Ways to avoid overspending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
We are swamped in Black Friday promotions. From homeware to clothes, holidays and eating out, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t got a deal on.
Many retailers have been running promotions for a couple of weeks now to tempt us to part with our hard-earned cash.
So it looks like, love it or hate it, this US tradition is here to stay in the UK. Whilst the days of long queues outside supermarkets in the early hours and shocking scenes of stampedes for cheap TVs seem to be behind us, the UK is spending more than ever on this new retail festival. UK online shoppers spent £1.49bn on Black Friday in 2018; an increase on the £1.39bn spent online the previous year.
With predictions of a further increase for 2019, how can you prepare to get the best deals and stay in the black?
As hobbies go, shopping can be an expensive one!
First things first, don't impulse buy. Work out what you need or want to buy and how much you're prepared to spend before you start shopping in the sales.
It’s easy to get carried away and be tempted to pay just a little bit more, particularly for something with a significant cost saving. We all know the benefits of budgeting, especially in the run up to Christmas. If you make a list, it should make it easier to stick to your budget.
Cashback sites are a simple idea. Instead of going directly to a shop, you access a retailer's online store through a link from a cashback website. You still receive your item directly from the retailer, but you also get some money from the cashback website. This is often a percentage of the total price you paid. Topcashback and Quidco have their own Black Friday offers. I have a Topcashback account and have earnt £225 in the last twelve months! 😄
Do your research
Some discounted products aren't actually models worth buying, while others can be found for cheaper prices at other times of year. Once you’ve read the reviews and satisfied yourself that you want to make the purchase, start by looking at prices before Black Friday and make a note of them. It will be clear how good the deals actually are. Even better, use a price checker comparison website to hunt out the best deal and the price history of an item.
Research by Which? has shown that many of the deals available which look too good to miss, in reality don’t always represent great bargains. When looking at Black Friday deals, Which? found that 95% of the popular tech, home and personal care products investigated were cheaper or the same price in the six months after!
Question your motives – and others’ too
Will Rogers famously said, “Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like”.
Treating yourself isn’t a crime but just pause before you buy. Are you trying to keep up with the Joneses? Is it something you need or truly want?
Some people shop when they are stressed, or sad, or bored. Perhaps explore the feelings and situations that lead to regretful spending. When you spot them in the future you will be able to take proactive steps.
Finally, be on the alert for scams. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the upcoming festive period provide the perfect environment for cyber criminals – especially since many consumers tend to expect too-good-to-be-true deals this time of year. So for this period, I’d recommend being more cautious and alert to potential phishing emails, checking email links before clicking, and making sure the payment pages of websites have the HTTPS mark at the beginning of the link. If in doubt, you can watch this short video with tips on how to stay safe:
For us at Punter Southall Aspire, financial planning and retirement savings is at the heart of what we do. Whether you are planning on spending a little, or a lot this Black Friday – we just ask that you spend it well! And if you’re looking for longer-term financial advice, just get in touch – we’d be happy to help.
Topics: financial wellbeing