The retailers tell us Black Friday is the sale to end all sales. But can we trust that we’re really getting what they promise?
This is going to be the third year of Black Friday madness in the UK. 2014 beggared belief with people scrapping over cheap TVs in Asda, but last year was more peaceful and largely taking place online.
I’ve mixed feelings about the event. Just calling it an event makes it seem more important than it is. Yes, it’s an opportunity to perhaps grab a bargain, but it’s hardly up there with the FA Cup Final or the Brexit vote. Still, it’s going to dominate our lives for the next few weeks so I wanted to share my tips to help you be prepared, and three golden rules to keep in mind.
What’s happening Black Friday 2016?
Black Friday is on 25th November this year, but already we’ve seen a few shops start discounting.
Amazon’s Black Friday sale started on Monday 14th and will last until the 28th – a full two weeks! Elsewhere, my email is rammed each day with 20% off here, 40% off there… you can’t really escape it!
Last year some retailers (including Asda) scaled back their Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, or chose to not take part at all (Primark). But pretty much everyone else joined in with the madness, with many throwing out big discounts as soon as the clocks turned back – and that should be the same this year.
However, I expect most of the headline-grabbing deals will be saved until Black Friday itself and go through to Cyber Monday. I’ll keep updating my Black Friday deals page as more shops announce their plans.
Can you really get any decent deals on Black Friday?
You will be able to get some decent savings, but you’re just as likely to be misled by claims of discounts that aren’t any different to other times of the year.
RULE 1: DON’T BELIEVE THE DISCOUNT
Many discounts will be compared against the original selling price when it’s likely they’ve actually been selling at a far lower price.
There will also be some shops who use it as an opportunity to clear old and discontinued stock.
And even if it’s a good price it doesn’t mean it’s any good. Those £99 Asda TVs from a few years ago were rated “Don’t Buy” by Which?.
The best way to check if you’re getting a good price is to use a price comparison tool, and check out the price history. For Amazon try Camel Camel Camel, for other retailers you can use Idealo or Price Spy.
Don’t forget about other types of purchases too. Last year I switched my phone, broadband and TV to BT who offered a really good Black Friday deal, while you might also find offers in restaurants, cinemas and on sites like Ticketmaster.
What should you shop for?
It’s easy to get carried away with any sale, and the sheer mass of shops taking part in Black Friday and the number of people shopping increases the likelihood you’ll impulse buy.
RULE 2: ONLY SHOP FOR WHAT YOU NEED AND WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
If you see a decent deal, for something you want and need, at a price you are willing to pay, then go for it. Don’t get sidetracked by something with a big discount but not previously on your radar.
To help make this happen, write out a list of what you need and what you can afford to pay. This list should be your focus.
Yes, there’s always the chance something amazing appears which you never thought you’d be able to afford. If this happens, ask yourself if you a) really do need it and b) really can afford it. If the answer to both is yes, then there’s no harm snapping up that bargain.
How do you find the best deals on Black Friday?
Try to bargain hunt at all the retailers and you probably won’t be able to see the woods for the trees – meaning you could miss out on the best deals.
RULE 3: FOCUS ON A FEW SHOPS AND SOURCES
A good place to start is here at Be Clever With Your Cash. I’ll be listing all the main sales on my Black Friday page, and I’ll pick out the best Amazon deals too. These pages are now live and I’ll be constantly updating them.
If you’ve more time, unsubscribe from any retailer you aren’t bothered about, and sign up to any shops you are really interested in. This way you’re more likely to see the emails that come in that you care about.
Finally, it’s sometimes a good idea to avoid big ticket, high discount items with limited stock. If everyone else is trying to nab ones of these, you’ll have more time to find other bargains elsewhere in the shop or online.