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Six important questions to ask yourself before buying anything on Black Friday

Mirror logo Mirror 25/11/2021 Emma Munbodh

Black Friday is less than a day away and a raft of deals and offers from our favourite retailers have already begun.

John Lewis, Asda and Currys are among chains planning more deals this year for the sales event, despite struggles with sourcing stock and recruiting drivers for home deliveries.

Even Ikea is offering 20% extra in refunds on old furniture items brought back for resale.

But, while consumers are tipped to spend £9bn this weekend, figures show 90% of Black Friday 'deals' are actually cheaper at other times of the year.

Common electricals including vacuum cleaners and electric toothbrushes are also more expensive now than they were in the summer.

While Black Friday can be the perfect opportunity to secure good discounts if you want to get a head start on Christmas , it can also be a little too easy to be get carried away in the the sales hype – sometimes resulting in overspending.

So, to help objectify your spending, here are six questions to ask yourself before spending a penny this Black Friday.

1. Can I afford it?

Before considering which retailers you want to browse during the Black Friday Sales, you should map out a realistic sum of how much you can afford to spend, fitting this into your regular expenses.

"Budgeting is one of the most effective ways to manage your spending and might help you resist some of the “bargains” if you know it is still more than you really should be spending," explains Sally Conway, head of consumer communications at Shawbrook Bank.

Take the time to assess your current financial situation and consider your priorities for the rest of the year to work out how much you realistically have spare.

For example, do you need to reserve some extra money for Christmas with the socialising and present buying often adding up.

2. Is this something I really need?

As much as it feels like you should decide quickly to avoid stock running out during Black Friday weekend, try to think carefully before making any purchases and consider whether it is something you actually need - especially if it’s expensive.

Conway says: "If you are needing to buy more expensive items then it could be a great time to do so, so long as you are being objective and don’t let the desire of ‘wanting’ over ‘needing’ take over."

If you wouldn’t buy the item full price, then you should consider if it is worth spending even half of that. Or, if it’s not something you need right now, consider holding out until the Christmas sales and seeing if you still want it then.

3. How much money am I actually saving?

The lure of Black Friday has always been the perceived huge deals that we see on store shelves or online. However, the amount of money you can save is sometimes too good to be true.

"Some retailers use the period before Black Friday as an opportunity to inflate the price of items, only to then reduce them for the sales to make the bargain seem greater than it actually is," warns Conway.

"So, take the time to check how much a product has been sold for previously so you can work out whether the ‘sale’ price really represents good value."

If you are sure that your item will be worth the money, do some price comparisons with other brands or check that you can return the item if you find a better price elsewhere.

4. Is this a quality product?

It’s no use grabbing a bargain if the product is poor quality so always check the reviews first. It pays to do your research here too.

If your Black Friday shopping plan involves buying Christmas presents for loved ones, you may be struggling to narrow down on gift ideas.

Make sure you consider your options, for example, you might want to consider buying one or two higher quality items instead of buying lots of lower-quality gifts.

5. How can I maximise my value for money?

Brands will publicise far and wide ahead of Black Friday how much you can save on their sale items – but there might be ways you can save even more pennies.

When shopping online, websites like Hot UK Deals and voucher code sites have pages dedicated to the current discount codes and offers available

Or, there are also extensions you can add to your browser like Honey or Pouch that automatically search for discount codes when you’re on selected sites.

"Websites like Quidco and TopCashBack also offer cash back on a wide range of retailers," explains Conway.

"It’s free to sign up and you can get the money paid directly into your bank account or in vouchers once you reach a certain amount."

6. How will I pay for it?

You should assess the most sensible and safest way to make a payment before rushing into any purchases in the Black Friday sales, especially for online transactions.

Apply the rules of good personal finance management. Avoid paying for any items on your credit card if you do not have the funds to pay it off within the month. You can very easily fall into the slippery slope of overspending and lose track of how much you need to pay back afterwards.

Whatever your plans are for Black Friday, whether you’re hitting the high street, internet browsing or avoiding the sales at all costs, make sure you map out how your spending can fit into your overall budget.

Everyone deserves to treat themselves once in a while, but make sure you spend sensibly and in moderation.

If you're shopping online, a credit card is one of the safest ways to pay as you're covered by Section 75 refund rights.

Also check you are paying securely - for example not through a public wi-fi connection.

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