Free iPhone, anyone? That’s just one of the pretty damn sweet deals lined up ahead of Black Friday, which kicks off just a few days from now (Nov. 23, if you’re bad at calendaring).
As always, I spend my time looking for the best of the best, the cream of the cheap crop. Sleep? I’ll sleep when I’m dead! Right through midnight on Friday, I’ll continue to serve up my favorite Black Friday deals of 2018.
To clarify, these are my favorite deals so far. Because we’re still a few days away from the big day (this was last updated Nov. 21), there may be late-breaking additions — so be sure to bookmark this post and check back often.
The Cheapskate’s favorite Black Friday 2018 deals
Apple Watch Series 3: 99 (save 0)
Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET
Macy’s decided not to wait for Black Friday or even Thanksgiving. The Apple Watch Series 3 is available right now for this all-time-low price. Yes, it’s last year’s model, but there’s an awful lot of tech packed into this thing, which is why at 99 I have no qualms about recommending it.
iPhone XR: Free! (Save 50)
OK, make that ‘free*.’ The asterisk is because you have to sign up for a US Cellular unlimited plan and stick with it for 30 months. The iPhone XR is paid for during that time in the form of bill credit. Still, you’re going to be paying for service from some carrier, right? When all is said and done, you will indeed walk away with a 50 phone you paid not an extra penny for. The deal is live right now and runs through Nov. 26.
3 months of Mint Mobile for 0 (save 0)
Shopping for a new carrier? On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, prepay-and-save service Mint Mobile will have one of the best trial offers ever: 3 months for 0. That nets you unlimited minutes and messages and 5GB of LTE data (on T-Mobile’s network) per month. After that, you can choose between various 3-, 6- and 12-month plans, all of which amortize out to extremely low rates.
Two Amazon Echo second-gen smart speakers: 00 (save 00)
Sure, Amazon will be selling the Echo for 9 on Turkey Day, but this QVC deal is even better. Score two of the smart speakers for just 9.98, a price that includes a voucher for extras like three months of Pandora Premium and three months of FreeTime Unlimited. Update, Nov. 20: The price now shows 09.98, but if you’re a new QVC customer, promo code TEN4U takes 0 off.
Sphero BB-8 app-enabled droid: 0 (save 00)
For anyone who loved the idea of an app-controlled BB-8 but didn’t relish paying 30, your patience has paid off. Sphero’s cute, versatile little roller has never been priced this low. Just sign in to My Best Buy to see this lower price.
Amazon Echo Dot (third-generation): 4 (save 6)
There are plenty of standouts in Amazon’s roster of Black Friday deals, but for me the real standout is the just-released third-generation Echo Dot. Given that it’s brand-new, Amazon could easily have left it at 0, or even just lopped 0 off while selling last year’s model for the bigger discount. (As it happens, the second-gen Dot will be less!) But just 4 for the smart speaker with the cloth suit and bigger, better sound? Yes, please. And don’t expect to see this deal again until Prime Day 2019.
Huawei Honor View 10: 49 (save 50)
Normally 00, and never before priced below 29, this powerhouse metal phablet features a 6-inch screen, dual rear cameras, dual SIM slots, Android 8.1 and — wait for it — a headphone jack! Just make sure you’re not buying this phone for someone who’s a US government employee or contractor, as federal security agencies have effectively deemed Huawei to be a national security threat.
Apple iPad (2018): 50 (save 0)
Wait, how is this better than Amazon’s Fire HD 10 for 00? Because, let’s face it, the iPad is an all-around better tablet, and at 50 it’s actually reasonable.
Fitbit Versa: 50 (save 0)
Priced just about 00 everywhere else, the Versa is arguably the best Apple Watch alternative you can buy. Will other stores match this all-time-low price? Time will tell. For now, Target has the deal to beat.
PlayStation 4 1TB with Spider-Man bundle: 00 (save 00)
My spendy senses are tingling. Update, Nov. 22, 3:30 p.m. PT: Target and a few other stores decided not to wait for Black Friday, so this deal is sold out everywhere we can see online. It’s sold out quickly, with good reason: It’s an excellent deal on a great console bundled with one of the hottest games of 2018. Target is still showing as ‘available’ in select stores, hit the link below to check your own nearby brick and mortar.
Pro tip: If you’re willing to brave the lines at Kohl’s, you can get this same deal on the PS4 bundle, plus 0 in Kohl’s cash.
TCL 55-inch Roku TV: 50 (save 00)
On sale at Amazon, Target and Walmart for the same price, and available right now, this may be the 55-inch TV deal to beat this year. You get a big screen, the unparalleled Roku interface and picture quality that belies this bargain-basement price.
Ring Video Doorbell 2: 39 (save 0)
Wireless and equipped with a rechargeable battery, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is among the easiest video doorbells to install and keep charged. It also integrates nicely with the Amazon Echo Show for an at-a-glance view of who’s at your door. At 99 it’s not exactly Cheapskate-approved, but 39 is definitely more in the ballpark. The optional -a-month cloud storage fee is reasonable, too.
Art.com: Save 50 percent sitewide
Need to dress up some walls? On Nov. 23 only, you can score 50 percent off all purchases at both Art.com. Looking for something a little more casual? On Nov. 24, AllPosters will be offering up to 60 percent off sitewide.
The Instant Pot six-in-one cooker: 0 (save 0)
There’s no question that every kitchen should have a pressure cooker. The Instant Pot is also a slow cooker and four other kinds of cooker. This same deal (0 instead of 00) tends to come around annually, but that doesn’t make it any less appetizing. If you don’t own one yet or you need a killer gift for a foodie, now’s the time to buy.
Motorola Moto G6: 00 (save 0)
Already a steal at the regular 50 price, the G6 gets even steal-ier when you knock 0 off. It’s unlocked, so take it to whatever carrier has the best deal — or best coverage.