You may have noticed that Black Friday has become increasingly popular here in the UK over the last few years. And this year it looks like it’s going to be bigger and better event than ever. But after hearing so many horror stories in previous years about people getting seriously injured whilst trying to score themselves a nice little discount, I’ve decided that I won’t be visiting my local shopping centre to see what’s on offer. Instead, I’ll be doing my Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my own home.
By doing it this way there will be a lot more retailers at my fingertips than I’ll find in my local town. And I know I’ll be less likely to make any silly impulse buys that I’ll only regret once I get home. That’s got to be a good thing, right? Today I thought I’d share my top tips to help you make the most of shopping online this Black Friday so you can shop like a pro and get the best products at the best prices during those 24+ hours of deals!
01. Make a List
Start by making a list of any items you know you need (or want), and complete it ahead of Black Friday. Having a list to hand will help you stay focused while you are shopping, and you’ll be much less likely to start looking at loads of items that you didn’t really want in the first place, and making impulse purchases that you may regret at a later date. It will also help to ensure you get everything you’d set out to find for friends and family.
I have to admit that I never used to make a list when I was Christmas shopping, and I would almost always come home with bags full of things for myself that I didn’t really need, and just one or two things that I could actually wrap up and give as gifts! I would end up full of regret a few days later when I had no money left but still needed to buy loads of Christmas presents.
02. Learn the Prices
If you know the regular prices of the items you need to buy, then you’ll be in a much better position to spot a good deal when you see one this Black Friday. When there’s so much Christmas shopping to do, the last thing you need is to discover that your ‘great deal’ was actually just a couple of quid knocked off the retail price because you didn’t do your homework. A quick search on Google will only take up a few minutes of your time and you should be able to find an accurate RRP for all the items on your list.
03. Sign Up for Newsletters From Your Favourite Stores
Did you know that retailers often send coupons and sneak peeks in their newsletters a week or so ahead of Black Friday? Well, they do. I’ve already received quite a few this week from places like Amazon, ASOS and Rebecca Minkoff, and I’m expecting to be inundated with them come this time tomorrow. If you’re signed up, not only can you snag discount codes for products or shipping, but you can also get a better idea of what each site has on sale. This puts you way ahead of the game come Black Friday morning as you’ll know exactly where the best deals are, and where you can pick up multiple items together to simplify the whole process and save on shipping costs.
04. Use Cashback Sites
If you’re not already, make sure you sign up to a couple of cashback sites before Black Friday morning. That way, you’ll not only be able to score yourself some awesome products at discounted products, but you’ll be able to get a little bit of cash back as well. How cool is that? I mean, what’s better than free money?
I currently use two really great cashback sites: Quidco, who I’ve been using for years, and TopCashback, who I’ve not been using as long, but think is the better site of the two. They’ve also got a great deal on at the moment where new and selected customers can get 100% cashback at MAC Cosmetics up to £16.50. This equates to a free lipstick! All you have to do is sign up to their website, authenticate your account, and then type ‘MAC Cosmetics – TopCashback New & Selected Member Deal’ into the search bar. You then need to make the purchase yourself, and TopCashback will refund your money within 3 working days! It’s the perfect way to treat yourself or a loved one this Christmas.
PLUS, if you sign up to TopCashback using my referral link, you’ll bag yourself a free £5 Amazon UK Gift Card as well. You really can’t grumble at that!
05. Search the Web for Discount Codes
In addition to coupons in newsletters, you can often find some fantastic discount codes on a plethora of coupons sites around the world wide web. Why not do a search on Google for some of your favourite retailers and save any promo codes you come across to try out on Black Friday? Examples of what you could type into the Google search bar are:
New Look discount codes | Cox and Cox Coupons | Feel Unique vouchers
I almost always do this when I’m ordering something online, and nine times out of ten I will find a coupon for free shipping at the very least. Like I said before, there are loads of different coupon sites scattered around the internet. Many of the codes you find on them won’t work, but it’s worth trying them at the very least as you might find one that’s amazing!
