he arrived at Target only to discover they had made a mistake and did not have that particular phone after all. This was his second call back. One of the other customers had returned their phones, but there was some issue surrounding the fact that it was a returned, already activated phone. Another clearly miserable experience.

I’m disapointed I didn’t get a new phone, but if I could only have one new phone or a new camera, I’m much happier with the new camera.

November 22, 2017

Early Deals

In early November I got in the habit of leaving a separate browser open dedicated to shopping. I was interested in a pumpkin Halloween decoration that was strangely not on clearance sale yet, and considering getting some out door artificial pencil width trees to go on either side of the front door. I had a tab opened to each product I was considering, waiting to see if it would go on sale. While I was at it, I decided to add some tabs for some of the Black Friday things I was considering. I wasn’t expecting a deal yet, but I like to be organized.

Then something strange happened.

We were planning on purchasing a Samsung S8 for Domingo for the Black Friday sale price of $300 off. I calculated the monthly rate to be ~$17. As I was scrolling through my shopping tabs in the morning of the 16th, a full week before thanksgiving, I noticed Bestbuy offering the phone for ~$15 a month, or $350 off. I purchased it without hesitation. Bestbuy had jumped the gun and beaten their own advertised price which was already the best around!

Another deal I was considering was an Artificial tree from Michaels. One of our trees last year quit working thanks to faulty wiring in the plug. I was debating about restring the lights (a deceptively huge endeavor.) At the beginning of November Micheals had some kind of “tree event”. Domingo and I went to the store and really liked on of the trees which was an extremely reasonable price. “Was” being key. The tree was 50% off the day before, now only 25% off. It was still a good price, but not the best price. I often will balk at a purchase if it’s not the best price, regardless of how good it is. A little internet research suggested the price would come back down on Black Friday. Sure enough, when the Black Friday flyer finally came back the tree was once again advertised as 50% off. I opened a tab and was at the ready. The deal started Sunday, a full five days before it was advertised to start.

Then last night I got an email from bed bath and beyond advertising a 20% off an entire purchase for being a subscriber starting that moment. It was exactly the Black Friday deal i wanted to replace our thread bare sheets that i was dreading going in person to get! And they weren’t the only ones. Target also started their Black Friday deals today for people who have a red card (something I only realized when their automated system emailed me to let me know something I was looking at was on sale.)

That’s just three examples. Here we are, the day before thanksgiving and I’ve gotten most of the items off my Black Friday shopping list at the price I was expecting, or better. On the one hand, I will miss the tradition of going out to the store on Thanksgiving night after the kids are in bed. On the other, I look forward to having more time in the evening for our other tradition, trimming the trees up while the kids are sleeping.

October 4, 2017

Black Friday Game Plan

It’s almost that time of year again: shopping season! One again I find myself making a list of deals I’m hoping for to help keep my shopping focused and my splurges to a minimum.

Kids clothes. Nicole has just about out grown her current size, so we’re ready to expand her wardrobe. I’ve purchased her a few clothes so we won’t be suddenly on a lurch, but a blanket sale on kids clothes seems to be a Black Friday staple.
Where I’m looking: Carters or Target

Baby Stuff. No surprise there. Our baby monitor is in terrible shape, which is understandable given it’s age. The video sometimes goes, the signal cuts out and it’s battery life is non existent. I’m also like a new crib and an additional rocking chair. (You can never have too many rocking chairs with multiple kids in the house!)
Where I’m looking: Amazon mostly. I’m expecting to only succeed on the monitor, I’ve never seen the other two as a part of a Black Friday holiday sale.

Kitchen/Home Stuff. There’s nothing big that we need. Our pizza pan is pretty gross at this point, and I’d like to try flexible cutting boards instead of the stiff ones we have now that seem to take up so much room in the dishwasher. Domingo would also like wireless meet thermometers for the right price. New sheets and additional coat hangers would also be nice.
Where I’m looking: Target most likely, Bed Bath and Beyond as a possibility. Target tends to have a spend $X get a coupon for $Y on your next visit promotion. They’re also where our original hangers come from, and no price will make up for them non-matching. I like our sheets from Bed Bath and Beyond, but in order to get the percentage off your whole order you need to be in store by noon and I’m not sure that will be doable.

