Black Friday Survival Guide - Braving the crowds
Plum is a finance savvy chatbot that uses AI to help you manage your money, save, invest, and be better off. In ‘Savings Squad’, we feature all the best tips and tricks to help you make the most of your money. You can also join our Facebook group of people saving with Plum for more tips and advice from real users.
Here at Plum we have teamed up with some of our favourite UK money bloggers to bring you the best tips and golden rules to help you survive Black Friday.
So you think you're going to do the Black Friday thing. Now what?
Here are the top tips to make sure you get the best bargains:
DO YOUR RESEARCH:
'If you're easily tempted whenever the you see the letters S A L E, then make sure you’re well prepared!' - @ProseccoandLemonade 'It’s potentially a day to wreak havoc on your finances UNLESS you’ve thought about
it way in advance.'- @femalemoneydoc
1. Scope out their prices beforehand.
'Make a list of the items you want or need before Black Friday. This will help you look out for genuine savings.' - @KatyKicker 'Many retailers put the prices of items up during black friday.' - @Scottishsavings 'When Black Friday hits you know exactly what the prices were beforehand and who is offering the best price during the event. That way you aren't being sold a false economy and parting with more of your hard earned money than you need too.' - @mymoneymakingmummy 'A lot of stores will put the item up a couple of days before and then reduce it for Black Friday. Argos is well known for doing this'- @woahmyaimee
2. Do your sums.
'Many of the ‘amazing’ deals last year were no different from the normal sale prices!' - @frugafamilyuk 'Sign up to newsletters in advance of Black Friday and see if they’re actually offering that much of a discount.'- @thefrugalfox 'Check for price guarantees. Argos at the moment are doing a price guarantee, where if you buy the item now and it's cheaper on Black Friday at Argos they refund the money.'- @woahmyaimee
3. Read product reviews.
'That non-branded microwave for only £9 is likely awful and you’ll end up paying more to replace in the future. Read the product reviews and don’t accept a lesser quality product.' - @thefrugalfox
4. Shop around.
'Make sure you are comparing like with like. Avoid having regrets later on by simply spending a few minutes typing the product into google to compare the prices on a few different sites.'- @ProseccoandLemonade 'Play retailers off against each other by doing comparisons and finding the cheapest place to buy from.' @thriftymummathriftybubba
5. Check your returns and warranty policy.
'Return and exchange rules for each retailer may vary, especially during this period. Find this out before making payment to ensure impulse purchases can be returned.'- @Financegirldaily 'You don't want to buy something that can only be returned for credit note or can’t be fixed in the future.'- @thefrugalfox
6. Set goals.
'If you are feeling REALLY savvy and strict you can also make a note of the saving you’d like to make on each item and say no thanks if you aren’t making that saving.' - @mattresstomaison 'If you have £200 put aside in your November budget, first thing on the morning of Black Friday, check out which shop is selling it for the lowest price within your budget. If you cannot find it within your budget DON’T BUY IT!' - @mummylifeonabudget
So you’ve done your research and you feel ready. Now let’s take your Black Friday skills from apprentice to pro.
WORK THE SYSTEM:
'Be sure to use cash back sites and extra voucher codes where possible.' - @Financegirldaily
1. Cashback baby.
Sign up to cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback before the big day. 'Link up your cards to get discounts and keep a lookout for any special offers they certainly will be running! It’s likely you will get a small percentage back for spending through their site.'- @ProseccoandLemonade
'It’s also worth checking out discount codes to make a further saving as some of them still work even if the item is on sale!' @femalemoneydoc 'If you have any points on loyalty cards or gift cards that need using up, make the most of them now to maximise your savings. Don't leave them sat in your purse, make the most of them and take advantage of their benefits.' -@Mymoneymakingmummy
3. Loyal for life.
'If you have your eye on something online and they have a reward programme, it’s worth signing up now so your account is linked and ready. It’s common for companies to offer extra discounts on your first order or during sales simply for signing up'.- @ProseccoandLemonade 'If you have a good loyalty program with one company, it might be better in terms of rewards to pay a little more. Compare perks and savings before you jump in.' - @thefrugalfox
4. Card club.
'Make use of your Cashback Credit Cards or Current Account offers. There’s a few cashback Credit Cards out there at the moment which will give you a percentage return on your spend. TSB is worth checking out as they offer 1% cashback when you spend up to £500. Also check what offers you may have on your Current Account that you may not be aware of. Halifax and First Direct offer year round cashback from a wide selection of stores.' - @ProseccoandLemonade
