With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, Forbes Advisor, an online platform dedicated to helping consumers make smart financial decisions, has created a list of 10 tips for navigating the sales successfully….
Start your research early
- It pays to have an idea of what you want to buy before Black Friday begins, so take the time to do a little research in advance.
- Try not to be swayed by big discounts and buy items you don’t actually need. Make a list of these items to help you to stay focused.
- It’s also worth listing out which retailers sell the same product so that you have a back-up plan in the event a retailer runs out of stock.
Use the right credit card
- Use a 0% purchase credit card, this type of card allows you to stretch payments over several months interest-free – just make sure you clear your balance before the 0% deal ends and interest is charged.
- If you don’t need to spread out your payments and can afford to pay off your balance in full each month it can be worth using a reward credit card instead. These allow you to earn loyalty points at your favourite retailers, airmiles that can be redeemed on flights or holidays, or cashback.
- If you don’t have time to switch credit card and you end up spending more than you can afford to pay back in full, it’s worth moving your debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card, which will allow you to pay back your debt interest-free for a set time.
- Compare Cards to find cards you’re most likely to be approved for, without affecting your credit score.
Set up online accounts in advance
- To make your life easier, it’s worth setting up online accounts with the retailers you plan to shop with ahead of the big day. By doing so, your billing and delivery address details will already be saved, as will your payment information, so checking out will be quick and easy.
Tip: Make sure you use a strong password if you’re planning to save payment details, and don’t use the same password for each retailer.
Check out social media
- It can be worth following your favourite retailers and brands on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to ensure you’re one of the first to hear about any discounts or special offers. You might even be able to take advantage of exclusive offers by liking or following certain posts.
Tip: If you’re messaged directly about a particular deal that asks you to click on a link and provide personal details, it’s probably a scam. If in any doubt whatsoever, don’t click.
Sign up to newsletters
- Signing up to your favourite retailers’ newsletters (if you haven’t already) will often net you 10% or 15% off your first purchase. Some might also give you early access to Black Friday discounts.
Tip: If you’re concerned about receiving an overwhelming number of emails, you could set up a separate email address just for promotional use, or simply unsubscribe once Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over.
- Before making a purchase, search for the product on Google Shopping or through comparison sites such as PriceRunner and Kelkoo as these will tell you whether you can find the same item for less elsewhere.
- Amazon shoppers can also benefit from using tracker service Camelcamelcamel which will show you the price history of millions of Amazon products and help you decide whether you’re getting a good deal.
- If you’re planning to hit the shops in person, providing you have a data allowance on your smartphone, you can also run a quick internet search before heading to the checkout to make sure you can’t get a better deal online.
Check for discount codes
- To grab an even bigger bargain, scan the internet for discount codes using sites such as vouchercodes.co.uk, myvouchercodes.co.uk and hotukdeals.
Tip: Some codes won’t be able to be used on items that are already discounted.
Make the most of abandoned basket discounts
- Some retailers will offer discounts if you leave items in your online basket without completing the purchase.
- To do this, you’ll need to log into your account, add an item to your basket and then close the browser window. You may receive an email from the retailer either later that day or the following one, offering money off to encourage you to complete your purchase.
Tip: This won’t happen every time or with every retailer, so you may only want to try this on purchases you’re not 100% set on. If it’s something you really want, this strategy may be too risky.
Use a cashback website
- It’s also worth checking whether you can earn something back on your purchases by using a cashback website such as Quidco, My Money Pocket or TopCashback. These enable you to earn a percentage of your spend back when you shop at certain retailers. Until 30 November, TopCashback is offering new members £15 cashback on any purchase of £15 or more.
Shop online safely
Finally, it’s important to stay safe and be on the lookout for scams when shopping online. You can do this by:
- using trusted websites or checking reviews of websites you’re less familiar with
- using long and different passwords for each retailer
- checking for the padlock symbol in the address bar next to the website address
- checking the website address starts with https:// – the ‘s’ stands for secure
- avoiding public Wi-Fi to shop online as it is often unsecure, and your personal information can be easily accessed by fraudsters
- being wary of adverts or messages asking you to click on links and provide personal details
- remembering the old adage if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.