Cell Phones. I’m not sure why this wasn’t on our last last year, but Domingo’s phone Badly needs to be upgraded. It’s five years old, and doesn’t always charge. Additionally the wireless antenna was knocked lose and sometimes it won’t connect to the internet. This is not a good phone for the parent who travels! He’s pretty flexible, so we’ll be looking for the best android deal we can fine. My phone may also be replaced for the right deal. I’m looking at the iPhone 8 to replace my three year old iPhone 6.
Where I’m looking: All over.

Other. Cheap movies for the kids, more board games for the kids, you know, the things that are always on our list.

In the Bull Pen. At some point a new printer would be nice. I’d like one that can spool requests even if the computer is turned off.


Addendum. We now have another thing to hunt for this Black Friday: A new DSLR camera. I’ve long since exceeded the expected shutter life on my camera, and every once in a while it’s behavior has been inconsistent. A few weekends ago I swear the camera autofocused after the shutter released, and this summer the light meter was ridiculously off when taking photos of the girls outside. These have been rare issues, usually only effecting one photo in a bunch, so I have so far been willing to over look them. Now the grip is starting to come detached.
Where I’m looking: NikonUSA. Last year they had a sale on the 7000 series line, $200 off a body. That was partly because the 7500 (the model I’m currently coveting) was due out this sprint, but even the newer models were $100 off. I’m hoping to get $100 of the 7500 this Black Friday.

Despite not having a list, Domingo and I decided to go out black Friday shopping. We went out Thursday after the kids had gone to bed for some hot cocoa and to enjoy the atmosphere, and then took the kids out on Friday when the kids’ cabin fever forced us out of the house, but rain kept us away from the parks.

Turkey, Shmurkey

We arrived at Target about 2 hours after it’s initial opening. It was crowded, but not over overwhelmingly so. While we were waiting in line for those hot chocolates we couldn’t help but notice how many families were sitting down with sandwiches, pizzas and pastas. The barista commented that in those two hours since opening they had already sold more sandwiches than they sell in a typical day. I know that an early dinner on Thanksgiving day is probably more typical than not, but it appeared as though a large group of people may have opted out of the traditional meal altogether and in to a quick dinner at target once their shopping was complete.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been thinking about the class divide of late, but I couldn’t help but wonder if skipping the meal was less about desire and more about necessity. Popular culture likes to caste black Friday as rampant consumption on luxury items that aren’t needed, but for people of limited means it’s sometimes black Friday or never. Surely one can make the use case that a laptop or computer is not necessary a luxury item in today’s digital world?

TVs in Threes

The hot item this year was clearly the 50″ and 55″ TVs. We saw person after person walking out with two or sometimes three large TVs. Apparently Target was selling 3,200 televisions per minute nationwide. If TVs are meant to be gifts, these shoppers are way more generous than I am. If they’re meant to be personal, I’m amazed at the size of the houses they must have. Domingo’s hypothesis was a spare TV for elderly parents.

TVs weren’t the only thing we saw bought in, for lack of a better word, bulk. We walked passed one couple that was dividing laptops between their two shopping carts to get around the “2 per person” limit. (Large family looking for laptops for the kids, maybe?)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve visited a store in person on Black Friday, but I was stunned by all I was witnessing.

The good news if you’re looking for a deal next year: 2 hours after opening, Target was still bringing out TVs and laptops in shifts. It didn’t appear that anyone who wanted one was going without.

We are Black Friday Small Potatoes

I did end up with the Costco laptop a month ago, otherwise I would have done the replacement with the same specs and saved myself another $150. Sigh. Can’t control when these things break, I guess.

We took advantage of the $4 and $6 sale of DVDs, as well as half priced board games for the kids. We also bought their winter wardrobe at 30% off.

Our biggest purchase was a new Keurig ($65). The cheap ($35) off brand one I bought over the summer was a huge waste. After a few months it broke and would spew water allover our counter top. It was under warranty but I still had to pay $10 shipping to replace it. The replacement only lasted a few weeks. Domingo didn’t feel like spending (wasting?) yet more money on coffee machines. I can understand that sentiment, but I know how much he enjoys his coffee and I feel like a little guilty being so often the beneficiary of our spending. Domingo is always way more willing to spend on money for extras for me (like my new lens, which was way more expensive). I put the Keurig in the shopping cart joking I wanted to take up coffee. Don’t worry, he saw right through me. I’ve never had a cup before in my life, and likely never will, but he is enjoying his daily cup.

