Black Friday is almost upon us – are you prepared? Love it or loathe it there are certainly some bargains to be had. But how do you know if you’re really getting the best deal?
Black Friday is an event that started in the USA and has gradually become part of the culture here across the pond too. In America the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally when the count down to Christmas begins and people dash out to the shops to begin buying their gifts. Shops have capitalized on this by offering special one day only deals on this day, or through the weekend through until ‘Cyber Money’ which is the day most people order their gifts online.
With all the hype surrounding Black Friday it can be really difficult to figure out whether or not you’re actually getting a good deal. In this post I am going to share with you my tips for figuring out if that ‘Must Buy’ item really is ‘Must Buy’ and whether you should be forking out any money at all this Black Friday or whether it’s better to wait for the January Sales.
According to consumer guide guru’s Which? around 60% of Black Friday deals aren’t actually the best of year. You can read the full article here.
This post contains affiliate links.
1. Price Anchoring and Fake RRPs
Charlotte Burns over at Lotty Earns recently shared this piece all about price anchoring – a method shops use to make you think something is better value than it really is. Placing a significantly lower value item next to several much more expensive items makes it look like a bargain and people will be far more likely to buy it because it seems so cheap. The dilemma is figuring out whether the cheaper item really is a bargain or whether it just looks like one. Don’t be fooled – research the price of the item elsewhere and be prepared to walk away if you’re not sure (even if you decide to come back later!)
There is also a practice used where shops sell an item at a hugely inflated price for a specific amount of time because they have to sell it at ‘full price’ before they are allowed to reduce it or put it on sale. Having a higher starting price makes it look like consumers are getting a better deal than they actually are.
The recent controversy surrounding the Zoella Advent Calendar is a prime example of this. Boots have been selling the Zoella branded product for £50 (which given the content is an absolute rip off) but as no-one really knew what was inside lots of parent dashed out and bought it for their little darlings, only to be sorely disappointed and end up feeling massively ripped off.
The reason for the massively inflated price?
2. Do your research and Shop Around
While all the deals on Black Friday might seem overwhelming it is so important to take your time and shop around. There are plenty of sites that let you add a product and search for the best deal.
There was recently a lot of controversy around retail giant Argos – who massively increased the prices of some of their toys before a 3 for 2 event. Yes, some of the toys had been on offer, i.e 25% off but many hadn’t. This actually made them more expensive to buy on the 3 for 2 than they had been individually before it.
3. Spending VS Saving
One thing that Black Friday and Cyber Monday try to do is pressure us into buying things we might not necessarily need just because it look like a massive bargain. This is especially true of more expensive items such as TVs and laptops where they try to hook us in with huge discounts such as ‘£200’ off but remember to look at the original price. Was a realistic for the spec of the product?
While you might be ‘saving’ £200 off a £500 product you’re still spending £300. Ask yourself if you really need to.
4. January Sales
Many products that are on offer during Black Friday and Cyber Monday will likely be cheaper in the January sales. If you can hold off buying until then, then do. While younger children may struggle with the concept of having to wait until after Christmas, older children and teens should be able to understand that waiting for a few days until after Christmas may mean you can afford to buy them something you might not have been able to afford otherwise. In particular this work with expensive electrical items such as Phones, TVs and game consoles.
5. Think about Shopping Local
I’m a big fan of supporting local businesses – and while they may that little bit more expensive it’s good to remember that most if the products are handmade with love by people that really care about what they are doing. It also presents the opportunity to buy something that is truly beautiful and unique. By supporting small businesses you are helping normal working Mum’s and Dad’s pay for football or ballet for their kids and put food on the the table – rather than lining the pockets of some already very rich CEO.
Here is a quick list of the 5 small businesses I’m featuring on the blog this Christmas.
- Rocket & Co. (See my full Review here)
- Pack a Punch Designs
- Somerset Toiletries Co
- Beautiful British Designs
- I am Rachel
6. Take some time – Walk Away
Another thing Black Friday does is use time pressure against us to try and make us buy. Amazon is one of the worst companies for this is as the have hourly flash throughout the day. Really ask yourself whether you need a product before buying and remember there are always other deals – don’t be fooled into thinking this will be the only time EVER this product will be on offer.
7. Don’t assume Amazon is Cheapest
Amazon is one probably one the biggest companies that is most associated with having Black Friday deals. However, they are not always the cheapest. If you have the time, make sure you shop around, check prices and make sure you really are getting the best deal before you commit.
There is also the issue with Amazon’s delivery charges – Free Delivery often only applies if you spend over £20. If there is an item in your basket with free delivery included this doesn’t count towards the £20 minimum. This can also be frustrating if the items you are buying are just under the £20 threshold by pennies and the delivery charge is substantial. I have found recently that many of the same products are on eBay with no, or a much smaller delivery charge for the same price, so I end up ordering from there instead.
However there a few things you can do to get around this. If you use Amazon a lot it’s worth signing up for Amazon Prime – which gets you unlimited one day delivery for £79.99 per year. Great if you order a lot. If you don’t then you can always sign up for a 30 day free trial – which is perfect for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the run up to Christmas.
You could also try using Super Saver Delivery, an online tool that lets you search for ‘add on’ products that will top up your basket to make it up to £20 to qualify for free delivery. You avoid delivery charges and get another product, it’s win-win.
8. You have the right to cancel
When ordering online you actually have more rights to return items than you do buying in shops due to distance selling regulations. So if you change your mind about a Black Friday purchase you are well within your rights to return it. You must contact the retailer within 14 days and then have a further 14 days to return it to them.
9. Make A list – Check it Twice
Knowing what you actually need to buy while bargain hunting in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales can make a huge difference to whether or not you actually stick to your budget rather than overspending on stuff you don’t need.
If you’ve already bought some Christmas presents make a list of what you have for each person and what you still need to buy them. It can be so tempting to see things and think ‘Ohh so and so would love that and it’s a bargain! I’ll get it as a little ‘extra’ present’ and then you end up doing this for everyone because you feel guilty about it. Then before you know it you’ve spent an extra £100. Having a list in front of you with items and prices paid can really help you see what you’ve got and what you actually need to buy.
I hope these tips help you save some cash this Black Friday!