Millions will be spent by shoppers on Black Friday this week. The Moneywise team share views on this annual shopping event
This week UK shoppers will be spending millions of pounds as they get started on Christmas shopping or treats for themselves. No longer confined to one day, online and high street retailers have been tempting us with Black Friday discounts all week.
Here the Moneywise team share their views – and their shopping lists - on this often-controversial American tradition that has well and truly crossed the Atlantic and become embedded in the UK retail calendar.
Think we’ll stand by our guns or get carried away? We’ll update this piece next week to let you know!
Keeping my eyes-peeled but only for the right deals
Rachel Lacey, special projects editor, Moneywise
We’ve recently moved back into our newly renovated home and we’ve still got a lot of furniture to buy. For months I’ve had my eye on a lovely yellow chair from Made.com – it’s more money than we wanted to spend but we just haven’t found another one we like nearly as much, so I’m keeping my fingers-crossed for some juicy discounts from the online furniture retailer on Black Friday.
I can’t say I’m a massive fan of Black Friday or the sense of hysteria that can result but the reality is it’s an expensive time of year and most retailers will be offering discounts of some sort. So, if I see something we need for the house, or can find some bargain Christmas gifts we’d only be buying in the next few weeks, (son no.1 is desperate for an X Box) then I’ll be there with bells on. Online only I might add and from retailers I know – I won’t be fighting in my local supermarket for a bargain games console or buying it from a website I’ve never heard of, no matter how cheap it is!
No Black Friday temptations for us this year
Mark Stammers, art director, Moneywise
Money is tight. Christmas is cancelled! Well, maybe not cancelled but certainly scaled back due to some unforeseen large vets bills for our family dog.
Normally, Black Friday would be an opportunity to pick up some of the pricier Christmas gifts whilst they are on sale. Previous years have seen us splurge on games consoles and upgrade the living room TV.
This year we have had to re-examine our priorities. So, our pug Luna gets the best medical care we can find, and we all settle for more reasonably priced gifts that can be picked up without the furious deal-hunting required around Black Friday.
To be honest it’s nice to not have to focus so much effort on out-doing previous years presents, and maybe get back to enjoying the less commercial aspects of the season.
“Don’t forget cash back when you’re snapping up a bargain”
Rachel Rickard Straus, editor, Moneywise
I long for the year when I’ve transformed into a sufficiently-organised person that I know what Christmas presents I plan to buy by Black Friday. Once again, this is not the year.
I’ve got a couple of ideas and so maybe I’ll have a browse. However, one’s at M&S and I don’t think they take part in Black Friday.
If I do go for anything, I’ll be sure to claim some cashback along the way. It’s easy to forget to when you’re rushing to make a purchase, but it can save you another few pounds to go through a cashback website, so it’s well worth it.
“I always buy big-ticket items on Black Friday”
Hannah Nemeth, chief sub-editor, Moneywise
It’s tempting to get carried away on Black Friday, so I always shop for big-ticket items. Last year, I planned in advance to buy an entry-level Apple iMac desktop computer. The list price was £1,100 but I got £100 off at John Lewis – it also offers a two-year warranty rather than Apple’s one-year plan.
This year, my husband is looking for a MacBook – so we’ll have a browse in the Apple Store and John Lewis beforehand, and then I’ll be online at just past midnight to see whether we can pick up a deal.
“I don’t get this Black Friday madness”
Stephen Little, staff writer, Moneywise
For some reason people seem to go crazy about Black Friday and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Being British I always mocked our American cousins for their inherent ability to turn into mindless shopping zombies willing to fight each other to the death to grab the latest bargain.
It gave me a sense of superiority knowing that us Brits were far too intelligent and refined to ever lower ourselves to such shenanigans, but then exactly the same thing started happening over here.
Getting swept along by the hype can have dire consequences for your bank balance too, especially if you shop online. People see the huge reductions and and buy things they don’t even want just because it is on sale and end up getting into debt.
Deals are also not what they always seem. An investigation by Which? last year found that more than half of Black Friday deals are cheaper or at the same price at other times of the year. So, I’ll definitely be keeping my wallet firmly closed this Black Friday until the madness passes.
"Do your research - not all deals are as good as they might seem"
Edmund Greaves, deputy editor, Moneywise
I must admit I'm a little partial to online shopping (it's one of my money weaknesses). I can't stand trudging to the shops so trawling online looking for deals feels a lot easier and fun for me.
But being aware of that, I try to exercise restraint, especially when events like Black Friday come up, as it is easy to be swept away by supposedly-good deals. It's really important to do due diligence on what you're looking at. Ask yourself if you really need it, whether you can afford it, and whether it's actually a good offer.
Websites like Camelcamelcamel are an essential tool to check the prices of offers. Camelcamelcamel will show you a fluctuating price graph over time - and can often reveal that deals aren't as good as they seem. In some cases websites will even hike the price before a sale before cutting it, to give the appearance of a significant discount.
Having written about consumer deals and the like a lot in my time at Moneywise, I tend to have a rule of thumb that unless it is at least 20% discounted on the regular price, I won't pay much attention - saving 5-10% is a pretty token amount of money. But then, the best way to save on a deal is to not spend the money in the first place.