Black Friday used to fall on one day of the year. Shoppers would camp outside of stores, eagerly awaiting the chance to bust down some doors and save a ton of cash. Times have changed and Black Friday has creeped into a full week of presale ... sales. Deals live on past Black Friday too, with newer days like Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday) and Free Shipping Day. It can all get very overwhelming. We're here to help.

How can you tell if a deal is worth your time and money? When do sales start? Do you have to shop in-store? Read on, and we'll help you get informed so that you can conquer the holiday shopping season.

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Wait, when is Black Friday?

When do Black Friday sales start?

They've already started! Early deals are available now, and each year they tend to begin a week or two before Black Friday arrives—with a few kicking off November 1.

Most of the official sales start on Thanksgiving, though some specific deals and doorbusters may start on Friday, usually at midnight. A handful of stores detail exact start times, while others just give a planned day. I, Louryn, have been Black Friday shopping for more than 15 years, and I recommend checking for online sales starting around midnight Eastern Time on Thanksgiving. WIRED will cover the major sales as they go live.

These are WIRED's Favorite Early Black Friday Deals online

Can you get Black Friday deals online?

Yes, you can. We exclusively cover online deals here at WIRED because, well, the majority of Black Friday deals are available on the web. The best deals don't stick around for too long, so it's a good idea to pay attention to our coverage and your favorite store's sale pages. Making a list of what you want to buy ahead of time can help you keep a clear head when it's time to start shopping.

What stores will have Black Friday deals?

Nearly all of them. There are the obvious stores, like Walmart and Best Buy, but chances are every other store that you like to shop at will have some sort of sale. Think clothing, shoes, books, health and beauty items, fitness specialty stores, and the like. There might even be promotions going on at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. When in doubt, visit a retailer's website. Usually, Black Friday sales are highlighted loud and proud on the homepage.

Here are a few early Black Friday sales pages from major retailers:

Is Black Friday worth it?

TL;DR: Usually.

Long answer: The majority of the time, Black Friday deals are the best we see all year, and they set the precedent for what dictates a good deal for the following months.

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