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Black Friday blinkers: how to shop smart during the sale of the season

A shopping event we inherited from the States, Black Friday has become a key part of the Christmas shopping calendar. But how do we avoid overspending right before Christmas, and make sure we're shopping safely when we do find a good deal?

People shopping

Be smart

Make sure it's actually a deal

If you know what you're looking for before the big event, make a note of the prices around the web and in store beforehand. You'll easily spot a real deal.

Make a realistic budget

Before you get swept up in the buzz of cut-price plasma screens, set yourself a budget you can stick to. Check in with your current financial health and use this as an opportunity to work out your Christmas budget ahead of time. How much did you spend last year? Do you want to spend more or less this time around? Think about the things that make Christmas special for you and your loved ones. Are the food and drink more important to you than the decorations? Could the adults be encouraged to do secret Santa instead of individual gifts?

Stay safe

Look for these 3 things when shopping online

  1. The padlock symbol next to the URL
  2. Spelling mistakes – typos re a big givaway
  3. The "s" in https:// on your browser - it stands for security.

Know your rights

Ever heard of Section 75? It's a law that protects credit card purchases over £100. This means if there's a problem with the product or the company that sold it to you, you should be protected. For example, let’s say you bought a camera online in the Black Friday sale for £150 with a credit card. If the company goes out of business and doesn't deliver the camera, or it doesn't work when it arrives, you might be able to claim the lost money back.

Save money

Avoid impulse buys

As most retailers have Black Friday offers online, the good news is you don't have to subject yourself to punch ups in the car park. (We've all seen the videos.) You'll also be undistracted by the glitzy Christmas displays that tempt us in store. So. Sparkly.

Keep that special someone in mind

Buying Christmas presents in advance is always a bonus for budgeting. Use Black Friday as an opportunity to stock up on stocking fillers and you’ll have another pay check (or two, if you're lucky) before Christmas. A little breathing space to pay off the big bargains.