Make Light Work of Black Friday

Saving money this Black Friday

Black Friday is coming around again, that day in the calendar which marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Black Friday is 24th November this year, (2018) but are there really bargains to be had? Last year a Which? investigation into Black Friday revealed that 49% of products on offer were actually cheaper in the months before or after Black Friday and the prices it checked last year showed that only 8% of the Black Friday deals were actually the lowest prices. In September Argos was lambasted for its 3 for 2 toy offer where many of the toys worked out cheaper if you bought them the day before.

Update 2019. Which? found that 95% of products in Black Friday ‘deals’ are cheaper or the same price after the sales

So it is getting more difficult to grab a real bargain in the Black Friday sales in 2019!

So how careful do we need to be of Black Friday? Are there really bargains to be had and if so how best to get them?

1) Write a list before you go shopping

Write down all the things you need to buy. This can include: the people for whom you have to buy presents, possible ideas and a budget. This will help you not go over a budget if you are easily carried away with possible bargains and gives you choices.

2) Do your research before shopping

Armed with your list, look up the likely stores for those people/items. Make a list of the prices that you find.

3) Use comparison websites before shopping

Do an Internet search on specific items and use sites which will compare prices. You may find that there are other stores which stock the items you are after and some may have a better deal regardless of Black Friday!

4) Get right ahead with your shopping!

Put items in baskets! Go online and put things in baskets and don’t checkout. Make a note of what stores you have done this with! Then when Black Friday comes take a look at all the online baskets and see who has what for the cheapest. This way, not only will you have done all your research but you’ll be ahead of others shopping that day for popular items likely to go out of stock!

5) Share the presents round this Black Friday!

Often people will say it’s only a bargain if you need it. Twaddle. We don’t need half the clothes and shoes etc. that we own, but if we see a pair of boots reduced it makes the purchase far more attractive. So, have an idea of what items you would like for yourself, if they are reduced.

6) Check for further discounts when shopping online and in store

Internet search your items with phrases like “discount codes” “discount offers” and “vouchers” to see if you can get more discounts. There are a number of sites that provide discount codes for numerous stores.

7) Check out Zeek*.

You can buy and sell gift cards on Zeek. Choose from a range of monetary value gift cards for hundreds of stores with varying discounts. Update 07/02/19 looks like Zeek is going into administration.

8) Black Friday is not just for Christmas

Many retailers spread their deals over the month and others throughout the year. The idea is that consumers will spend the same amount over a year whether the majority is across all year or concentrated over a few weeks. So don’t just look for bargains on Black Friday. There will be Cyber Monday and places like Amazon have daily deals which also need to be checked. Use the Camel Camel Camel website which is a price tracker that provides price drop alerts and price history for products sold by Amazon.

9) Emails and social media can save you money when shopping!

Sign up to newsletters now. You can always unsubscribe later but often newsletters are the best way to be the first to learn of any discounts and offers. “Like” Facebook pages and follow on Twitter as many retailers will announce their offers and discount codes through these methods too. Follow money bloggers who will frequently share discounts and deals. Join forums and money saving groups if you really want to get everything going and check with others if so-called deals are really deals. You could set up a separate email account for all these emails and then allocate some time each day to look at just the deals!

10) Store versus shops

If you intend to go to the stores on Black Friday take your list with you and check the online prices either with that or on the phone. Then you have the double whammy, as sometimes items are in stock online only or in store only.

11) List upcoming events that you need to shop for in the future

Think of future, parties etc. You can pick up some bargain toys for children’s parties that you know you will have in the year and just put them away. (But remember toys will be discounted a lot in the run up to Christmas and after Christmas sales too).

12) Avoid the mobs when shopping

Possibly impossible?! Certainly if you are setting out early for certain stores! But this is where you need a) your list so you don’t get carried away and b) to be sure that that store will have items you want. Remember too that offers written on doors are often just a way to get you in and there may be limited stock!

13) Take care on seasonal items

Things like Winter coats are likely to be in the sales and discounted further when retailers want to get rid of their stock and Christmas decorations will still be cheaper after the event!

14) Use Cashback sites to save even more money

Sites like Topcashback*, Quidco*, Free Fivers*, Kidstart* (Kidstart cashback goes to your nominated child’s bank account). Others that I’ve not used are Imutual, Give or take and there are others. They all provide cashback when you go through their sites and make purchases from the stores listed. Check them all, as they have different retailers and different percentages! Do this before filling your online baskets so you’re all set to go! Most have apps so you can do this whilst out shopping when you see a bargain and can order and get it delivered instead! Don’t rely on this though as there may be terms and conditions that you miss (such as using vouchers) negating the cashback.