We would have saved an additional $15 had I been able to figure out the cartwheel app in time. We got stuck in line behind a two college age kids buying three laptops and an ipad who were also opening a credit card to get an additional 5% discount. I used the time to download the app, but didn’t realize I had to select the relevant coupons. I am still miffed at myself about that.

There’s a part of me that misses the Black Fridays atmosphere. Domingo and I used to take our time going to the stores, meandering in mid-afternoon, and still get deals we were after. These days it’s a lot harder to get away to go to the store, and when we manage it we rarely get the deals were after. So this year we’re thinking of just staying in.

Domingo and I started thinking about our list and came up rather empty. We went through most of our home setup costs last year, so there really isn’t anything on that front. We could use another rug, I guess. Additional ornaments are always a possibility. The kid tree was pretty barren last year (not that they mind). I also still need a new laptop (I’ve been needing one since 2013), but Costco’s every day price on the one I like is pretty good. Mobile and tablet sales have been eating into laptop sales, driving the prices pretty far down. I’m just waiting for this one to kick the bucket first. It’s casing is cracked and it’s missing a screw, but still chugging along.

That’s the kind of stuff that’s always on our list. What’s new this year?

I need to get Alexis’ baby book printed. We’ll probably do MyPublisher again for that, since that’s who I used for Nicole’s baby book and I like to keep things ridiculously even. I looked through my email inbox and it looks like the best coupon I can hope for is 60(ish) off. Last year it came in October and just before Christmas. (Score one for team never-deletes-an-email.)

I also have two large frames I want filled. mpix is the only place I’ve found that can print to the right size. They currently have a 10% off coupon, but I’ve found a 25% off flyer in my mail box from September. I’ve also found a 25% off your entire order flyer. I haven’t been a customer long enough to have a long mailbox history with them, so I can’t predict when that sale will come back again. At least I know the kind of sale to target!

We’re pretty settled on the idea of Santa bringing Nicole a toy camera this year. We’re less clear what he’ll bring for Alexis. One of the joys of being the younger sibling is there are always tons of toys for your developmental stage. (One of the drawbacks is that finding those toys can be challenging!)

Looks like we’ll be spending this year in. Depending on how those printing coupons line up, we may pass on Black Friday all together.

November 29, 2015

Swing and a Miss

To say that was a bust is putting it mildly. We ended up with very few things on our list, and not for lack of trying.

On Tuesday we went to Target after the kids had gone to bed to take advantage of their Pajama day sale. Domingo got his peanuts themed pajama pants. I turned out to be a size xs (only because I’m short), which they didn’t have in stock in the color I wanted. No problem, I thought, I’ll buy online. Only they weren’t available online. When I tried to add them to my cart I got a “visit store to purchase” error message. The website happily told me they were in stock at both the Target I was just at, and another one not too far from us. It was wrong on both accounts.

We weren’t intending to go out on Black Friday, but I needed a few last minute items for Alexis’ party on Saturday, and we had managed to finish off the last of the bread before lunch. So off we trode. I was hopping to hit the $75 mark for the 20% off a future visit coupon. In order to get the coupon the $75 needed to be in a single transaction, either in store or online. We would have hit the mark, but the coffee maker Domingo wanted was out of stock at that target, despite the website claiming that, like the pjs, it too was in stock.

At this point I tracked down a sales associate and asked about the coffee pot. I showed her the mobile app on my phone listed the pot as in stock and asked if maybe it was misplaced or they had more in the back. She said more than likely they were out of stock and that website was just slow at keeping up with inventory. She checked their inventory system anyway. The website was in deed incorrect.

We came up $5 short that visit.

