Remember when Black Friday was fun and didn’t mean risking life and/or limbs? Maybe not, but somewhere around 15-20 years that was truly the case. I remember shopping with my mother to get an eMachines computer with her. There was still crowd back then, but everyone got most of their deals.
Damn I’m old!
Over the last several years, I’ve instituted the no-hassle Black Friday plan. The idea is to avoid the Best Buys and the Wal-Marts and focus on the easy wins. The closest I come to any of those stores is Staples. That’s because state laws prevent them from opening on Thanksgiving and there’s one close to me. I can usually stay up until midnight and be one of the few people there.
Unfortunately, Staples doesn’t have too many deals that are exciting to me. Others may find a few nice laptop choices, a great Dell monitor or two, and an 8TB hard drive for $150. The hard drive is tempting, but I’m going to try to get by longer with what I have. If I can get by another year, it will probably be $99 next Black Friday.
There are two items that I’m saving for Friday’s article. You’ll have to check back then to find out why.
So here’s what I’m looking at this year:
Note: Some of these links may pay me a small commission if you decide to buy from them. It won’t change your price though.
CNET lies and calls this the best tablet deal in history. The truth is that the HP TouchPad for $99 liquidation was the best tablet deal in history. This is still a great deal. I have a 8″ Fire that went largely unused until recently. I pulled it out because I realized Amazon had Scratch Jr. in their Appplication HeadquarterWarehousePlaceOfPurchasing.
How good is it? Here’s CNET’s review.
I will spend another $50 to get the bargain Windows laptop deal below instead. This is based on my situation of being able to take advantage of the military-only deal and already having a Fire Tablet. Most people aren’t in my unique situation and might want to consider this.
Powerful Laptop Deal (Intel 8th Generation)
I’m finding a ton of laptop deals this holiday season. I’m going to highlight a couple as examples. There’s no need to bust any doors for the deals I’m seeing.
My Dell XPS with 4GB of memory is probably going to revolt by not letting me post this article. A little more than two years ago, I bought had some buyers remorse for only getting 4GB of memory. The store didn’t stock the 8GB version and it would have been a lot more money, because they bundled it with a larger hard drive. I didn’t want to wait for days or pay an additional hefty fee for overnight shipping.
I spent $800 on what I considered the best available option during my time of need.
Today, for the same $800, this Lenovo IdeaPad is a stacked 14″ ultraportable laptop. You get the new 8th generation i7-8550U processor (Passmark 8016). As Laptop Mag’s review noted, “If you’re shopping for a laptop and there’s a model with 8th Gen Core available in your price range, you should definitely prioritize it.” I’m not a gamer, but there is a dedicated graphics card too and all the latest ports (including Thunderbolt). The rest of the laptop is solid with 8GB of memory, a full HD screen, and a very fast solid state hard drive (SSD).
Similarly, this 15″ HP ENVY x360 can be configured to be around the same price with a little more memory, at a little more size and weight. I’ve grown accustomed to the lightweight laptops, so the Lenovo above is more interesting to me. My wife, on the other hand, really likes numeric keypads, so this would be a better fit for her (but extreme overkill for what she does).
We all know technology moves quickly, but either one is a tempting upgrade. I’d be upgrading from a 5th generation Core i5-5200U (3497 Passmark), that lousy 4GB memory, and a tiny 128GB SSD. That’s doubling or more in all those key areas. (I’m sure the SSD is much faster.)
I’m going to try to resist and wait for the next cycle. However, if you are in the market for a new laptop, I’d jump on these now. I think prices will only go up after the holiday season before they float back down throughout 2018.
I haven’t written about MoviePass yet, but it’s gotten a lot of buzz elsewhere.
MoviePass is an all-you-can watch cinema plan. When it was getting its buzz a couple of months ago, it was $10/mo. for unlimited movies per month (well limited to one per day). So if you wanted to live at the movie theater you could get your cost down to under a dollar.
