In just six years, Black Friday has grown from a non-event to the UK’s biggest shopping day. There’s a huge buzz around the sales, but do they live up to the hype?
No doubt there’ll be plenty of deals on offer from Black Friday (25th November) right through to Cyber Monday (28th). If you’re hoping to treat your kids to a gadget or games console this Christmas, or upgrade your smartphone, the sales might be a chance to get money off.
But Black Friday has a darker side. To help you understand the pitfalls and how to avoid them, here are four essential things to know.
1. Those ‘amazing deals’ might not be as good as they seem
Buyers beware: big discounts on products can be a big temptation. But that ‘70% off’ ticket might actually be misleading.
To make ‘massive discounts’ seem bigger than they really are, some shops have been known to raise their prices before giving a Black Friday reduction.
While not everyone’s trying to trick you, it’s worth keeping in mind that not every deal is as good as it looks.
If you shop online, there’s a bigger danger to be aware of: online scams. Black Friday is a prime time for scammers to strike, so beware of fake websites and emails, and any offers that seem too good to be true.
For advice on how to spot scam websites, check out this article from Which?
2. There may be better times to buy
Black Friday deals are gone in a flash, and often there’s limited stock. It’s enough to make you panic!
When you feel pressured like this, it’s easy to rush into buying something without thinking it through. And that’s dangerous, because you might end up spending money you don’t have.
The truth is, most of the time, there’s no need to rush. The end of Black Friday doesn’t mean the end of sales. In fact, last year, prices of many popular Christmas gifts actually dropped after Black Friday.
If you feel yourself slipping into ‘panic-buy’ mode, take a deep breath. Rather than blowing your budget, remember you can always wait. And if you do, the item you want might get more affordable.
3. You don’t have to spend big
Clever adverts and marketing tell us that having expensive things makes us happier. A lot of us end up thinking that the more we love someone, the more we should spend on them. But is all this actually true?
If you struggle with your finances, before you splash out on pricey Christmas gifts, ask yourself what’s really going to make your kids and the other people you love happy.
We bet they won’t want you to suffer the stress that comes from overspending and getting into financial trouble. Plus, finding a present they’ll love doesn’t have to break the bank.
If money is tight, buying a gift that’s affordable, but still special, is going be the best option for everyone.
4. There are other (fun) ways to save money at Christmas
Over the past few years, we’ve seen retailers’ websites crash, stampedes in shops and even fights over TVs on Black Friday. With all this stress, it’s no wonder many people are choosing to avoid the sales.
Happily, there are other ways to save on your Christmas shopping.
At Christmas markets, you can pick up cool and quirky gifts that are much cheaper than the average ‘Black Friday bargain’, so even if they’re not discounted you can still save money.
Look out for the new Local Bristol Christmas Market in Broadmead, where you can find gifts with a Bristol twist. Something else to get excited about is Indies in Bristol on Saturday 3rd December – a big social event with market stalls, performers, DJs and an interactive shopping trail through some of Bristol’s brilliant independent shops.
3 top tips for Black Friday shoppers
Still got your sights on a Black Friday bargain? Make sure you follow these tips.
1. Know your budget. Work out how much you can afford to spend beforehand and stick to it – no matter how good the deals look.
2. Do your research. Decide in advance what you’d like to buy and search online before Black Friday for the cheapest price. Then you’ll have a better idea of how much deals are really worth.
3. Shop online. That way you can easily compare prices before you buy (don’t forget to add on the delivery costs). However, do beware of online scams.
Are Christmas finances a worry? Our Everyday loan can give you an affordable way to spread the cost. Find out more.
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