We hate to break it to you, but despite its importance in the calendar, Black Friday doesn’t have a deep, meaningful origin. It’s all about shopping; Black Friday deals equal online shopping and in-store shopping! This annual event has become synonymous with mass purchase, images of people camping on the high street, arguing in car parks and some of the biggest discounts on the planet.
And it can be a bit daunting. There are so many retailers and so many products and so many discounts, it gets confusing. What to look at first? Where to go?
So, as experienced fellow shoppers, well in advance of the day we’ve compiled some helpful tips to simplify things and make life easier for yourself. Whether you’ll be browsing online or heading to your local shopping centre, read through and see if you can make serious savings stress-free!
1. Sign up to online mailing lists
Compile a list of your favourite retailers, and join some mailing lists beforehand (ahem, our own Red Letter Days emails come highly recommended, do sign up if you’re partial to exclusive discounts, promotions and more). The biggest discounts will literally come to you by email, saving all that browsing through their site!
2. Work out which brands WON’T have sales
Certain big brands historically opt out every year, and often this makes the news. In the past the biggest outsider was Apple, so if you were after an iPad or iPhone, you’ll have wanted to focus on a third-party stockist like Argos (who have ALREADY started Black Friday discounting) instead for your iPad wants. However, even this giant company is joining in (proof as if it were needed that Black Friday is a permanent fixture and not going anywhere), but our top tip is not to expect to get reductions on that most lusted after new smartphone, the iPhone X is firmly not for discounting.
3. Get a price comparison app
There’s an app for everything these days, and we recommend ShopSavvy, Shopular and SlickDeals. They’ll compare prices for you, without fifteen hundred open pages and twenty pop-ups on your screen.
4. Make sure your internet connection is good, and passwords are at the ready
Online shopping can be competitive. There’s one pair of trainers left – and your internet’s slow, or you forget your PayPal password – aaand it’s gone. Not a nice feeling. If only you’d remembered that capital letter, lower case letter and number combination in time!
5. Work out what you want, and what you need
The two are rarely the same thing, in our experience. Don’t buy things you’ll never want or need (nose hair trimmers, 43-piece all-purpose kitchen tools which peel eggs/make carrot flowers and odd exercise tools are all big culprits). Spend your money on things that will make you (or someone else) happy.
1. Remember, Black Friday isn’t just for items
Black Friday is also a great chance to get food, drinks and even national and international flights and hotel stays at much lower prices. Don’t neglect restaurants, bars and travel agents!
2. Pay attention to the TV and newspapers
Brands will often advertise their best in-store deals through adverts, and also opening and closing times. Which leads us to our next point.
3. Item availability, opening hours and location – check before leaving the house!
Choose a store that’s local, not in Oxford Street, if you want to avoid crowds. The sport of full-contact shopping and turning up to find the item’s out of stock is just no fun. Call your chosen store and ask for opening times, and ask if your item’s available.
4. Check your route – traffic, delays and more
Check Google live for traffic reports if you’re driving, and TFL for possible public transport delays in London. Remember that rush hour will pretty much be 10am – 10pm! Will there be somewhere to park, or will you end up stuck in a jam of people honking at each other?
5. Don’t take things too seriously, and take advantage of how busy everyone is!
If you don’t feel like shopping, remember, there’ll be plenty of parks and attractions which should be less busy than usual. And don’t get drawn into arguing over stuff if you are shopping – it’s just stuff! Plus, Cyber Monday’s still to come…