Their deal now is $90 for an annual pass. That’s ~$7 a month, plus a small processing fee. So if you can see yourself going once a month (or more knowing that it’s essentially free), then this is a good deal.
I’m considering it, but I’m not sure if I have the time to take in a bunch of movies.
Old Navy For Jeans
(This is the most boring item, trust me.)
Old Navy is starting their Black Friday on Colorless Wednesday.
Their jeans are 50% off. I need to replenish my jeans. Sure, the jeans at Old Navy seem to only last a couple of years, but for around $20 I can live with that.
Kohl’s Technology Deals
Kohl’s has some great technology deals. Yes, it is the typical door buster routine, but are people really busting down Kohl’s doors? I’m surprised the place is still in business. Besides the great prices on many top items, you also get $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend. It should be called Kohl’s Kash, because it isn’t real money and can only be spent during a limited time in the future. As CNET’s Cheapskate points out: “[The Fitbit Blaze will] be priced at $150, which isn’t extraordinary — it was $140 on Prime Day — but it comes with $45 in Kohl’s Cash.”
So, presuming that you can find a use for $45 at Kohl’s (which I always can), it is like a $105 Fitbit Blaze.
The Kohl’s Cash is for all items in the store not just a few door busters. So as long as you find some things you like, it’s almost like getting an additional 30% off. (Not really, but kinda, right?)
RiteAid – Yes RiteAid
RiteAid has buy one get one free for “As Seen on TV” items. We’re looking at Snuggie Tails for the kids as well as the Magic Tracks. They also have a buy one, get two cereal deal. That may be interesting if they don’t jack up the prices to $5 a box (which they probably will).
These are the kinds of deals I like. I don’t expect a lot of people to be waiting forming a line to pick up these deals.
In other news, I’m thinking of including the “As Seen on TV” logo on Lazy Man and Money. I’ve looked at my website on my TV connected to a computer through an HDMI cable. If everyone else does misleading marketing I can too, right?
Military Bargain Laptop Deal
The Navy base near me is posting a special $148 Asus 14″ Intel Apollo 32GB Notebook. That’s so vague that it could be worth anywhere between $100 or $350 depending on the missing information. It also says it is a savings of $72. I did a little sleuthing and I think it is an Asus R417NA-RS01-BL which just rolls off the tongue. Some of that missing information would be Intel Celeron N3350, 32GB storage, 4GB memory. NewEgg sells it for $242 and the reviews are good (and helpful)!
I have two main uses for this Asus:
1. The main use will be for my kids to play with ABC Mouse, PBS Kids, and Scratch Jr. This is much better than giving them Daddy’s computer.
2. In a pinch, it could be Daddy’s computer. Two and a half years ago, I was able to work on $100 computer that was less powerful than this. It was an emergency situation and it wasn’t great, but it did the job.
It’s worth noting that the 4GB of memory in this computer is the same as what I have in my Dell XPS right now. Yes, I’m very bitter.
I want to wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving. I won’t bore you by being another blogger giving thanks for family, friends, and health, even though it’s all true.
Instead, I’d like to give a special thanks. I’d like to thank the lawyers who have helped me serve you. Over the last 11 years, there have been more than 11 million of you. When a company, in my opinion, isn’t operating in a way that serves you the consumer, I have called them out on it. I’ve never seen a company care unless Google’s algorithm decides my criticism is important for you to read. When that happens the lawsuits come because these companies are just protecting their reputation.
So I’d like to give thanks to Blish and Cavangh for representing me on writing my RainSoft Review on my family’s opinion of our personal experience. The case is still on-going, so I won’t comment on it.
Similarly, I’d like to give thanks to Mateo Fowler who stood up for me and my opinion of Le-Vel Thrive. We won as the courts ruled (by my understanding) that it was too frivolous to even be considered. The court even sanctioned Le-Vel for their actions.
We’re finally winning the war against MLM as more and more law firms are realizing that the courts have ruled that these are pyramid schemes time and time again. There are some MLMs that have been sued several times this year.