The Best Seasonal Sales That Aren’t Black Friday

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With holiday shopping expected to be epic this year, consumers are getting an early start. New research by the NPD Group found that 51% of Americans intend to start their 2021 holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. Of that 51%, more than two-thirds will start shopping in October or sooner.  

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To meet growing consumer demand for early shopping, some retailers have already unveiled Black Friday-esque type sales. 

“For instance, Target’s Deal Days, which usually precedes Black Friday by a few days to a week, ran from October 10-12 this year,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews. “In the same way, Amazon has already populated its Black Friday page with deals, even though Black Friday is still a month away.”

With holiday shopping fever going strong, retailers are going full speed in dropping new deals. Here’s a look at some of the best seasonal sales that aren’t directly tied to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  

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Walmart Deals for Days

“Last year, Walmart started its Black Friday celebration early in November and after the success in 2020, they’re doing it again in 2021,” Ramhold said. “The first round is set to begin on November 3, while the second will start on November 10. In both cases, sales will begin at 7 pm ET, although Walmart+ members will get early access from 3 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET on the start dates. The first sale will have deals available in store beginning November 5, while the second will have deals available in store starting on November 12.”

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Amazon Early Black Friday Deals

“Amazon has already populated its Black Friday page with deals, and they’re updated on a daily basis,” Ramhold said. “There’s no guarantee these are ‘true’ Black Friday prices, but they’re definitely worth checking out if you’re starting your shopping now.”

Budgeting expert Andrea Woroch notes that Amazon is hosting a new sale called “Holiday Beauty Haul” from October 4-25. 

“This is a great time to pick up beauty gifts for less — including everything from fragrance to haircare and skincare to makeup,” Woroch said. 

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Fall Clothing Clearance Sales

“Clothing brands will be clearing out those back-to-school looks to make room for winter apparel, but fall clothing like sweaters and denim jackets make great holiday gifts, so take advantage of these deals now and check a few items off your holiday shopping list early,” Woroch said. “Just don’t assume the sale price is the best price, as you can find coupons to stretch the discount further. Search for coupons by store name at sites like CouponFollow.com.”

Macy’s Diamond Bonus Buy

“Macy’s is offering a pair of Diamond Star Stud Earrings (1/10 ct. t.w.) in sterling silver, valued at $200, for just $24.99 with a qualifying purchase,” Woroch said. “Considering many items are on fall clearance at low prices, you can get two gifts at a great [price] right now.”

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Lenovo Sneak Peek

“[Lenovo] is offering up to 66% off and has doorbuster deals to shop as well during this time,” Ramhold said. “This sale runs until November 1 and covers a wide variety of products including laptops, accessories like mice, webcams and headphones, and even all-in-one systems.”

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Veterans Day Sales

“Probably the next big shopping holiday before Black Friday itself will be Veterans Day,” Ramhold said. “However, because of retailers encouraging consumers to shop early, some of these sales may be branded as early Black Friday sales. These aren’t usually very strong sales, but select retailers should have discounts anywhere from 20% to 50% off. Some could go even higher; last year, eBay took up to 80% off while Kohl’s specifically knocked up to 70% off select shoes.”

RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day

“RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day is coming up quickly on Nov. 4 and 5, and shoppers can score up to 20% cash back at hundreds of favorite retailers, on everything from electronics to clothing to home goods and more,” said Kristin McGrath, an expert at RetailMeNot. “The savings event offers a full 48 hours of exclusive cash back offers and, in years past, has included iconic retailers like Adidas, Amazon, American Eagle, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Expedia, Express, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Melissa & Doug, Postmates and Ugg. Last year, Cash Back Day shoppers earned an average of $18 back per purchase.”

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Bed Bath and Beyond’s Anniversary Sale

“Bed Bath and Beyond is running their Golden Anniversary Sale right now (they’ve been around for 50 years!), and they’re celebrating by giving you their top deals with up to 50% off coveted products,” McGrath said. “Shop kitchen deals, like 50% off select Crux appliances, George Foreman electric grills and Our Table Dutch ovens. You can also save 20% on select Keurig K-cup pods and get $50 in rewards for every $200 you spend in-store or online.”

Keep In the Know About Future Sales

Since retailers are constantly launching new sales, it’s key to stay in the know. 

“One of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss out on important savings events for the holiday season is to sign up for email alerts and phone notifications from your favorite stores,” said Lisa Thompson, savings expert at Coupons.com “You don’t know what you don’t know, right? Like, when a store will have a ‘Friends & Family’ sale or offer a BOGO deal. It’s also a good idea to follow your favorite brands on social media so you don’t miss out on deals exclusively announced on those platforms.”

Thompson provided the following pro tip: “Before you tap ‘Purchase,’ look for a coupon or promo code. Every. Single. Time,” she said. “It’s potentially free money waiting to happen, and many stores allow you to stack coupon codes.”

Tips: How To Shop For Everyone on a Tight Holiday Budget 

Be Mindful Of Store Policies — It Could Save You Money

“Pay attention to store policies,” Woroch said. “Target’s New Holiday Price Match Guarantee says that starting October 10, any item you purchase from Target qualifies for a price adjustment in the event the Target price drops before or on December 24. This new policy takes the guesswork out of trying to time your purchase to get the lowest price so you can shop early.”

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    Last updated: Oct. 25, 2021

    About the Author

    Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.

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