I found the coffee maker on Target’s website and tried desperately to find other items (those darn pjs again!) so we could hit the $75 mark. I searched for doll houses (Santa’s planned present to Nicole), ride-on toys (Santa’s planned present to Alexis), kids clothes, Christmas ornaments. The kids clothes also required me to “visit store to purchase”, but the ornaments were shown as “not available” online. I have no idea what the difference is between those two distinctions. Neither was available for store pick, regardless. As for the toys, they were full price and I knew I could do way better elsewhere. So I didn’t meet the $75 threshold that time either either.

Friday evening I went to Target, again, this time for a full grocery run. (4 person household + 4 house guests, we can go through groceries lighting fast.) I ended up $5 shy again. Normally at this point I would have grabbed a chicken breast to put in the freezer for a future dinner, but the customer behind me did not seem to be in a particularly patient mood so instead I grabbed a handful of candies from the check out line. Assuming we use the coupon on a $25 purchase, the candy will have paid for themselves.

I intended to go Christmas ornament shopping on Saturday, but at this point I had been to target a ridiculous number of times. I had visited the Christmas section to see what was available each visit and had very little faith that any one target would have the all the ornaments I wanted. If I wasn’t able to combine them into a single purchase I’d be out of luck. Again.

Basically I can sum up the first half of Black Friday experience as “Target dissapointed.”

The second disappointment was the cutting machine. After doing some research I realized the Silhouette brand of cutting machines matched my needs a little better than the Cricut brand. That was a hard realization as the circulars were showing better sales for Cricut machines. In the days leading up to the Thanksgiving, I had three opportunities to get a Black Friday deal on a Cricut machine while shopping in my PJs from my couch. Oh how I wanted that machine to be the one that would work for me.

Wednesday morning my sister and her husband came to town. With the house full of small kids and new house guests it wasn’t until 10pm I was finally had a chance to sit down to check email. That’s when I saw it, the email from 16 hours earlier. Amazon’s Deal of the Day: the Silhouette Cameo with the bonus started bundle. It was far better than any Black Friday deal for either machine I had seen so far. The best deal that I’ve seen ever on a cutting machine. My heart dropped. It was too late. They were sold out.

I was really bummed about missing that deal. Domingo tried to cheer me up. He assured me that he had seen Amazon repeat their deals of the day before. In his experience deals get recycled every three days or so. I set up an email alert so I would be ready, then started poking around the internet to confirm his observation. I stumbled upon a facebook conversation in a crafting forum I had never heard before. In the comments section someone mentioned that Jet beat Amazon’s Deal of the Day price. While the prices had gone up, Jet’s price was still significantly cheaper than Amazon’s current price, and only $4 more expensive than the Deal of the Day price. I’d rather pay the extra $4 than risk missing out again.

For those keeping track at home, of our wish list we only purchased pj bottoms for Domingo, a new coffee pot, and my cutting machine.

November 11, 2015

2015 Black Friday Prep

Today I did something I rarely like to do: I looked at Black Friday ads before solidifying my wish list. Usually I like to do those tasks in the opposite order to guard against being enticed my deals on items we don’t need or really want. But with November rapidly racing buy, I figured I best get started. As always, I’m hoping to spend as much of my shopping time from the warmth of the couch.

Here’s my list:

New PJs. It may sound silly, but hey, if I can get them on sale, why not? My current set of “PJs” consists of a over-sized free t-shirt and a pair of maternity sweat pants. The only reason I’m wearing the maternity pants is because my last pair of the non maternity pair got a little too thread bare to be considered decent, even for home use. I’m ready to retire my free t-shirt collection in general, starting with a pair of actual PJs. This pair from Gilligan O’Mailey is super soft. Domingo likes character sleep pants, but his last pair did not survive the wash.

Target’s black friday sale includes 40% off all apparel. Target’s been having a number of sales lately, and typically has a fairly large one the three days before Thanksgiving that usually includes apparel. I plan to keep my eyes opened. 40% off is the price to beat.

Ornaments. We’re going from one to three trees this year, two more than past years, which means we’ll need a ton more ornaments. I’m torn between my desire to save, and my desire to set up the trees Thursday night per tradition. I’ll probably try and split the difference: get enough ornaments ahead of time that it makes sense to put the trees up, and get the rest during sales.

