Picture the scene; It’s black Friday, your eyes are drooping, your stomach is growling, your children are screaming. Slumped at the end of a snaking queue, the tills are a dot at the other end of the shop. Your anxiety levels are climbing faster than your credit card bill. Worst of all, the thing you came in the shop for has already sold out!
Sound familiar? Well it doesn’t have to be like this! Our Money Advice Officer has put together some Do’s and Don’ts to help you take the stress out of your Black Friday escapades.
Set yourself a budget, start saving early and be realistic about what you can provide. Do your research and find out which companies are selling what you are looking for. Plan your route and the order of the shops you want to visit ahead of time and in your order of priority so you don’t miss out on what you want most.
Check deals in different retailers and also check if things are cheaper online. It might take a bit of extra time, but the savings will be worth it.
Use apps and social media to keep up to date with who has what deal. Check voucher sites – their offers might be even better than the retailer’s deals, or you might even be able to use a voucher on an already discounted item. MoneySavingExpert also has a great resource for keeping on top of Black Friday deals.
It’ll probably be a long day with a lot of walking and standing around in queues. The restaurants and café’s will also probably be really busy. Make sure you have plenty of drinks and maybe even pack some food so you’re not wasting time queuing somewhere for lunch.
Thieves revel in the hustle and bustle at this time of year. Keep your belongings safe, your purse/wallet stowed close to your body, and be very vigilant when using your bank cards, especially for contactless payments.
Remember Christmas should be a time of fun with family, not stress and arguments. Be nice to other shoppers and don’t have the mentality of ‘everyone for themselves’. You won’t land every deal you want, but don’t dwell on it and just move on – there’ll be lots more bargains to find.
Don’t spend more than you can afford
Stick to your budget. Don’t be tempted by deals – nothing’s worth getting into financial trouble for. If you’re using a credit card, don’t spend more than you can pay off in full straight away. There’s nothing worse than spending half of the next year paying off Christmas debt. You could be saving up for a nice summer holiday, or even get a head start on next Christmas instead!
Don’t fall for sneaky tactics
Make sure you are getting a genuine deal. Lots of retailers hike prices in the run-up to Christmas so they can make it look like they’ve been slashed when they haven’t really. Try websites like PriceSpy which will show you a product price histories so you can spot phoney deals.
Don’t give in to impulse
If it’s not on your list, don’t buy it. It’s far too easy to throw something in a basket just because it’s there and lose track of how much you’ve spent and how much is left in your budget. Keep your rational head on your shoulders!
Don’t rely on deals for Christmas presents
You’ll more than likely end up being disappointed if you try to get all your Christmas shopping done on these days. Just treat it as part of the process and a head-start on Christmas.
Don’t go just for the sake of it
If you know you’re the type of person who is easily tempted or hates crowds and queues, just take yourself out of the situation and stay at home. With forward planning and good bargain hunting, you can get decent deals all year round – and you can spread the cost more.
If you’re feeling the pinch this Christmas, find out more about our free money advice service to see how we have helped fellow residents save thousands of pounds in grants, benefits and debt repayment savings.