Waiting for Black Friday to get a jump on your Christmas shopping? This guide can help you prepare and avoid the chaos by shopping like a pro.
Here are eight tips to make sure you get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
Making a list of the things you want to buy is a good place to start your Black Friday splurge. This way you know the items you want to research and narrow down the items you really want. If you're planning to do your Christmas shopping, your list should answer both who you'll buy for and what you plan to spend per person.
The hardest part of shopping on Black Friday is to reign in your spending. With hundreds of deals on offer it's easy to get carried away and spend more than you intended to. Once you have your wishlist, you can budget for how much you want to spend on each item.
While making a budget is great, it's only useful if you stick to it. Black Friday isn't a day for browsing the shops and buying what strikes your fancy. It's a strategic mission that needs to be carried out with military precision. If you come across something irresistible that's not on your list, only buy it if you're willing to cut something else off your list.
If you're planning to charge your shopping on a credit card consider getting a credit card that's best for how you intend to pay for your shopping.
For example, if you're want to spend now and pay it off later over time you might consider getting a 0% purchase card. These cards offer long introductory interest free periods and low APRs. This way you can spread the cost of your shopping without paying interest on top as long as you pay off the balance before the interest-free period ends. Alternatively, a cashback credit card can also help you boost your holiday shopping savings. Combining deals from retailers by using rewards points or cash back offers can help you get more bang for your buck.
Getting a new credit card may not be for everyone. If you already have a lot of credit card debt and you feel tempted to overspend, it's better to pass on taking on more debt.
Read our guide on how to choose the best credit card for your needs.
When planning for Black Friday, research is the name of the game. If you know what you want to buy, research different brands and different retailers to find who offers the best deal. If you're buying electronics, it helps to compare brands as they can offer similar specs for different prices. You can also use tools like CamelCamelCamel, which lets you track the price of specific items sold on Amazon.
That said, it's also a mistake to make your buying decisions just on price. It's more about getting value for your money. Often Black Friday isn't always the best day for a bargain.
If you're planning to book your next holiday on Black Friday, make sure you don't forget to get travel insurance when you book your getaway. Plans don't always go smoothly, and given the recent collapse of Thomas Cook that left thousands of travellers stranded around the world, it makes sense to be prepared.
If you plan to do most of your shopping online, it's useful to sign up for accounts with the retailers you plan to shop with. Make sure your billing and delivery information is correct. This can save you time on the day, as items can sell out fast on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so every minute counts. Retailers also send out dedicated Black Friday mailing lists with their best deals well before Black Friday. Signing up early will make sure you're among the first to know.
If you're going to spend money, why not get the most out of it? Airline online shopping portals award members with miles for making purchases with dozens - if not hundreds - of retailers.
At the most basic level, you can be earning bonus points and miles for making purchases that you'd be making regardless. You're still purchasing the exact same things directly from the same retailer.
The only UK-based airlines that have shopping portals on which can earn you miles are British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
In order to start earning on your online purchases, all you need to do - if you already haven't - is sign up to the British Airways Executive Club and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club programmes. Then, the next time you're thinking of doing some online shopping, make sure you check each of the shopping portals first to see if your retailer of choice is featured as one of the airline's shopping partners.
Before you know it, you could fund your next holiday simply by buying yourself a new wardrobe.
On Black Friday, the early bird catches the worm. Most large retailers start publishing their Black Friday deals from midnight on Thursday, although some deals start appearing earlier in the week. But it's not uncommon for websites to crash as a result of the huge influx of traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So it might be a good idea to wake up early during the quieter buying period to do your shopping.
This year Black Friday falls on 29 November, followed by Cyber Monday on 2 December.
Black Friday's origins trace back to the US. Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November. So the following Friday is an unofficial holiday. This is when many people are off work and tend to do most of their Christmas shopping.
Retailers began opening earlier on Friday, offering huge discounts. Soon, it became an annual shopping holiday, with many retailers kicking off their sales on Black Friday and ending on Cyber Monday.
The term Black Friday is thought to be a reference to retailers going "into the black" as a result of the volume of sales on the day. This is based on the historical accounting practice of using black ink, as opposed to red ink, to denote positive income.
Think of Cyber Monday as Black Friday's twin brother. The only difference is that the deals offered are online. The term was coined back in 2005 by two Americans from the US National Retail Federation. It was an attempt to promote online shopping when it was still in its infancy. It was also intended to help smaller retailers compete with the big name retailers such as Amazon.
Find the best credit card for you, whether you're looking for 0% card for balance transfers or purchases or day to day spending and rewards