Top tips for shopping on Black Friday

Keeping it trendy

It's coming around to that time of the year when the high street starts to fill up, the shelves get heavier and our wallets get lighter.

Buying Christmas gifts is one challenge to face before the end of the year, but you can lighten the load a little by making the most of the deals available on Black Friday.

When is Black Friday 2017?

However, this is the busiest shopping day of the year and in 2016 alone £6.5 billion was spent over the course of the week.

This year Black Friday is on 24 November, and although we've still got a few weeks to wait, we're gearing up for the big event.

How Black Friday affects your consumer rights

Luckily our friends at HotUKDeals are on hand to help us out with some tips on how to make the most of our money.

Their deal-savvy shoppers have put together some top tips to get ahead of the crowds.

Black Friday: Top tips for making the most of your money

BEFORE: How to prepare

Research

As with many things, preparation is vital for making the most of Black Friday. Don't go in blind - make sure you take a little time beforehand to make a list of exactly what you want to buy and find out where the products are being sold. If you stick to a list you are far less likely to end up going way over budget.

Sign up

Newsletters and email updates can be really handy too when it comes to planning in advance. If you'd rather something even more immediate, you can sign up for WhatsApp alert messages from HotUKDeals. Another suggestion is to make the most of the Amazon Prime 30-day free trial - you'll get access to discounts early and benefit from fast delivery too.

Make the most of social media

It's a good idea to keep an eye on the social media pages of the big stores you're looking to hit on Black Friday. You can turn on notifications for Facebook posts and turn on mobile notifications on Twitter to make sure you don't miss out on any big announcements before and on the day itself.

Stock up

If you want to be really prepared you should head over to the website you're looking to buy from the day before the sale drops and not only make a note of the products you want to purchase but go ahead and put them in your online basket there and then. However, some outlets only hold products in baskets for 12 hours, but plenty of places will have a 'saved items' option, where you can earmark what you want. Then all you'll need to do later is check the discount is as expected and move them all over to the checkout.

Top tips for successful shopping on Black Friday

DURING: How to make the most of the day itself

Get clicking

If you want to avoid the crowds then shopping online will make your life a lot easier this Black Friday. Make sure your computer is fully charged and ready to go and you can relax in the comfort of your own home while browsing the best deals. Even if you know exactly what you want, be sure to shop around. Comparing prices with other sites is important, you never know who is going to drop their discounts even further on the day itself.

Timing is everything

You might be looking to bag a big ticket, in demand item this Black Friday... if that's the case, make sure you're shopping at the right time. If you know that you definitely can't afford to miss out then why not set your alarm a little earlier than normal to beat the online crowds and queues. After all, if you're shopping online who says you can't do it from the comfort of your own bed!

Patience is a virtue

One HotUKDeals member has advised that it's not always as straightforward as instantly clicking through to check out. If you're not successful instantly, don't panic and persevere! It's always worth checking other shops too to find out if the product on your mind is listed elsewhere for less.

Make extra savings

Have a look the night before Black Friday and see if there are any other discount codes that you could stack on top of the existing deal. While you may not be able to use them in some cases, if you can you could save yourself even more - what's not to like!

Keep up to date with all things Black Friday on our dedicated Aol Money page here.

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Save money on shopping: ten great tricks
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Save money on shopping: ten great tricks

The more work you are prepared to put in, the more you stand to save. If you put your shopping list into mysupermarket.com, you can identify where each individual items is cheapest, and can technically buy every single item at its lowest possible price.

If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, a reasonable compromise is to shop at two supermarkets: once at the weekend and once mid-week. You can buy each item at the cheapest of the two shops, and save money without devoting hours to shopping.

There are several deal-sharing sites, including hotukdeals.com and latestdeals.co.uk. Most of them have a ‘freebies’ section, where you can get items completely free, and all have a section where they post fantastic deals that are well worth taking advantage of.

They will often point the way to coupons for brilliant discounts too.

The more time you have spare to spend looking for these, the more you can save.

It’s worth following your favourite brands on Facebook or Twitter. It’s also important to pick up in-house magazines, try your free local paper, and check any letters from supermarket loyalty schemes for your vouchers. If you have a Nectar card, visit the website before you shop, so you can upload the latest deals to your card.

While you’re in-store, keep your eyes peeled for promotions on packets, and on receipts. Often the deal-hunting websites will offer a short cut to many of these, but if you have the opportunity to do some legwork, you will find plenty of others.

Compare the price of your branded goods (after you use the coupon) with the cheapest supermarket alternative. If the discount makes it the cheapest option, then feel free to use it immediately.

However, if it doesn’t bring the price down below the own brand price, then don't throw it away. Hang onto the coupon, and check Mysuupermarket.com every few days to see if there’s an offer running on the brand at any time before the coupon expires. A deal plus a coupon is often the cheapest option.

Prices change all the time, but it pays to have a shopping list annotated with the usual price - or an old receipt - on hand when you are shopping. When something is on sale, compare it to the usual selling price from your list, to decide if it’s really as good value as it purports to be.
The frugal experts have decent storage areas at home, so if there’s a very special deal on washing powder or toilet paper, tins or toiletries, they can stock up for a few months at a knock-down price. It’s not generally worth doing on fresh produce, or packets with a short shelf life though, because throwing something away that’s out of date will undo all of your good work.
There can be some incredible bargains in the ‘yellow sticker’ sections of the supermarket. Most stores will have a spot for fruit and vegetable reductions, somewhere for chilled food price cuts, one for bakery products, and a final one for those with a longer shelf life that may be a bit battered, or separated from the outer packaging. Check them all for a possible discount.

The ’yellow sticker’ items will usually be reduced at least twice a day: once in the afternoon and once later in the evening. If you can wait to shop at around 7.30pm or 8pm you can get astonishing discounts.

If you want to time your shop exactly, then your best bet is to ask in store when they do their final reductions - don't be shy!

Get to know the rules around freezing ‘yellow sticker’ items, so you can buy when they are cheapest and use over the following weeks and months.

Don't assume something is perishable without checking. Everything from cheese to beansprouts is fine to freeze as long as you treat them correctly (beansprouts need blanching, chilling in ice water, and freezing immediately).

It’s never worth buying something just because it’s cheap: you also have to be able to factor it into your life. If you can't immediately think how you would use that over-ripe avocado, a pack of cut-price tongue or kippers, then don't buy them.
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