For most of my twenties, I didn’t have a TV.
Me and my long-time girlfriend huddled over a laptop and watched Netflix as we ate dinner.
We did this for YEARS.
When I finally got a TV, I realized I should have gotten one way earlier. While I typically prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things, a TV made a huge difference in my daily quality of life.
TV technology has rapidly advanced in the last few years too. It’s now possible to get a crazy good TV for $300-$500.
And if you buy during the right time of year, you can get a massive discount on the latest models. Here’s the best times to buy a TV during the year.
The Best Times of the Year to Purchase a TV
1: Black Friday
With Black Friday being the biggest shopping day of the entire year for all items, it’s a natural place to start our list. TVs are one of the most popular items to receive massive discounts from retailers. They’re often used to entice shoppers to visit in person or online, according to Consumer Reports, hoping to sell additional items.
Understand that manufacturers often limit quantities on Black Friday and only offer certain TVs at discounts of 20% to 50%. Do your homework to find the best deal for the TV size and model you want. Then be prepared to stand in line with (and possibly wrestle with) other bargain hunters. Since TVs are so popular on Black Friday, you’ll have to beat other shoppers to them.
2: Cyber Monday
If you prefer to purchase a TV online, Cyber Monday is made for you.
Cyber Monday’s popularity continues to grow, setting records year after year, according to Forbes. Retailers respond by offering many items, including TVs, at big discounts. Again, like Black Friday, retailers only discount certain models and they may limit quantities. But you should find some TVs at discounts of 20% to 50%.
It’s not a bad idea to figure out the exact hour that Cyber Monday deals go live for your retailer. You can also use tricks like making sure your account and payment info is ready to go to speed up checkout. Also try adding the TV that you want to your cart ahead of time. And if the deals go live in the middle of the night, set your alarm. The really great deals don’t last long.
3: Late January/Early February (Super Bowl)
A common reason people like to upgrade to a bigger TV is to watch the Super Bowl in early February. Retailers take advantage of this by offering discounts on televisions, especially those with large screen sizes, in the week or two leading up to the Super Bowl.
Discounts may range from 10% to 30% in this time frame. If you’re looking for a small size TV, though, these sales are not made for you. After all, the Super Bowl is all about big food, big commercials, big football players, and big TVs.
4: Amazon Prime Day
If Amazon is your go-to retailer for any item, shopping for a TV on Amazon Prime Day is the way to go. The giant online retailer delivers amazing deals on a variety of products for roughly 36 hours in mid-July for subscribers to its Prime service. Some of these deals will apply to TVs.
Amazon Prime Day has become so big that competitors like Walmart and Best Buy also offer their own online deals on those days, holding what amounts to an anti-Prime Day sale.
You can expect to save 10% to 40% on certain TV models during the Amazon Prime Day time frame, whether you’re shopping at Amazon or one of its competitors.
5: Mid-to-Late August
Back-to-school shoppers may commonly focus on lunchboxes, pencils, new shoes, and glue sticks, but you can find TV deals at this time of the year too.
This may be the best time of the year to buy a TV with a smaller screen size, as retailers focus on televisions that will work well in a dorm room or bedroom. Savings aren’t as good as other times of the year, but you can save 10% to 25% with the right model.
6: Early Spring
In the early spring, television manufacturers begin selling the new TV models that they introduced at trade shows (like CES in early January). Unfortunately, the new cutting-edge models are extremely expensive.
This creates an opportunity for two types of people.
If you’re the type of person that needs the absolute latest gadget and has the budget to support it, this is when you want to buy your TV. You’ll get the latest models and newest tech before anyone else does.
If you’d rather get a TV at a great discount, look for last year’s models during this time. You’ll find discounts anywhere from 10% to 75% as retailers offload old inventory.
7: Dec. 26 to Dec. 31
Immediately after Christmas, some good TV deals exist. You may find some “open box” TVs that people have returned after the holidays, giving you a nice savings of 25% to 50% over a new model.
However, because people are looking to spend holiday cash and gift cards at this time of the year, retailers typically do not offer as many TV bargain deals as you might think. They’ll try to charge full price instead, taking advantage of the cash burning holes in shoppers’ pockets.
When NOT to Buy a TV
Although there are quite a few great times to buy a TV throughout the year, the opposite is true as well. There are certain times when you should not buy a TV:
- After an event: Retailers that offer bargains and discounts leading up to an event like the Super Bowl will return to normal prices after the event. As we mentioned earlier, don’t expect to find many bargains on new TVs immediately after Christmas, either.
- Without doing your homework: Don’t assume that the first sale price you see on a TV during Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day is automatically the best sale price. Some retailers may take advantage of the idea that these are the days shoppers expect to find good bargains. So they create a “sale” price that isn’t all that much of a bargain. Check the price at a few different places to make sure you’re receiving a good deal.
- October and Early November: Thanksgiving kicks off one of the biggest discount seasons of the year. There’s absolutely no reason to buy a TV before late November since the odds of being able to get a discount are quite high. If you want a new TV, figure out the model that you want and then wait to see if there’s a discount during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
What to Check for Before Buying a TV
Before you purchase a TV, you do need to understand a few things. For example, you should study the jargon used in television specifications, so you understand what you’re buying. Here are some quick tips to follow before buying a television.
- Look for 4K: Most TV shows currently use HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels). To future-proof your purchase, pick a TV with a 4K maximum display resolution (3840×2160). You probably don’t need to spend extra money for 6K or 8K TVs just yet, though.
- Get HDR: HDR is a type of technology that you will want in your new TV. HDR, short for high dynamic range, delivers more realistic colors than TVs without HDR.
- Check Dimensions: A manufacturer measures screen size on a television from one corner to the opposite corner. The television’s dimensions are different than its screen size. Even though several TVs have the same screen size, they won’t all have the same dimensions. This means you could end up with a TV that doesn’t fit your space. Pay attention to dimensions, not screen size.
- Decide if You Want a Smart TV: A smart TV is simply one that can connect to the Internet and use apps to access content. It’s like having a Roku or Apple TV built-in. Keep in mind that the interface won’t be as high quality, you can get bombarded with ads, and some TVs sell your viewing data. For my, I ignore Smart TVs and use my Roku instead.
- Know Your TV Types: LCD, or liquid crystal display, is the most common display technology in a TV screen. An LED TV refers to one that uses LED backlighting behind the LCD screen. A full-array LED is better than an edge LED design. An OLED TV uses organic LEDs as the backlight, lighting individual pixels to create better picture quality than an LED TV. Other acronyms, like QLED, are marketing terms certain manufacturers use, but they don’t represent a new display technology.
- Get a TV with the VESA Standard: Most of us install TVs with wall mounts these days. As long as the TV and the mounting bracket you pick both are compatible with the VESA standard, they should work together.
Pay less attention to specifications like contrast ratio or refresh rate. These items were important several years ago, but nearly all modern TVs are strong performers in these areas.
Have a Plan in Place
Ultimately, a TV is a major purchase, so receiving a good deal will save you quite a bit of money. This makes it worth your time to shop around a bit to find the best model at the best price. It’s one of the purchases where it does make sense to hunt for a discount.
Because there are best times of the year to buy a TV, you will want to make a plan for purchasing the television. Prepare a few days or weeks beforehand, figuring out which models you want to consider. Then on the day that you’ve chosen to shop, you’ll be ready to collect your savings.
Saving a few hundred dollars on a TV purchase certainly helps you achieve financial goals faster than saving a nickel at a time on gas.