Black Friday - should you start early?

Sarah Coles
black friday just ahead green...
black friday just ahead green...

Black Friday started ages ago. Amazon kicked things off more than a week ago, and now everyone from Tesco to Halfords and Argos have launched their sales. The question is whether you should get in on the action now - or whether you would be better off waiting for Black Friday itself.

See also: Black Friday 2016: Xbox and PS4 console and bundle discounts and deals

See also: Black Friday: The worst gifts to buy

See also: Black Friday 2016: eBay discounts and deals

Get started now

It's tempting to get stuck in as soon as possible, and snap up early deals. If we leave it too late, we worry, the best deals will all be gone, and we'll end up paying full price for the item further down the line.

There are certain stores for which this approach is quite right. Crew Clothing, for example, has announced its not doing Black Friday this year, and instead is running a 'Navy Friday' from today, offering 25% of everything. Past experience would seem to show that Boden is offering its best deals now too - with 30% off, as that was as low as it has gone in previous years.

There are also some offers that are around for a limited time, and as long as you shop around, and check that the deal is as good as it looks, there's no guarantee that this offer will come up again this side of Christmas. If you are happy with the discount on offer, you should feel free to get stuck in.

Then there's the risk that some items will sell out before Friday. Some fashion brands, for example, only have a limited number of items, and are already seeing some of the best deals limited to one or two sizes. If you have had your eye on a specific item from a particular brand, you might not want to run the risk.

If you are shopping at Argos, it has taken a bit of the pressure off by saying that if it discounts the sale items any further on Black Friday, it will refund the difference. Although, of course, if the items is available elsewhere, there are no guarantees it won't be cheaper in another store on the day.

Wait and see

There are plenty of circumstances in which it's worth waiting for Friday before you buy. If you are reasonably flexible about what you want, there will be plenty of new offers on the day itself, so it could pay to wait and see.

This particularly applies if you are after an older model of something, like the PS4 instead of the PS4 Slim. These are already reduced, but are widely predicted to be even cheaper on the day.

It's also worth bearing in mind that this isn't a zero-sum game. If you don't get what you want on Black Friday, the prices won't suddenly shoot up again. A Which? study found that not all deals are cheaper on Black Friday itself - and that in past years there have been more items on offer after the day than in the weeks before.

A huge number of stores are running sales until Monday, or even to the end of the month - and still more will launch separate pre-Christmas sales. If you're not buying the item for Christmas, then you could even hold off until the Boxing Day sales.

If you have any flexibility, therefore, it might just pay to wait and see.