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Avoid getting into the red this Black Friday with these top tips

Updated 15 November 2021

5min read

Kate Morgan
Staff Writer

Black Friday is a day all savvy shoppers look forward to. From price drops to frenzied shoppers wrestling for the perfect gifts, Black Friday is something both to love and to loathe. 

With the date fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make Black Friday work for you. With the following tips and advice, you can get ready for a successful Black Friday that doesn’t break the bank. 

When is Black Friday 2021?  

Black Friday is traditionally the first Friday after Thanksgiving weekend, which in 2021 falls on 26th November.  

However, with every year that passes retailers seem to begin their sales even earlier. So, expect to see price drops in the name of Black Friday as early as late October, and for the sales to begin in earnest from mid-November.  

What is the history of Black Friday? 

In the USA, Black Friday follows Thanksgiving weekend. With one public holiday behind them and plenty of people off work, highstreets would be flooded with shoppers looking to take advantage of countless retailer discounts. Today, this has morphed into a frenzied peak of consumerism, with shoppers quite literally fighting in the isles for the best bargain.  

After US-owned retailers such as Amazon started offering Black Friday deals in the UK as well as the US, other stores soon followed. Today Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK, with retailers advertising extreme price drops and encouraging shoppers to make impulse purchases on high-value products before the day is out. It’s enticing, it’s exciting, and it’s potentially disastrous for your bank account. 

Cyber Monday is a more recent addition and falls on the Monday following Black Friday (this year 29th November). Traditionally, Black Friday saw sales in physical stores while Cyber Monday was reserved for online discounts. However, as so much of our shopping is online these days, the distinction has blurred slightly, with many retailers offering big discounts over the entire weekend.  

How much do we spend on Black Friday: the statistics 

In 2019, an incredible £8.6 billion was spent in the UK on Black Friday, with Barclaycard – Britain’s largest credit card provider – reporting an increase of 12.5% on the day. The UK’s Black Friday spending is amongst the highest in Europe.  

Sales in 2020 were predicted to rise by 8%, however store closures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions saw shopping fall drastically. Predictions fell from a £8.4 billion spend to £6 billion, with Barclaycard reporting that payments fell by more than 10% compared with Black Friday 2019. Despite the drop, that’s still a per-head spend of £295.67 per person. 

What makes 2021 so different? 

For many businesses, the past year has been one of their toughest. Physical stores have been closed for a large portion of the past 18 months as well as many online businesses being inconvenienced by social distancing measures, sudden illnesses and changes in shopping habits due to the pandemic. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have the potential to be make-or-break for businesses up and down the country that are desperate to take in as much cash as they can. 

Shoppers, too, are excited to spend. Though many people are still suffering the financial effects of the pandemic following the end of furlough, others are looking to celebrate, treat themselves and treat their loved ones after a 2020 Christmas spent apart. In fact, 55% of us plan to make this Christmas the biggest celebration yet, with a staggering 82% of us expecting to put our savings towards Black Friday and Christmas.  

One thing that’s for sure is that 26th November 2021 is going to be the biggest shopping day of the past two years.  

Our top Black Friday tips and advice for savvy shoppers  

According to Black Friday statistics, in 2018, 21% of UK shoppers who purchased something in the weekend sales regretted their purchase. Black Friday can be an opportunity to grab great bargains and save hundreds, potentially thousands, of pounds. But if you aren’t prepared, you can find yourself with a room full of unnecessary items and a credit card bill you can’t afford. Follow our Black Friday shopping tips for keeping your head, and your bank balance, in check this November:  

  • Don’t be impulsive – Make a list of everything you are looking for and try and stick to it. Just because something seems like a great deal, it doesn’t mean that you need that second television or a top-of-the-range vacuum cleaner. Sticking to your list means that you’ll be saving rather than spending in the long run.  

  • Do research products – After you’ve made your list, do your research. Shortlist brands and models that suit your needs and budget. Avoid ending up with a bad, unknown brand or something far more upmarket than you need just because you saw it on the day.  

  • Do check multiple retailers – Once you’ve found the exact items that you want, check to see which retailers will have these items in their sales, and compare different deals. One store might have some money off, but another store may have an even bigger discount.  

  • Don’t wait to get started – Though Black Friday is traditionally a one-day event, in recent years the sales have started days, or even weeks, early. However, some companies do offer better deals on the actual weekend itself. Start looking early, identify the best deals and check to see if further price drops are planned.  

  • Do set a budget – Know what you are willing to pay for each item before you begin to search for deals. If you can only afford that laptop with a 30% discount, don’t let yourself be talked round when you can only find it with 5% off.  

  • Do be pay-savvy – Some credit cards will offer you cashback on purchases. If you are planning on buying high-value items on Black Friday, research the best way to pay.  

  • Do think outside the box – It’s not just physical items that you can find in the sales. In 2019, 10 million subscribers signed up to Disney+ on Black Friday, and many airlines and holiday companies will slash prices too.  

  • Don’t be a victim of Black Friday debt – One in twenty will skip paying an important household bill over Christmas because they cannot afford to pay – so planning ahead for your Christmas spending with expert advice is an imperative.  

Before you plan your Christmas budget and decide whether you are going to be heading into the Black Friday sales, getting the right financial advice for your circumstances is key.

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About the author
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.