On Saturday Target is having a “spend $100, save $50” deal on Christmas decor. So far Target’s been the best place I’ve found nice, durable, inexpensive ornaments for the kid’s trees. These tin balls are pretty great. Like most of the cheaper ornaments on Target, they’re not available online, either to ship or for store pick up. I prefer to do my shopping from the couch, if possible. I am not one to stand in line for the doors to open, and I’d worry the selection will be pretty picked through by the time I make it to the store.

Board Games. For as long as I can remember, $5 board games have been a staple black Friday door buster. I’m hoping to stock up on the classics: Sorry!, Trouble, Chutes and Ladders. They’re suspiciously absent from Target’s flyer, but they’re on Walmart’s. What’s not clear is whether I need to go to the store.

New Phone for Domingo. Domingo and I have gotten to the point where our contract is up on alternating Black Fridays. This is Domingo’s year for a new phone. In the past we waited until the phone died – a mistake that cost us $200!

We’ve seen at least one flyer listing the phone he wants for just a penny for Black Friday, a good $300 cheaper than we could get right now. I’d say it’s not worth the weight! This one I’m confident we could get online from Amazon.

New computer. Both my computers are showing their age. My primary work machine can no longer hold a charge, and constantly loses the wifi connection – both not so useful traits when you’re starting your own company! Two black friday’s (technically Cyber Monday) ago I went for a special buy laptop that was more expensive hoping it would last longer. It did not. This year I plan on buying the cheapest computer which meets the specs I need.

I haven’t done any research on this front. Truth be told I’m dreading the process.

Dollhouse. Nicole’s present from Santa this year is going to be a doll house. She fell in love with my sister’s old Playskool Dollhouse when we visited last labor day, so we’re in the market for something similar.

I liked Babies’ R Us’ You & Me Happy Together, as it reminded me a lot of the PlaySkool house, but the reviews were pretty terrible.

Cricut. Cutting machines are another staple of Black Friday that I always assumed I would get one day. When we moved I had all sorts of ideas for vinyl wall decals. Now that I’m finally ready to pull the trigger on a cutting machine, they are absent from those black friday ads! Argh. File this one in the maybe, but not likely category.

As predicted, I did not wait to purchase the new iPhone. I cannot wait to try out the camera! We did get a pleasant surprise on the deal. It turns out Verizon (our current carrier) is offering a $200 trade in for an iPhone 4s with the purchase of an iPhone 6. That’s roughly 4 times what an iPhone 4s is worth! Since I was planning on renewing with Verizon anyway, it’s a pretty sweet deal. This is the second time I’ve had a phone actually worth something when I’ve upgrading. It’s pretty nice to be able to get a little cash back. I love my “free” money! Now if only Verizon would do away with those lame upgrade fees.

Incidentally, it’s becoming obvious just how critical good timing is to get good deals. That phone that Domingo got last black Friday for a penny now retails for $200! I’m very happy Domingo and I are now on the ‘holiday’ schedule for renewals.

We also came up with another idea for this year’s dinky Black Friday list: Santa will be getting Nicki a leap frog tablet. The tablets are geared for ages 3 and up and she’ll be just shy of 2 & 1/2. Like the play kitchen, though, I suspect she’ll manage to get some use out of it early. She’s already pretty good with my phone. We’re also planning a couple trips back East closer to when she’s three and I have friends who swear by the leap frog to keep kids entertained on long plane flights. From what I can tell, it’s a good bet this toy will come on sale.

We also briefly considered a toy camera. Nicki loves my camera. Most of the time she loves being in front of the camera, but I’ve let her press the remote button during more than a few family photos. Now whenever I get out the remote she wants to push the button! She’s always chanting “cheese!” and “more photos!”. The big issue (besides her being on the young side of recommended age range) is most toy cameras seem too toy and not enough camera. I don’t see that holding her interest as much, so we’re going to wait until she’s older.

There’s a part of me that misses our old Black Friday ritual of sleeping in, visiting the stores during the afternoon lull, the hot chocolates and fun decorations. Sure, shopping from the couch in my PJs is easier (and more effective!). Still I can’t help but think this would be a good year to go out, since we don’t have much of a list. Like last year I could be done shopping before the turkey comes out of the oven. My parents will be in town for the holiday and to spend time with Nicki. Maybe if Ziggy decides to come late Domingo and I will go out for a little bit.

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