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While Black Friday originated in America, as it directly follows Thanksgiving, this day of frenzied shopping has since spread elsewhere. And although deals were generally limited to the shops previously, now there are tons of offers online you can take advantage of too.
The issue with Black Friday is that it’s easy to get carried away. Lots of items are at such bargain prices that you feel you have to buy them, regardless of whether you needed them in the first place! To help you shop like a pro, we’ve outlined out ten top tips for Black Friday below:
If you’re looking for something in particular, the last thing you want is to spend hours researching the best brand on Black Friday itself. By the time you make a decision, the one you want could be out of stock.
It’s therefore a good idea to research different products and brands, making a list of a few options to look out for. Reviews from buyers are a good place to start, as are sites like Which? – they test products so that people know which ones to avoid, and don’t waste their money.
The aim of Black Friday is to get reduced prices on items you want, not spend loads of money because you’ve found a bargain. So before the big day, make sure you write a list of all the things you want to get in the sales. You could allow yourself an extra purchase or two, if you can justify the expense, as long as you don’t get carried away!
Some websites will allow you to make a wishlist with them, to make this process easier. Amazon, for instance, lets you build lists of things you want to buy – you can even make separate lists for different categories of item you’re looking for.
When it comes to certain products, the well known brands often are better than others. For instance, if you’re looking to buy a TV, Samsung is known for their models, but other brands may not be. And just because all the TVs you’re considering are 4K and HDR, that doesn’t mean the picture quality will be the same.
That’s not to say that you can’t trust any brand you haven’t heard of. But there’s often a reason some brands become household names, while others can only be found in the sales. Make sure you’re not buying something just because it’s cheap – it needs to be of good quality too.
Although it may be unlikely, some websites do really slow down on Black Friday, simply due to all the extra traffic. You’ll obviously want to get through the checkout as soon as possible in these instances, so it can be sensible to create an account with the brand ahead of time.
It may also be worth signing up for the newsletters of your favourite brand, as you may be given an early access pass. Certain retailers like to reward their followers by providing these sorts of perks.
When you buy something from a shop, you can only return or exchange a product if the retailer has their own returns policy. And while the majority of shops do have one, it’s not required by law. When you buy online, there are more stringent regulations. You have 14 days after the date of delivery to return an item for a full refund, and you should also get the original postal costs back.
If you do think you’re likely to return an item – it’s hard to know the quality of a product when you shop online – it’s a good idea to look into the returns policy. Sometimes these are extended before Christmas, in case you’re giving the item as a gift. And look out for policies that only allow exchanges, not a cash refund.
Just because there appears to be a big saving, doesn’t mean that something is worth buying. Lots of discounts are exaggerated – the product may not have ever been listed as the recommended retail price, so comparing that to the sale price is meaningless.
You should also question why something has been so heavily reduced – if it’s less than half price, there may be a reason for that. Perhaps the product isn’t as good as similar items, or it has loads of negative reviews from customers.
With tech in particular, it’s important to know the lifecycle of the item. Most big brands will bring out a new release every year, and will try and tempt you to get the newest product on the market.
But if something is built to last several years, getting an older model is probably the cheaper option, even if the newer item is on sale. And realistically, the older design is more likely to be reduced, as shops will be trying to clear old stock to make room for new products.
If you are specifically shopping for tech, don’t forget about Cyber Monday. Of course you’ll probably still look at any offers before and on Black Friday, but if you don’t find what you want, don’t despair. Certain retailers do only have deals on tech items on Monday.
Perhaps check on the websites of big tech companies, and see whether their advertising is focused more on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This should give you a good indication as to when you should look at the offers they have available.
If you’re hoping to buy a few pricier items, it’s sensible to check whether you can get any cashback on them. Sites like TopCashBack and Quidco are free to sign up with, and offer deals at thousands of retailers.
Some credit cards also reward you with cashback when you spend. This could be through things like retail vouchers, money off your monthly statement, or airmiles – regardless of the reward, it’s always worth doing. It’s essentially free money after all!
Black Friday sales are no longer limited to the day itself. Some retailers start lowering prices a week or two in advance. So keep an eye out for bargains throughout the month, to ensure things aren’t sold out before you come across them.
It may be worth following big brands on social media – they’re bound to announce the launch of their sales there. Certain influencers usually stay on top of the best deals too, so checking out their posts might be useful as well.