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The things you should do BEFORE the Black Friday sales begin.

Black Friday is nearly here. Most of the shopping is going to be done online, and we’ve not seen the violent scenes of a few years ago for a while now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready now.

If you follow my three steps below, you’ll not only be fighting fit to get the best deals, you’ll also be able to avoid spending money you really shouldn’t. I’ve got a series of videos and tips to help you get you to get ready for the big sales.

And when the sales do start I’ll be updating my epic Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales page so keep an eye out!

Contents

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Part 1: Get your money in shape

This first part is ensuring you are properly prepared financially for the sales.

1. Stop spending money now

If there are things you want to buy, then try to hold off. Most retailers save their best discounts for Black Friday itself. Amazon is a great example, and its Echo, Fire TV and Kindle devices are likely to be heavily discounted – that’s how they get you on the site.

If you really need something now, or there’s a good deal, then of course go ahead and buy it. It’s worth finding out what the returns policy is, or if there’s price matching after you’ve bought (John Lewis does this).

If they allow returns you can keep an eye on any bigger discounts during the Black Friday weekend. If there is, take back your original purchases and buy it again at the lower price.

2. Think about how you’re going to spend

Got savings you don’t need elsewhere? Great. If not there’s still time to cut back on the odd takeaway and night out to boost your shopping fund.

It’s also worth considering a cashback credit card. If you don’t have one you might have time to apply and get it in time. But to make these worthwhile you have to be able to repay the full amount of spending every month.

 > My pick of the best cashback and reward credit cards

Part 2: Know what you want and how much it should cost

In part two it’s making sure you don’t overpay in the Black Friday sales. Plus how to avoid getting carried away and buying things you don’t need.

1. Know what you need and want

Avoid getting dazzled by a discount – it might not be something you are going to use. That’s a waste of money, no matter how much you use it. Write a list of what you need and what you’re looking for.

2. Know what a good price actually is

Often the advertised discounts aren’t the real saving. Just because it says it’s was £390 now £199, it doesn’t mean it really is. This isn’t a random example. Last year Argos had the Dyson V6 as one of its headline offers with these prices advertised. £190 sounds off sounds great, doesn’t it? In reality, you could have picked it up for £250 just before the sales. So yes, it’s still a good £50 off, but it’s not £190 off. So you need to be wary.

It’s easy to research the items on your list. A simple Google search will give you an idea, or if you want to take it a bit further you can look at the price history. This way you’ll know the real selling price in recent months.

> Camel Camel Camel (Amazon price history)

> Idealo (Price comparison and history)

> PriceSpy (Price comparison and history)

Part 3: Make your savings even bigger

This last part is full of the tricks to make sure you’re getting even more savings when you shop in the sales.

1. Sign up to my newsletter

My weekly newsletter is worth signing up for anyway, but on the Thursday before Black Friday I’ll share the essentials you need, and hopefully some exclusive discounts.

2. Check out my ultimate list of Black Friday shops and deals

My Black Friday deals page will be updated with early deals through this week, and then as more information is released, a huge list of who is doing what, and some of the top deals

3. Get an Amazon Prime free trial

If you’ve not already done this, now is the time to take out a trial. You get 30-days free and this not only gives you free delivery in the lead up to December, but early access to deals, as well as some exclusives.

If you have had the trial in the past, it’s worth seeing if you can get it again. Or someone else in your household could do it. If neither work and you don’t want to sign up for the year you can pay for one month £7.99. You might want to check the deals on offer before doing this, but I imagine there will be enough exclusive offers to make it worthwhile. You can read my full review of Amazon Prime if you want to know more.

4. Use cashback sites

Quidco and Topcashback give you a little more when you shop. If you’ve not signed up I’ve deals that’ll get you an extra £20 bonus the first time you shop.

5. Don’t forget your cashback credit card

And make sure you pay it off in full when the bill comes.

6. Save a little more with discounted gift cards

Zeek sells unwanted gift cards with 3% to 10% discounts, if not higher, at big shops such as John Lewis, Debenhams, M&S and House of Fraser. Many are digital codes too so you can use them instantly. Plus use the code CLEVERCASH to save you £5 off your first purchase (min spend £45).

7. Don’t get carried away

These sales might have the lowest prices but if you can’t afford it now, wait. You can still get a decent price at other times of the year, possibly even better if you time it right.

Who’s doing Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and when – my huge list of where to shop

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