Sure, you can find lots of things on sale over the long Thanksgiving weekend, the traditional start to holiday shopping. But some deals are significantly better than others. To help ensure that you home in on the best bargains this year, we asked BFAds.net founder Michael Brim for his top picks for big-ticket doorbusters, pricey items that are deeply discounted but in limited supply.
Brim, who spends his days monitoring items that retailers plan to mark down and posting the details on his Web site, pinpointed several deals that will be hard to beat. This year, most will be available on Thanksgiving -- rather than Black Friday -- and will be offered in retailers' brick-and-mortar stores (unless otherwise noted). Some deals that kick off Thursday could still be around on Black Friday, if supplies last, but don't count on it. Shoppers should also check retailers' Web sites the day of the sales to see if they are offering any of their doorbusters unannounced online. Here are Brim's favorite doorbuster deals, in order of when they go on sale.
Dell Inspiron 15z Touchscreen Laptop -- $400 at MicrosoftStore.com. Although not technically a doorbuster deal because it's offered online, the markdown on this 15.6-laptop with 6 gigabytes of memory and an Intel Core processor is dramatic because it regularly sells for $849. The sale starts Wednesday at midnight.
LG 55-inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV -- $499.99 at Best Buy. This big-screen TV is being marked down 50% from its original price of $1,000. Best Buy will be handing out tickets to customers who want this item (and other doorbuster deals) outside its stores two hours before they open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Amazon 7-inch Kindle Fire 16GB HD Tablet -- $99.99 at Best Buy. Although this isn't the newest version of the Kindle, it's still a great deal considering that it's 50% off the regular price of $199.99. It will be part of Best Buy's Thanksgiving sale starting at 6 p.m.
Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi Tablet -- $299 at Best Buy. This iPad actually is marked down $100 from its original price of $399.99 and will be one of Best Buy's doorbuster deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Xbox 360 4GB Console -- $99 at Walmart. Your kids may be clamoring for the new Xbox One, but you'll like the price on the Xbox 360 at Walmart much more. It's $80 off its regular price of $179 and $400 less than the Xbox One. It will be on sale from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Funai 32-inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV -- $98 at Walmart. Sure, it's not a name brand, but you won't find a cheaper 32-inch TV. This set will be on sale from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving and is a guaranteed in-stock item. If it sells out during the hour it's on sale, Walmart will offer customers in the store vouchers to buy it at the discounted price and pick it up when it ships to the store.
Apple iPad Mini 16GB WiFi Tablet with Walmart $100 Gift Card -- $299 at Walmart. The gift card with purchase essentially means you'll get a $100 discount. It's one of Walmart's doorbuster deals from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Element 50-inch 1080p 60 Hz LED HDTV -- $229 at Target. A price so low on a TV with these specifications is unheard of, Brim says. It usually sells for $600. Target's sale starts at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving. Online shoppers can find the same deal at Amazon.com on a similar TV: the Seiki 50-inch 1080p LED HDTV for $230 (regularly $600). These TVs won't be as feature-filled as name-brand TVs. But Brim says that televisions, in general, have become so robust that even off-brand sets should satisfy most consumers and will last as long as name-brand TVs.
Apple iPad Air 16GB WiFi Tablet with Target $100 Gift Card -- $479 at Target. The markdown on this newly released iPad is only about $20, but the $100 gift card sweetens the deal. It's part of Target's 8 p.m. Thanksgiving sale.
Apple iPhone 5C with Walmart $75 Gift Card -- $45 at Walmart. You'll need to sign up for a two-year service agreement to take advantage of this deal, which not only offers a $35 discount on the phone but a $75 gift card that can offset the cost of your other holiday gifts. It's part of Walmart's sale that starts at 8 a.m. on Friday.
SanDisk 32 GB Cruzer USB Flash Drive -- $7.99 at RadioShack. It's not as enticing as a big-screen TV, says Brim, but these flash drives can retail for as much as $49.99 (currently $24.99 at Amazon). Most RadioShack locations are scheduled to open at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.
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- Michael Brim