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

Black Friday is nearly here. And this year most if not all of the shopping is going to be done online. 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.

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

Get your money in shape

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

Check what you’ve got

Obviously you don’t want to spend more than you’ve got. If you have savings you don’t need elsewhere then that’s your fund. But make sure you keep enough back to cater for emergencies.

Avoid Buy Now Pay Later services

I’m really not a fan of services like Klarna. They encourage people to buy more than they can afford, which can cause financial problems down the line.

The only reason they might be handy is if you are getting more than one size of an item and know you absolutely will return the ones that don’t fit.

Consider a cashback credit card

If you are confident you’ll only spend what you can afford, then it’s worth considering a cashback credit card. You’ll earn a little bit back each time you spend, including some new member bonuses on some cards.

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

Do your prep

Once you know what you can afford, it’ll help you work out what you are going to buy.

This second step is 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.

Work out what you need

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. This’ll help you avoid endless scrolling through pages and pages of offers.

Think about why you are shopping

A recent study by the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute found that 54% of those with a recent mental health problem had shopped online to make themselves feel better. And with lockdown in England and restrictions elsewhere it’s likely this Black Friday will see more people than ever clicking online just for something to do.

If you find yourself putting something in the basket you hadn’t planned on buying then pause. If you can leave it a few hours, perhaps even a day, you’ve time to think about whether you really want to buy it.

Research 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.

A few years ago Argos had the Dyson V6 as one of its headline offers with these prices advertised. £190 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.

> More on how to find out the price history

Stop spending money now

If there are things you want to buy, then try to hold off until Black Friday itself. That’s when most retailers save their best discounts. 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. Plus this year you might want to ensure you’ve got all your Christmas shopping ordered and delivered in time – and the earlier the better in that case.

Make sure anything you get early can be returned. If you spot any bigger discounts during the Black Friday weekend you can always get it again at the lower price, and take back your original purchases for a refund.

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.

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.

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 a combined £32 bonus the first time you use each one.

Don’t forget your cashback credit card

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

Don’t get carried away

These sales might often 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.

Try to price match

We all know about John Lewis & Partners’ “Never Knowingly Undersold” price promise and this is really useful when so many shops will react to other sales at the weekend. If you’ve bought from the department store and a price changes in any other physical shop (not online-only retailers) in the next 28 days, you can put in for a price match. More on price matching at JL and other retailers here.

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.

MORE: Who’s doing Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020

Watch my videos from 2018 about getting ready for Black Friday

Note – In this last video I mention Zeek. This site went out of business in 2019.


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