Planning ahead will help you stay cost-conscious when you’re scouring Black Friday bargains.
As your inbox strains under the weight of stores’ ‘offers’ around Black Friday (November 27), it’s important not to get carried away, and keep any spending strictly within what you can afford.
There may well be lots of tempting ‘bargains’ up for grabs. But with many household budgets finely balanced on a knife edge, as the financial fallout of the pandemic continues, it’s vital to stick to a budget.
This means planning ahead and thinking about how you will pay for it all, so you’re not bamboozled with ‘flash sales’ and ‘limited time offers’. And remember – just because it’s available or on offer, does not mean you have to buy something.
Here are some tips from the experts for grabbing the best Black Friday deals – and being conscious about your spending:
1. Do your homework now
Elle McAtamney, a spokesperson for TopCashback.co.uk, suggests: “If you know what you want to buy from the Black Friday sales, make a list and do your research before the sales start – remember Black Friday isn’t just one or two days anymore.”
She suggests comparing prices across retailers beforehand – so you know who’s currently selling what you want for the cheapest prices, which could potentially drop even lower.
Once you’ve found the cheapest retailers, McAtamney adds: “Items are likely to sell out fast, so it’s good to have a back-up retailer if you first choice falls through.”
2. Be sure the price is right
If you’ve checked prices beforehand, you’ll know if you’re really getting a bargain on Black Friday. McAtamney also suggests checking websites such as Amazon and eBay to see how their prices compare with high-street retailers.
3. Found a bargain? See if you can cut the price down even more
“Before committing to any purchases, it’s worth scanning the internet for vouchers and discount codes. There are lots of sites you can visit which host lists of codes that will work on retailers’ websites,” says McAtamney.
“It’s also worth signing up to retailers’ newsletters and following their social channels, as they often release special codes. These can then be layered on top of Black Friday deals to get a higher discount.”
Websites such as TopCashback.co.uk will also give you money back on your spending.
4. Could your work status get you even more money off?
For some people, it might. Catherine Hiley, a Black Friday deals expert at Uswitch.com, says students and NHS workers, for example, should keep an eye out for retailers offering them extra discounts.
5. Will your preferred retailer do a price match?
Perhaps you’ve found a great deal, but you’d rather buy from a retailer you already know and trust. In that case, it may be worth seeing if the retailer you’re more familiar with will match the price.
Hiley says: “Some retailers offer price-matching services, even on Black Friday. If you find it cheaper elsewhere then check whether your preferred retailer offers this service.”
6. Think beyond electronics
Black Friday may be a great time to find a new smart TV, but there are other bargains out there too. Hiley says: “Try considering shopping for better deals on services you’re using, such as broadband or your mobile phone contract, as Black Friday is a prime opportunity to switch providers for better than average savings. Uswitch hosted around 70 exclusive deals last Black Friday.”
7. Think very carefully about how you’ll pay
If money is already tight, then over-spending will only make matters worse. If your Black Friday purchase will push you into the red, it could end up costing you a lot more than you’d bargained for. Bear in mind that several banks are now charging interest rates of 40% for going overdrawn.
According to Moneyfacts.co.uk, the lengths of 0% purchase credit card deals have also shortened over recent years. So if you’re buying this way, you may have less time to clear your balance before interest charges kick in.
8. Finally, it pays to know your rights
If your ‘bargain’ turns out to be shoddy, you could get a refund. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers what should happen when goods are faulty and more information about it is on the gov.uk and Citizens Advice websites.
Shoppers also have key cancellation rights for online purchases. More information about this is on the Which? website (which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations).
MoneySavingExpert.com also has information about consumer rights (moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/consumer-rights-refunds-exchange) – so make sure you’re clued up before contacting the retailer.