Whether you love shopping or not, Black Friday can be a great opportunity to bag bargains in the run-up to Christmas.
This year, the American shopping holiday falls on 23rd November. Over the years, we’ve seen people fight over discounted TVs and queue for miles… we’re here to help you cut the madness and master the sales this year.
1) Make a list
And check it twice! One of the biggest Black Friday blunders is getting carried away with the discounts and spending more than you would if there wasn’t a sale on.
If you’re looking for bargains but don’t want to overspend, it’s a good idea to jot down those things you’d like to buy before the sales hit. You might be tempted by that half-price microwave… but do you really need a new microwave?
2) Get online
Now we’ve resorted to turning the heating on, do we really want to venture into the cold to find the best deals? With many retailers (Amazon, Currys and ASOS, to name a few) offering their discounts online, you can score deals from the comfort of your own home, without being shoved away from that last toaster.
Plus, staying at home will mean you’re less likely to be tempted by those impulse buys near the checkout.
3) Set up accounts in advance
Even if you’re online, there’s still a rush to bag the best deals before they run out. To save time, it’s a good idea to create an account with your favourite stores to make sure the check-out process goes smoothly. It’s also wise to make sure your payment and delivery details are up-to-date, so you don’t hit any snags when it comes to paying.
Signing up to newsletters before Black Friday could also mean you’ll receive extra discounts and exclusive information about the sale, so make sure you’re not missing out.
4) Stick to your budget
With shiny deals beckoning you from every corner, it can be easy to spend beyond your budget. And if you don’t have a budget in the first place, you’ll be playing with fire!
Take a look at what you can afford to spend before you get your card out. If you’re planning to use a credit card to spread the cost, make sure you can afford the interest payments on top of what you plan to spend – ideally, you’ll be able to pay the balance off in full to save paying any interest at all.
5) Do your research
There’s no point in splashing the cash if you don’t know whether you’re getting your money’s worth. Stores might use Black Friday as a chance to shift their stock that isn’t selling so well – so it might not be the amazing deal it first seems.
It’s worth checking the prices of the products you want ahead of the sales, so you’ll know if you’re getting a good discount or not.
Similarly, take some time to plan what you want before you take the plunge. For example, if you’re after a new laptop, make sure you know what you’re looking for – like good speakers or a certain amount of storage – before you part ways with your cash.
6) Set your alarm clock
The early bird catches the worm… and that’s certainly the case when it comes to catching the best Black Friday deals.
Most stores will start their sale as soon as the clock strikes 12am on Black Friday. Websites could crash at peak times due to the high levels of traffic, so it might be worth shopping at quieter times. Argos have suggested that the best time to shop is around 3 to 4am to avoid the crowds – so if you’re serious about getting the best deals, be sure to set your alarm early!
7) Don’t be fooled by scams
Black Friday is a great time to save money, but it can also be a time where scammers try to take advantage. A general rule of thumb is to avoid dishing out your credit card details at all costs and be wary of unwelcome emails. Why not take a look at our guide to spotting phishing emails?
8) Don’t forget Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday is basically an extension of Black Friday. Sometimes, stores will make further reductions on Cyber Monday, so it could pay to hold off until then.
Plus, if fashion is more your thing, shops like ASOS have been known to offer site-wide discounts on Cyber Monday, so it could be well worth the wait.