06. Set Up Accounts in Advance if You Haven’t Already
To be fair, you’re more than likely to have already signed up for accounts at your favourite retailers. But if you haven’t, now is the time to change that. Don’t wait until Black Friday morning when you’re wanting to purchase lots of different things from lots of different retailers as you’ll only end up annoyed at yourself for not doing it sooner and wasting valuable time while you fill in form after form after form!
Having an account set up and your login information saved and ready to go at the click of a button will make it so much easier when you’re trying to check out. And, in the case of time-sensitive deals, it could be the difference between snagging that great price and missing out!!
07. Time Matters on Black Friday
You may not have to stand in queues for hours on end or contend with a stream of heavy traffic, but what time you visit a site on Black Friday still matters. Most retailers will have limited stock and limited time offers on the very best deals, so if you’re not one of the first to add it to your cart and check out, you’re more than likely to miss out. Many sites start their sales at midnight, and although you’re free to log on and start your shopping whenever you feel like it, I’d always recommend getting in there as quickly as possible. There’s definitely a reason people tell you that the early bird catches the worm!
08. Think About Your Budget
With all the talk of limited time deals and one-time-only sales, it’s easy to get swept up in shopping mania! But, if like most Christmas shoppers, you have a strict budget that you need to stick to, then you really do need to take care of how much you’re spending. I would suggest only buying the things you’ve written down on your list (see tip one) and spending no more money on each product than the specified recommended retail price (see tip two). This way you’ll have a good idea beforehand of how much you’re likely to spend on Black Friday. If you manage to get more money off of those items than you were expecting to, you’ll spend a lot less and be much happier about it. I realise that everyone loves a good deal, but you don’t want to make purchases that you’re going to regret later because you didn’t really want or need them.
09. Shop at Reputable Stores
Remember, if a deal sound too good to be true, then it probably is! Stick to sites you know and trust to reduce any risk of buying from somewhere unscrupulous. If you do find yourself at a store you’re not familiar with, do a quick internet search and make sure they have a recognisable web presence. And no matter what site you’re on, the checkout page should be encrypted through a secure connection to ensure your credit and debit card details remain protected. You can easily check this by making sure the web address of the page starts with https (the ‘s’ is for secure) instead of just regular old http.
10. Take a Break If It’s Getting Too Much
If you find yourself wanting to make numerous purchases of things that you don’t really want or need then it’s most definitely time to step away from your computer/laptop/iPad etc and take a break! Every site you visit is designed to keep you shopping, so if you’re noticing a strong deviation from your original shopping list I would most definitely recommend making yourself a cup of tea and having a shopping break of at least 30 minutes before you log back on to finish your list.
11. Keep Copies of All E-mail Confirmations & Receipts
After you’ve completed your purchase, it’s a good idea to take a screenshot of your order confirmation page and save it in addition to the email invoice you get from your retailer. With Black Friday being such a busy shopping day, sometimes retailer or shipping companies make mistakes. If that happens to your order, the more proof you have, and the better armed you will be in getting it straightened out right away. And of course, you can also return any of those pesky impulse buys that just weren’t worth it when they arrive. Phew!
And finally, in addition to this list, please remember that while Black Friday is a great time to take care of some of your Christmas shopping, it’s not the only time you have. There are still another 4 weeks to ‘wrap up’ getting the rest of your gifts. These days you’ll find that most retailers promote deals all year round, so there’s a good chance that you’ll still be able to bag yourself a bargain. In fact, a couple of years ago I picked up a Wii U console with 2 controllers and 4 games for just £152.99 a good few weeks before Black Friday, yet everywhere else I looked they were being sold for £179.99 with just one controller and one game. Needless to say, I was over the moon with that particular deal!
So there you have it, guys – my top tips for shopping online this Black Friday. I hope you found them all useful.