Good Question: Is Black Friday Worth It?

Published On: Sep 12 2011 11:37:56 AM PDT   Updated On: Nov 22 2010 07:15:28 AM PST

We're just a few days now from one of the biggest holidays of the year! We're not talking about Thanksgiving; we mean Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year. But, before you brave the early morning crowds, we ask: is Black Friday worth it?

The crush of the crowd, for many, is hard to resist. With a tradition that has almost overtaken the major holiday that precedes it, millions of Americans are getting their shopping lists ready for the big day. A couple of guys in Arizona started camping out Monday outside a Best Buy store, with visions of Black Friday deals dancing in their heads. The National Retail Federation says 60 million people plan to hit the stores bright and early Friday morning, enticed by deals galore. Another 78 million say they will probably shop Friday, but are waiting to see if the deals are worth it.

This year, Wal Mart is offering a 14 megapixel Kodak camera for $59. Cabela's has North Face pullovers for $50. And, Best Buy has an LG Blu-Ray Player for $109 - $50 cheaper than if you bought it today. Great deals, for sure... but, are they worth getting up early for? It depends. If there's an item you really want that's on sale, set that alarm clock. But, you should know that these probably aren't the lowest prices of the season. Retailers will see how well sales go this all-important weekend, then mark items down between now and Christmas.

It's also important to note, these days waiting until Black Friday isn't necessary. The website Gottadeal.com has a list of Black Friday items and when they go on sale. Many, you can get online on Thanksgiving and not worry about getting up early. Some retailers are doing even better. Amazon.com has a whole week of Black Friday deals, starting Monday.

Remember, the reason people camp out and rush into stores Black Friday morning is that the very best deals are available in limited supply. That great deal on a TV? There may only be three in the store at that price. So, if you really want it, you may have to camp out to get it.

While the deals may be around long after the Black Friday rush, what makes Black Friday fun is the experience of getting up early, surrounded by thousands of your closest friends. You may also be able to get gifts wrapped while you're still eating turkey sandwiches. But, if it's money you're trying to save, you may be better off in your jammies Thanksgiving night while the rest of us are sleeping off the turkey coma.