Falling on the Friday after American Thanksgiving – and, realistically, covering the whole weekend and following Monday (usually dubbed ‘Cyber Monday) – Black Friday is supposed to be a day of slashed prices and special deals. Traditionally, it also marks the first day of the Christmas shopping period.
In recent years, Black Friday has fallen out of favour with many. Scenes of shoppers flooding into stores can seem emblematic of a throwaway, consumerist culture that encourages people to get into debt buying things they don’t really need. At the same time, many companies have been less than transparent about the deals they’re offering, artificially inflating prices earlier in the month to make it look like they’re offering bigger discounts.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage. If you’ve got some big ticket items on your shopping list, it makes sense to wait until the Black Friday discounts to start buying. Follow these three tips to avoid getting sucked into the hype and make sure you’re getting the best deals.
Avoid making purchases in the weeks running up to Black Friday
It’s unfortunate but true that prices go up during this time, all so shops can make their price reductions look more impressive at the end of the month. If you choose to buy big items like electronics or household appliances throughout November, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending above the odds. Wait it out and prices will fall back to their original rates – possibly with an added discount. While this can be frustrating, there’s no point paying more than you need to!
Opt for targeted shopping rather than browsing
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is heading to a store’s website on Black Friday and scrolling through to see what takes your fancy. There will be plenty of shiny graphics and big bold text shouting about the great prices you can get, all designed to make you hit that buy button. But is any of it stuff you actually need, or even want? Remember, a deal is only really good if it’s something you were going to purchase anyway.
Instead, put together a clear shopping list in advance. If you’ve been planning to upgrade your mobile handset soon or treat your loved ones to new gadgets for Christmas, then now might be the time. With a list, you can shop around for the best offers on items you’ll actually use, and avoid being lured in by the other stuff.
Use a price tracker to check your discounts
To be really sure that you’re making a savvy purchase, try using an online price checker to see how much the item you’re buying usually costs. While the user interface of Price Spy isn’t the friendliest, it’s packed full of features that make it a good choice for deal hunting. This includes the ability to compare prices at different stores, check the prices history of thousands of items and even set up email alerts to be informed if something drops below a certain price. These websites are useful, but it is helpful to understand that they also have a vested interest in encouraging you to spend money, since they usually have deals with certain retailers or are set up with affiliate links. So try to ignore the various pop-ups encouraging you to spend, and stay focused on the things you really need.