How to survive Black Friday and pre-Christmas 'sales'

Bargains beware! How to survive Black Friday and other pre-Christmas

As we get closer to Christmas the silly sale season begins. And it's not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now there are whole weeks dedicated to discounts and flash sales.

These might seem a great way to save money, particularly on Christmas shopping, but if you aren't careful you could end up spending far more than you planned.

Of course there can be some significant reductions available, so how do you know if you're really getting a great deal?

Follow our #XmasReady sale survival guide and you should be ok.

1. Write a list of what you need to buy

It's tempting to see something in a sale and think it'd make a perfect gift, or even something for yourself. But if you hadn't planned to buy it, you're not really saving money.

Just as with supermarket shopping, having a list will focus you on getting what you need, and not make impulse buys.

So before you head to the shops (or online), write a list of people you are buying for and what you think you'll get them. Then do the same for the things you need for yourself.

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2. Set your price limit

Now you've got your list, mark down next to every person and each item how much you plan to spend. Total this up and see how it compares to what you can afford. You might need to rethink your individual gift budgets if these totals aren't similar.

Don't forget to factor in the other costs of Christmas such as food and fun!

3. Research a good price

With your gift list ready, take a look on price comparison websites to see the going rate for each item.

This'll help you know if you really are being offered a bargain or if it's not too different to the normal price. Often these sales are just stock clearance or have been at the same price for a while. Benchmarking what you're willing to pay will help you stick to budget.

4. Keep your receipts

Hopefully you'll have kept to your lists AND nabbed a few bargains. But if you have spotted something irresistible that isn't a planned purchase check the refund policy before you hand over any cash.

Not every shop will allow refunds if you change your mind a few hours later. If you can take unwanted impulses back, make sure you keep any receipts.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Top ten facts about Black Friday
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Top ten facts about Black Friday
Black Friday originated in the USA in 1950s/1960s and takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. 
Black Friday was brought over to the UK by Asda in 2010, part of the Walmart group.
However in 2015 the supermarket didn't take part in the event and it hasn't been confirmed if they will be launching any Black Friday sales in 2016. 
In 2015 the average spend instore was £41 while the average amount spent my customers online was £92. 
On Black Friday in 2015 £1.1 billion was spent and there was £3.3 billion spent over the weekend as a whole, including Cyber Monday.  
A staggering 1.4 million people went into debt as a result of their spending on Black Friday in 2015. 
When surveyed, 22% of Brits admitted to having bought something on Black Friday through the years. 
Is Black Friday on it's way out in the USA? Controversially Walmart opened their doors on Thanksgiving evening in 2011 and have done since then. Other stores have started to follow suit, potentially marking the end of the popular discount day.

There is some suggestion the day got its name to represent the first day shops went 'into the black' and made a profit, but there's not hard and fast evidence to support this.

This year Black Friday will take place on 25 November. Find out everything you need to know about deals, discounts and which shops are taking part here.

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