Christmas is approaching at an alarming rate, and if you haven’t started to prepare for it yet but want to get organised then this is the post for you! For the past few years I have started and ended my Christmas shopping over the Black Friday weekend – mainly because I know I’m usually getting the best deal possible (compared with buying a few weeks before or after) and secondly because then it’s all done and dusted and I can relax and enjoy December.
Why Black Friday?
The first couple of years this became “a thing” over here, I was dead against it. Another money grabbing scheme borrowed from America which doesn’t even make any sense as, unlike there, the majority of people are at work rather than enjoying a long Thanksgiving weekend. Media footage of long queues and people having fisticuffs in the aisles over cut price TVs did nothing to endear it to me either.
But it seemed that somewhere along the lines, lessons were learnt and rather than the massive queues and over hyped offers, we are left with a 4 day weekend of cut price offers, many of these can be taken advantage of online from the comfort of your own home. It therefore seems daft not to take advantage of offers knowing that the prices are only going to go back up in December when you might have otherwise started your Christmas shopping.
These are my top tips for taking advantage of Black Friday:
- Plan what you are going to buy each person beforehand
It’s nice to give surprises but I find it even more helpful if people have given me suggestions of what they would like. Obviously this depends on your relationship with them but with close family or friends this can be easier. If I don’t have a suggestion from them then I try and start to think of ideas a few weeks beforehand.
Stuck for ideas? Check out my gift guide posts for 2018 – coming soon!
- Research prices before Black Friday
Start looking at the prices as soon as you have an idea of the items you want to buy. This is when if I see an item on a really good deal beforehand I will choose to buy it there and then. Otherwise, having an idea of what the items are without any discounts will let you know if you truly are getting a good deal when Black Friday offers start to appear – I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of when offers don’t actually turn out to be any better value.
- Use Cashback sites and loyalty cards
So Black Friday rolls around and some of the items you were after aren’t on any particular offer. This is when you can still get discounts using cashback sites. Quidco and TopCashback often have big increases in the amount you can save if you shop via them. Always make sure that using the cashback still gives you the best deal – if you can find an item cheaper with no cashback then it goes without saying to go for the cheaper offer.
I also love my Boots Advantage card for getting “cashback” in Boots on Christmas gifts. I usually end up buying gifts from their 3 for 2 range and combining with Advantage Card offers such as 500 points when spending X amount. I then save my points to buy things for myself in the Boxing Day sales.
- Stack discounts
This is great where it will work – for example, some online shops might have 20% off storewide for Black Friday. If you combine this with items that are already in the sale you can get double discounts. I managed to do this last year on the WWE online shop when buying some wrestling themed gifts for friends (yes wrestling!). As an example, a wrestling tshirt that was originally £22 worked out around £3 with sale reductions and additional Black Friday discount.
Don’t forget eBay for this – Many high street stores such as Joules have eBay outlet stores for brand new stock at discount prices. If eBay have a storewide Black Friday discount (which is very likely) then you could combine these 2 discounts for double savings.
Be quick though as the popular sizes and items always sell out fast on these type of offers – which is why it pays to be organised and swoop in early!
- Research discounts before heading to the high street
I still enjoy browsing the high street for gifts you may not have thought of unless seeing them in a shop, but don’t expect massive Boxing Day style sales on Christmas stock on the high street. There are discounts to be had, such as last year Debenhams and New Look both had 30% off across the store for the whole weekend. As I knew I needed to buy pyjamas and stocking fillers so it made sense to buy them here rather than elsewhere with no discount. By knowing which shops are offering what it makes it easier for you to plan where you want to visit. As I work near the Trafford Centre I ventured there on the Thursday night before Black Friday and found lots of the offers had already started, and the mall was reasonably quiet. I then did the rest of my shopping online!
To sum up:
-Know what you are looking for beforehand
-Research the current price
-If it’s currently on a good offer – buy it – if not, wait for Black Friday
-If it’s not on offer, try and get discount via cashback sites / offers
-If it’s still not on offer, buy knowing this is very likely the best price it is going to be before Christmas.
It goes without saying that budgeting for Christmas is an absolute must – read how I save all year round without even noticing!
Do you have any other tips for Christmas shopping? Let me know in the comments!