5. Big ticket items.
'All year I have been using a washing machine that requires you to find the exact sweet spot on the top of the lid to push down on to make the cycle start. To make it worse, you don’t know the load is starting until after it fills up with water. So you have to be sure to remember to go check on your
load in the washer or it will just sit there soaking. Annoying right? I have been waiting for this exact time of the year to replace it. Why? Because all of the great deals! If these are things you already need now is a
great time to purchase them.' - @twentynineandterrified 'Make sure you are actually buying what you need to buy.'- @woahmyaimee
KEEP YOUR COOL ON THE DAY:
'Organisation is key and a strong will is essential to navigate through the mayhem of what Black Friday can bring.' - @mymoneymakingmummy
1. Organise your money wallets and purses.
'Find and store all your reward and store cards for when you go out shopping. Key fobs are becoming popular and useful. But don’t worry if you have lost your cards, you can usually request a replacement or get the membership number when you log into your account online.' - @ProseccoandLemonade
2. Make a list and check it twice.
'Lists help you plan, rethink and keep focused to stop the tempting impulse purchases on things you don’t really need. List things you have been saving for or need at the top. These could be requested Christmas present from family or friends. Things you would buy regardless if it goes sale on sale or not.' - @ProseccoandLemonade 'Try not to stray from the list as in my experience, this is when things go to pot.' - @mattresstomaison
3. Be careful of those trend items.
'My top tip for fashion items is to look for classic staples such as black boots. Those orange and yellow boots might be 70% off but if your not going to wear them then it’s still money you’ve wasted or extra hassle to return them.'- @ProseccoandLemonade 'Don’t buy for the sake of it. That fancy-pants item you saw 5 minutes ago that you MUSTHAVE NOW because it’s on display in the “sale” is what I’m talking about. You didn’t even know it existed before then, so it’s not a genuine want.'- @femalemoneydoc
4.Beware of multi-buys.
'Do you really need two or three of the same items? You may think you are getting a bargain, but in reality you just have a duplicate item.' - @Scottishsavings
5. Stay on the path.
'A detour into a few other stores will only leave you with unwanted items and a low bank balance.' - @Scottishsavigns 'If there is that one friend who you shop with who is terrible with money and eggs you on to buy stuff, don’t go out with them on major shopping days like Black Friday.'- @femalemoneydoc
6. Prep your Payment.
'Sign up to websites you’re planning to shop at on Black Friday and pre-add your payment details. That way when the sales hit, you can check out speedily.' - @thefrugalfox 'Add items to your wishlist or basket a few days before black friday. If the items are included in black friday excellent - if not nothing is lost.' - @Scottishsavings
7. Early bird gets the worm.
Online? 'Set your alarm and shop at midnight to secure your deals. There are loads of online exclusive deals offering free delivery or click and collect.'- @ProseccoandLemonade In-store? 'Queue up early. If you must go to the shops then make a day of it and queue up with a friend,a thermos and a magazine to be in first. The first 30 minutes are the most crucial for finding the deals.' - @thefrugalfox 'Clothing sales need to be done earlier as within my experience all my sizes sell out and sell out FAST.' -@mattresstomaison
8. Shop online.
Ditch the masses and get comfy. ‘I am a big proponent of online shopping because it helps me to be less impulsive. If you have a plan and know what you really want most you are less likely to just grab things and toss them in the cart because it is “ a good deal."- @twentynineandterrified 'I’m quite competitive with stuff like that so I know I would get dragged in! Also I feel like you are definitely less likely to panic buy this way because you won’t get swept up in the hype with everyone else.'- @mattresstomaison
9. Stick to the budget.
'Make sure you stay accountable. Write down all your spending and keep a running total… it can add up very quickly. If you have a budget before you start, you can count down if that’s easier to see where the money has gone, and what you have left.'- @frugalfamilyUK 'An easy way to control spending during black friday is to get a prepaid card or alternatively take cash. Always leave debit / credit cards at home.'- @Scottishsavings 'Pre-transfer a set amount of money into your PayPal account and only use that for purchases. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.'- @femalemoneydoc
10. Seriously. Stick to the budget.
11. 'Only spend what you can afford.
It’s easy to get carried away so make sure you work out your spending limit beforehand and stick to it. Don’t put yourself in a position where you end up paying high rates on your Credit Cards and wipe out any discounts you snagged.'- @ProseccoandLemonade 'Always make sure you have the money in the first place. Don’t buy anything on credit, no matter how good the deal is!'- @mattresstomaison
Deciding to give the shops a miss? Head over to Part 2 to see all the best tips for avoiding the mayhem.