15) Make sure that a price promise really is a price promise

Some places have a price promise which is great. But read the small print! Some stores such as John Lewis won’t match an online price, for example. Others will only match the price if it was on sale that exact same day and most, if not all, will tell you it has to be exactly the same item/bundle. So, exactly the same colour, make, model, free gift, warranty etc. (Although remember your consumer rights provide more protection than any “free warranty”).

16) Check the model before you think you have a bargain

Black Friday is usually good for getting the latest technology, but check the release dates for the next model. Will you still want that ‘phone or laptop if the newer version comes out a week later?

17) Stay up late!

If you have done all your preparation, be ready to go online just after midnight on Black Friday morning, so you get your bargains before things go out of stock.

18) Security is important when you are shopping online

Check that the site is secure and bona fide to prevent any fraud. Don’t just click on the first site that comes up in a search engine query unless you’re sure where you’re going. See Don’t let shopping online become a “rip off”

19) Add ons to your purchases

A lot of the items may need additional things such as batteries. Don’t get these at the same time, you will more than likely get these cheaper when you do research on that at a later date!

20) Articles about Black Friday

Every so often Google “Black Friday offers (insert year)”! This will bring up store pages and online newspaper articles which reveal where some of the best bargains are.

Consumer Rights and Black Friday

Remember your consumer rights are just the same when buying items in the sales. See Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Should you have need to complain see Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For more information on consumer rights, laws, tips and templates get the book How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

 

*Referral links.  I’ll get a few pounds if you sign up once you’ve made more than whatever their minimum is. (Topcashback is the one I really use and that’s £10) Depending on when you click on this link you should receive a bonus too but that depends on the offer on at the time. You can then use your own referral link and send to friends too! Free money!

10 Top Tips for getting the best from Black Friday


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A recent Which? investigation into Black Friday revealed that 49% of products on offer were actually cheaper in the months before or after Black Friday.

Here are ten top tips for making the most of Black Friday this year.

1) Do you really need it?

Last year there were numerous examples of people arguing/fighting over products and then saying they didn’t know why they had bought what they had! Be prepared and whilst you can be calm and not be taken over by the moment make a list of things you want/need and/or would consider buying and add to it as you think of them. Use comparison websites and check regularly for prices and then on Black Friday check again and work out who is cheaper on the day and if it likely to be cheaper somewhere else before or after Black Friday. Keep your list of stockists, dates and prices, if you’re super organised use a spreadsheet!

2) Don’t get carried away

Have a price in mind for the amount(s) you are prepared to spend on an individual or total items. It is easy to get carried away especially in store as retailers put out items to entice you to spend more. That’s when you are most likely to buy things you don’t want or need so keep an eye on your list of items and prices!

3) Do your research and shopping online

Where possible do your research and shopping online. You are less likely to get caught up in the heat of the moment and if you are attracted to a bargain as a Christmas present, for example, you will have time to think about it before purchasing.

4) Remember, Black Friday is not just for Christmas

Or something like that. Many retailers spread their deals over the month and others throughout the year, in the belief that consumers will spend the same amount over a year whether the majority is across all year or concentrated over a few weeks.

5) Make sure that a promise is a promise

Some places have a price promise which is great. But read the small print! Some stores such as John Lewis won’t actually match an online price. Others will only match the price if it was on sale that exact same day and most, if not all, will tell you it has to be exactly the same item/bundle. So, exactly the same colour, make, model, free gift, warranty etc. (Although remember your consumer rights provide more protection than any “free warranty”).

6) Exercise your rights if needed

Under the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, the item must be of satisfactory quality, match the description be fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. This is the same for goods in sales, flash or otherwise. If it’s less than 30 days since the point of purchase you are entitled to a full refund, a repair or replacement thereafter. (But you can still accept this before the 30 days if you want to keep that bargain price!)

7) Buy wisely and know what to do if you change your mind

You are not entitled to a refund if you simply change your mind, so buy wisely! However, when buying off premises (such as online) you have 14 days from when you receive the item(s) in which to change your mind under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. Check the terms and conditions for returns though as you may have to pay return postage if the item is not in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

8) Transfer your consumer rights if it’s a present

Get a gift receipt where possible. The recipient can then use this if necessary. Remember though that the 30 day rule applies from the date of purchase not the date you give the present!

9) Don’t forget Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday follows Black Friday. There will be more bargains to be had. Also remember that bargains won’t stop after this time. In fact, as retailers reassess sales there will be many reductions on a wider variety of goods over a longer period of time.

10) Watch out for extras

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 retailers are not allowed to charge you for items they put in your online shopping basket or that you have bought as a result of a pre-ticked box. It is still happening, so keep an eye out for this and report them if and when you see it!