How to make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last four or so years, you’ll be very aware of the shopping madness of Black Friday. With Christmas gift-buying currently burning a big hole on your to-do list, and ‘70% off‘ emails flooding your inbox, it’s very easy to go wild. But, if you don’t want to be left skint and full of regret on the morning of the 28th November when this current wave of sales is over and your house is full of stuff you don’t actually want very much, follow this guide to ensure you shop smart and make the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

But first…..

What is Black Friday?

Scheduled on the day after Thanksgiving in the US, it’s the retail industry’s way to boost sales by kicking off the Christmas shopping period early. Even though the UK doesn’t mark Thanksgiving, the craze has caught on here in a big way. Brands go gaga for it with some slashing prices over a week before. And we respond BIG TIME. According to a study by Voucher Codes and the Centre for Retail Research, Brits will spend £1.8 million per minute snapping up deals!

Where can I find the biggest Black Friday savings?

Every retailer worth its salt is running a Black Friday promotion but some will be far better than others. So, helpfully, a number of media titles have pulled together a list of the best ones:

The Mirror

The Guardian

The Radio Times

(They cover a lot of similar stuff with a few different points so it’s worth looking at all three.)

How will I know if it’s really a good deal?

Please, PLEASE, don’t get tricked into buying something just because the discount is huge. If you do find something that tempts you, do the following before you open that wallet:

  1. Do a quick google search to check the item isn’t cheaper elsewhere
  2. Also check that other retailers aren’t offering it at the same price indefinitely. If they are, then you don’t have to buy it during Black Friday and can give yourself a bit of thinking time to decide whether or not you really do want the item after all!
  3. Make sure you’re not buying a poor quality equivalent of something you do want just because it’s cheap. I.e. if you really want a new tv and there’s one available online at 70% off the RRP, check the reviews and star ratings as it may not be worth it.
  4. Check the returns policy or warranty offered by the retailer. Some retailers are better than others so if there’s only a small difference in price between the two, it’s still better going for a name you can trust should something go wrong.

How can I save even more?

I wouldn’t be a very good money blogger if I didn’t give you advice to make sure you save as much as you truly can. So here goes:

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Heck, why not go as far as putting the money you’ve allowed yourself to spend into one account and then giving all your credit cards to a partner or best friend for safe keeping until the 28th when the sales are over. You can only spend the money you have.
  • Cancel any evening plans you have for the 23rd and prep. Although many retailers have already started their sales, Amazon and John Lewis among others will kick off from midnight on Friday 24th, so do your research on Thursday night. Then arm yourself with coffee and stay up late to grab the bargains as they appear. Because once they’ve gone, they’ve gone.
  • As part of your Thursday night prep session, make a list of what you actually want and need. Then move some of those items onto a list for friends and family to buy you as Christmas presents (yup, you know you’ll get asked).  Then, armed with your list of what you can buy in the sales, ONLY buy what’s on the list. Do not deviate!
  • Before you put anything in your shopping basket, go to Quidco first in case you can acquire cashback on your purchases. Thousands of retailers offer cashback through Quidco so it’s a very worthwhile step to take! PLUS, if you sign up with the link above, you’ll be awarded £5 free in cash once you’ve earned your first £5 cashback! (For more information on how the process works, click here for my cashback guide.)

Any other advice?

  • Before pressing ‘Buy’, go through each item and check how likely you are to use it. If any of the following thoughts run through your head, put it back.
    • I’m sure I’ll find a use for it someday
    • Who cares if I’ll use it, it looks really cool
    • So what if I hadn’t heard of it before today, it gets a lot of good reviews
    • Oh god I shouldn’t be doing this but oh well you only live once!
  • Seriously. Don’t buy it.
  • Also check for discount codes before you buy anything. There may be a code for free delivery and returns. This will come in handy if you haven’t bothered to follow my previous point.
  • The best place to look is Voucher Codes. Last year, its team of deal hunters saved shoppers a staggering £780,000 over the Black Friday weekend.

And that’s my advice on how to make the most of Black Friday! Don’t go mad, I hope you get some lovely things and do comment below as I’d love to hear about them.

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