One of the world’s busiest shopping days is nearly upon us again but how can you make the most of it?
Taking place on the first Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is an historically American event that used to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and give high street retailers the opportunity to get their finances ‘out of the red and into the black’.
These days, however, Black Friday takes place in countries all over the world, both in stores and online, and is one of the most eagerly anticipated days of the year among bargain hunters and shopaholics alike, with everything from clothes to homeware to brand new tech all available for less.
And, in fact, it no longer takes place for just 24 hours, with many retailers offering deals over the entire week leading up to Black Friday itself (which, this year, takes place on Friday, November 24th) and often for another week afterwards, in celebration of Cyber Monday, Black Friday’s formerly online-only equivalent.
What this all means is that the 2-weeks surrounding Black Friday represent a fantastic opportunity to save money on items you’ll be buying for your nearest and dearest for Christmas or for yourself as a treat.
Despite reports suggesting that UK consumers are expected to spend approximately 25% less on Black Friday than they did in 2022, 51% of Brits are still planning to hit the sales this year. So what are the best ways to beat the crowds and make sure you pick up some bargains? Here are our top-tips.
1. Do your research
Whatever you’re in the market for, do some investigating to find out the good from the bad before the sales begin. You’re better off paying slightly more for a good quality product than slightly less for something that will need replacing in six months.
The same goes for brands too – familiarise yourself with the best and worst reviewed brands early and you’ll be able to tell the bargains from the ‘best avoided’ once the sales begin.
2. Make a list
Both online and in shops, Black Friday is almost always busy, so make a shopping list of the things you want, as well as what everyone wants for Christmas, and keep it with you at all times. With multiple discounts and offers vying for your attention, having a list handy will keep you focussed.
3. Know your price history
Similar to point #1 and especially important if you’re in the market for a specific item, knowing its pre-sale RRP will help you work out whether any sale prices represent good value for money or not. Checking to see if the product you’re after has been on sale recently and, if so, how much for is also worth considering.
4. Make a list of retailers that sell the item you want
With the days around Black Friday being so busy, it’s not unusual for websites to crash due to heavy traffic or shops to sell out of certain products. If this happens while you’re trying to buy something, knowing which other stockists sell the item you want will give you a headstart on other shoppers and increase your chances of still landing that bargain.
5. Set up online accounts now!
By entering your billing and delivery details in advance, you’ll be able to complete any transactions and check out quickly and easily before the best sale items start disappearing online, giving you the upper hand if multiple shoppers are after the same items as you.
6. Look at the price, not the saving
Some items spend more time on sale than they do at full price, so treat discounts with suspicion and never pay more than you’re willing to for something just because it offers a supposed ‘saving’.
For example, if you have £50 set aside for an electrical item, don’t be tempted to spend £75 on it just because it’s reduced from £150 – there’s a fair chance it won’t actually have been on sale at full price since it first launched.
7. Charge your phone before hitting the shops
In the era of smartphones, you can shop in two places at once so make sure your phone has as close to 100% battery before you head to the high street so you can really shop around. Then, when you’re browsing the aisles in Currys, you can compare prices against online retailers to ensure you get the best possible price.
8. Sign up to newsletters
Most retailers have newsletters you can subscribe to for free and doing so in advance of Black Friday can be a shrewd idea as they might well offer you early access to deals or additional discounts on certain items.
9. Monitor social media
As well as signing up for their newsletters, it’s a good idea to also follow your favourite retailers and brands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as these are often the first places their offers are advertised.
It can be easy to overspend when big sales roll around and there are none bigger than Black Friday but so long as you stick to a budget you can afford, the coming weeks should offer plenty of opportunities to save money on items you’ll be buying in time for Christmas.
If you need help paying for items in the run-up to Christmas, we offer small loans of £250 to our members and joining our credit union couldn’t be simpler – for more information, click here.