Black Friday bargains? Are they real or just hype?
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Black Friday still feels like quite a new trend in the UK. In fact it tiptoed into our radar in 2010, when Amazon introduced online Black Friday sales in the UK. But Black Friday first came to most people’s attention in 2013, with news reports of Asda customers fighting over TVs and other electronic gadgets, desperate to get a bargain.
This year Black Friday is on Friday 27th November. But can you actually get a great bargain on Black Friday? Or is it all just hype?
Let’s take a look.
What is Black Friday anyway?
Black Friday originates from the USA and is always the day after Thanksgiving. It has become the official start of the Christmas shopping season in the USA. Events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all prepare the way for a shopping frenzy the following day.
In traditional accounting, if a business is making a profit it is described as being “in the black”; but if it is in debt it is “in the red”. So the name Black Friday refers to the hope that businesses have of making a lot of solid profit on Black Friday. Some businesses rely on Black Friday profits to keep their bank balances out of the red for the rest of the year.
Are Black Friday sales just for one day?
Inevitably, Black Friday has gradually extended beyond one single day. For several years, it has been followed by Cyber Monday, which this year is Monday 30th November. Cyber Monday is the online version of Black Friday. It was originally very much a separate event, but now that a large proportion of shopping is online anyway, many stores run a five day event from Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday. This is known as Black Fiveday.
Of course, this year is very different due to Covid-19. Many retail businesses have more stock to shift, yet are currently unable to open for face to face customers due to Covid restrictions. So, this year more than ever, Black Friday is likely to be an extended event. Some businesses are already running sales and calling them Black November.
How do I find a real bargain?
The most important thing to do if you want to find a real Black Friday bargain is to be prepared. You need to decide what you want to buy in advance and then do your research. Specifically, you need to know:
- The brand you prefer;
- The features of the item that are essential, in case there are different versions;
- The full price you would normally expect to pay.
You also need to look at a broad range of retailers and decide which you would prefer to buy from if the price is right. Perhaps it is a retailer you have bought from before and had excellent service, or it’s a company you trust will sort things out if anything goes wrong after purchase.
Some of the retailers that are expected to participate in Black Friday this year are:
- Appliances Direct
- Carphone Warehouse
- Currys PC World
- John Lewis
- Robert Dyas
- Virgin Media
But make sure that you have all the information you need in advance, so that you can make a quick and sensible decision on Black Friday.
It is also really important not to get distracted. If, for example, you are looking for a new microwave, then stick with looking for that, even if you start getting bombarded with offers for other products that you really don’t need. Never buy an item just because it seems to be a bargain. Only buy what you need.
What if I need extra money for Black Friday?
We’ve just stressed the importance of only buying what you need. It’s also important to only spend what you can afford.
So before you buy anything on Black Friday, start by setting yourself a budget. You need to have in mind your maximum spend on any item before you even start looking. Otherwise it can be very easy to get carried away and end up in debt.
But what do you do if there is something you really do need, and it’s at a great price, but you don’t actually have the money? An instant solution would seem to put it on your credit card. In one way this can be a good way to buy online as you are legally protected by the Consumer Credit Act, for purchases between £100 and £30,000. This means that if anything goes wrong with your purchase, and the seller either can’t or won’t sort it out, you can make a claim against your credit card company.
However, the big problem with using your credit card is if you can’t then repay the money you have spent. You will then owe the credit card company not just the amount you have spent, but the interest that they will start charging every month. If you can only repay the minimum amount each month, you will end up amassing more and more debt. Suddenly that Black Friday bargain doesn’t seem so great after all.
A better way forward may be to take out a small short term personal loan. This would enable you to purchase the item now then repay the loan as soon as you are able to do so.
Getting a short term personal loan is very straightforward. For example, with Simple Fast Loans you can simply apply online, and if your application is accepted the money should be in your account within 15 minutes. There is no charge to set up a short term personal loan with us, and you can see all the details of repayments and interest charges up front, so you know exactly how much you need to pay back each month. And if you are able to repay the loan early, that’s great, and there are no charges for doing so. You are in control.
We hope that the above advice is helpful, and that you manage to grab a genuine bargain this Black Friday.
Remember to check back here soon for more money saving and lifestyle tips from Simple Fast Loans.