What you need to know before shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday

Black Friday shoppers enter Kohl’s in D’Iberville in November 2015.
Black Friday shoppers enter Kohl’s in D’Iberville in November 2015. File

Some South Mississippians will leave their homes on Thanksgiving before the turkey, stuffing and sweet potato casserole has even settled — in the name of Black Friday deals.

Though some shopping centers such as Edgewater Mall in Biloxi have opted to close so employees can spend the holiday with loved ones, others will be open Thursday night. They’re hoping shoppers will come early to take advantage of super savings that come around only once every year.

Over the years, the Sun Herald has found hundreds of people waiting in line Thanksgiving night at big-box stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy to grab the year’s hottest deals.

Best savings at JC Penney

The mall may not reopen until Friday, but chain department stores can still open on Thanksgiving Day, and JC Penney will welcome customers at 3 p.m. Wallet Hub says JC Penney, along with Macy’s and Stage, are offering the best Black Friday savings for 2016.

Looking for jewelry for a loved one? JC Penney is selling diamond earrings for $20 a pair. Buying holiday gifts for a new homeowner or millennial looking to cook on their own? The department store also has a lot of deals on kitchen items, including a $10 Pyrex bowl set and 12-piece Cuisinart knife set for $14.99.

Electronics always popular

Wal-Mart’s Black Friday circular promotes a $99 iPhone 5 and major savings on flat-screen TVs. Shoppers also will find tablets, laptops and an iPad 2 for under $200. Select video games that usually cost nearly $60 can be purchased for $27. The online shopping starts at midnight Thursday, but the in-store deals start at 6 p.m., so shoppers may want to eat dinner early.

Sam’s Club wants shoppers to bring the whole family to get in on their Black Friday deal. Aside from deals on electronics such as a Nikon DSLR camera bundle for $499, the store is offering a special family pizza box at its deli that includes breadsticks, cookies and soft drinks.

Best Buy in Gulfport and D’Iberville will open their doors at 5 p.m. Thursday with loads of deals on electronics. Shoppers who buy a Samsung Galaxy 7 or Galaxy S7 Edge and an an activation plan will receive a free phone and $250 Best Buy gift card. There’s a slew of TVs on sale and deals on laptops, cameras and video games. Looking to buy a MacBook laptop? The 13.3-inch MacBook Air will be on sale for $799 Thursday. It normally retails for $1,000.

Plan your stops

Hardcore Black Friday savings enthusiasts agree it’s best to have a plan of attack.

If you intend to hit more than one store, the 70 shops at Gulfport Premium Outlets will be offering tons of sales Thursday night.

Many outlet stores are already offering fall savings, and Black Friday deals will sweeten the deals for shoppers looking for clothing, shoes and other items. Gulfport Premium Outlets will be open from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to 2 a.m. Friday. The center will reopen at 6 a.m. Friday and stay open until 10 p.m.

So which stores have the best deals, and which will give you the most bang for your buck? That really depends on your shopping list and how long you’re willing to wait in line. Pick up a Sun Herald newspaper Thursday morning to see all of the local deals at big-box stores. It’s our biggest paper of the year.

To check out in-store and online Black Friday deals from other big chain stores in South Mississippi such as Belk, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears and Kohl’s, check out Wallet Hub’s website.

Tips, and good karma

Before leaving family, food and football Thursday, make sure to check Amazon’s website. Wallet Hub reports 17 percent of Black Friday deals will be more expensive at the stores than on Amazon.

Several stores are recycling some deals from last year.

Kohl’s is offering a Dyson vacuum for $499, the same price the retailer sold it on Black Friday last year, according to Wallet Hub. A bronze patio heater from Sam’s Club is $9 cheaper this year, and Target is offering a Ninja Professional Kitchen System for $129, the same price as last year.

One of the best tips from Wallet Hub comes for the gamers in your family. Video game deals will offer the best savings of Black Friday 2016.

If you prefer to support local businesses, don’t forget Saturday is Shop Small Saturday. Find products and gifts made only in South Mississippi at the Sun Herald’s online listing.

And remember: For good karma, drop off a toy or buy a couple of gifts for the less fortunate when you’re out shopping on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @Journalism_J