Best pre-Black Friday deals

Back in my day, Black Friday was an actual day. The Friday after Thanksgiving! Those of us who wanted to score a $99 TV rolled ourselves out of bed and into a freezing cold car—all before sunrise.

Then we’d wait outside—in the cold, remember —at the end of a big, long line of other foolish humans. All this was happening on pavement in front of a building made with bricks.

At some point, an underpaid retail worker would unlock the doors far earlier than usual, we’d all rush in like honeybees crawling over a discarded apple and, if we were lucky, grab one of the five $99 TVs before someone else did.

Times have certainly changed. You kids have it easy: Black Friday now lasts at least a month and you don’t have to leave your house to brave any maniacal crowds.

As a venerable cheapskate, reformed gadget blogger, and constant deal hunter, I humbly present to you what I believe to be the best tech deal from each of the major retailers. The only rule is that the products must be on sale now and they must be buyable online.

Wallets out!

Amazon: Fire TV Stick 4K for $25

My general rule with these Fire sticks is that if the 4K version with the built-in universal remote functionality drops below $30, it’s time to buy. It’s currently available for $25, which is half off.

If you’re still looking for a sign to cut the cable-TV cord, this is it. The service works with just about every major streaming service out there, and the aforementioned universal remote feature means that you can control your current TV set with one remote.

[Photo: courtesy of Amazon]

Do not—I repeat—do not be tempted by the $18 Fire TV Stick Lite, the $20 Fire TV Stick, or the $35 Fire TV Stick 4K Max. They’re all very much on sale, to be sure, but the Fire TV Stick 4K at $25 is the just-right Goldilocks pick of the group when it comes to price and performance.

Target: Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones for $100

The big red bullseye beats every other store out there with this $100 Beats deal.

These Bluetooth headphones run $150 to $200 at most big-name places. If you’re looking to get into wireless cans, this is a fair price for a decent set. They’re available in black or pink, and you may be able to do store pickup in your area if you don’t want to wait on shipping.

[Photo: Target]

Best Buy: Insignia 65-inch 4K TV for $490

There’s always a sweet spot when it comes to buying TVs and that sweet spot is slowly but surely migrating from the 55-inchers to the 65-inchers.

To wit: imagine slapping a ginormous 65-incher on your wall for less than $500. It can be done with this 65-inch Insignia F30 series, which has been marked down more than $200 from its normal selling price. (Insignia is a Best Buy house brand.)

[Photo: Best Buy]

It’s got a 4K resolution and Fire TV built in, so you’ll need to plug it in and. .. well, that’s about it. If that price still feels a bit too high, its sweet-spot little brother—the 55-inch F30–is also on sale for a very enticing $370.

Walmart: 3-pack of Arlo security cameras for $200

Selling elsewhere for upwards of $350, the Arlo Essential three-pack is just $200 at Walmart. That’s a wheel of a deal considering that the same retailer sells a single Arlo camera for $130.

[Photo: Walmart]

These are wireless security cams that can stream to your phone, work indoors or out, and run off six-month rechargeable batteries. You could fortify your abode in an afternoon for less than the price of a big night out.

Costco: 10-inch Samsung tablet with cover and pen for $280

The most spacious of the big box stores, Costco is selling the 10.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite for $280, which is a hundred bucks off.

[Photo: Costco]

That includes 64 GB of storage, a cover, and Samsung’s S Pen for scribbling down notes. That’s a good deal for an above-average Android tablet with all the fixins. You can have it shipped or pick it up at your local warehouse if you’ve got one nearby.

One final option: do nothing

The fact that you can get these deals now without braving the elements, the crowds, or a really early morning just goes to show that the deals season stretches on a whole lot longer than it used to. If you don’t snatch these up now, maybe nothing bad will happen. Just enjoy some time off with your family. Behind every deal is another deal waiting in the wings!