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Black Friday – What does it mean?

Shoppers in the UK are expected to spend at least £10bn in the next coming days as Black Friday approaches. Alongside proms and baby showers, Black Friday is another Americanism that has crossed the pond in recent years that we’ve warmly adopted, and it seems it is here to stay. But just what exactly is Black Friday and where did it all begin? Here is everything you need to know about this mammoth event shortly approaching.

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The Meaning of Black Friday 

Here’s the lowdown on all the things you need to know about Black Friday, before we tell you how to get the best deals.

  • Black Friday follows the day after Thanksgiving in America, this year falling on 27th November and it is a discount day where theoretically shops prices plummet for 24 hours, but at most retailers these days it extends over a four-day weekend.
  • Some sources state that it is the time of year when companies become profitable (especially retailers) where their bank balance goes from the red into the black.
  • It is often regarded in the US as symbolising the beginning of the festive shopping season. Black Friday has been incredibly popular in the US for years, and has gradually built up momentum in the UK since 2010.
  • Black Friday has been known to bring out the shop-zillas in people in both the US and UK, with chaos descending into fights in ASDA in 2014 , with shoppers wrestling over discounted TV’s and arrests taking place.
  • Since 2014, Black Friday has become the UK’s peak pre-Christmas online shopping day, but many retailers are launching their sales in the days prior to Black Friday, as well as opening for longer and earlier than usual.

Do Black Friday deals really provide good value for money?

A Which? survey on 2016’s Black Friday deals offered by retailers found that over 60% cost either less or the same before the event and with nearly half the deals, the price for these products was even less in December! The pandemonium over Black Friday can give the false impression that these are incredible deals when that isn’t always the case. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t bargains to be had, you just need to make sure you are being savvy about it.

Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of Black Friday:

  • Research prices online first to prevent you getting caught up in the impulse- led frenzy of Black Friday. According to a survey, 12% of Black Friday shoppers in 2016 didn’t check the previous price prior to buying! There are great web tools such as price trackers like CamelCamelCamel for products listed on Amazon that gives you a full price history, so you can see if it really is a good offer or not.
  • Check the price of a product across multiple stores to get the best indicator as to whether it is a bargain. It is often the case that different shops will sell a product at a similar value, but only one will say it’s a special offer. A clever marketing tool, but if you do some research before hand, it’s not one that you will fall victim to.
  • Which? also has a Price Predictor on its website which can help you to decide whether Black Friday is really the best time for you to buy.
  • Check if retailers have a price-matching policy on Black Friday deals, this can save you the hassle of spending across numerous stores. Not all retailers offer this, but they may instead give you the option of refunding the difference when challenged about a price drop soon after you’ve made a purchase. It’s worth asking!
  • Prepare as much as possible before the big day looms. This means follow your favourite retailers on Twitter, sign up to their newsletters or Google Alerts. Retailers are likely to publicise their best deals through social media, so this will give you more time to check on the validity of the best deals.

The Dark Side of Black Friday

Black Friday is not all cheerful discounts, but a melee of consumer greed as frugal shoppers battle the shop floor for the limited goods on offer. Our TVs have regularly been covering the queues and trampling of shoppers trying to get a big screen TV or that last designer dress on sale. In some cases, there have been incidents of shoplifting, fights, shootings and evacuating of stores (see below).

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Don’t forget about Cyber Monday!

If crowds and queuing aren’t for you (and who could blame you for that really) but you would still like to get a bargain or two, then Cyber Monday is calling! The online equivalent of Black Friday, started in 2005 and was actually first invented as a way to encourage people to spend more money online, at a time when online shopping wasn’t all the rage. Cyber Monday falls on the Monday after Black Friday, on the 27th November this year.

However, if you feel stuck and can’t decide whether to resist the temptation of Black Friday and face the shopping crowds anyway you could check beforehand to see if it’s possible you can buy online on Black Friday, and collect at a later date for no extra cost. For example, Argos offer this option to its customers, holding products for up to a week. A perfect alternative and an option definitely worth considering!

Typically, you do not use guarantor loans to fund consumer goods like this, especially Christmas shopping. Instead, guarantor loan products should be used for things like debt consolidation, car purchases, weddings, education and home improvements. The cost of a guarantor loan is around 49.9% APR which is considerably higher than a credit card and therefore it should be used as a lifestyle purchase and not for impulsive spending e.g gifts, holidays, TVs and other luxury items.

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