Whether you’re after a new laptop, or some Christmas gifts for your in-laws, it's easy to be seduced by the promise of knocked down prices and in-your-face advertising that accompanies Black Friday.
It’s easy to be swept along by all the hype, especially when deals are promising to ease the strain on our bank accounts in the run-up to the festive season. So what can you do to ensure you’re a sensible shopper? It’s simple: preparation, research and willpower.
We’ve pulled together five top-tips to help you shop guilt free, safe in the knowledge you won’t wake up with a nasty debt hangover:
- Set yourself a budget and stick to it: Not only will this force you to pick and choose the products you want to buy; a budget will also give you a better understanding of how much you can afford to spend. Even if it’s an absolute bargain, don’t be tempted to splurge more than you realistically can afford to - you’ll be grateful for it later.
- Don’t panic buy: Don’t let the countdown clock daunt you, take your time to consider each purchase before you complete the final transaction. A key indicator of purchase fraud is being rushed into buying, so keep an eye out on this kind of behaviour on websites, especially if you've ended up there after seeing an ad on social media! Alternatively, write a shopping list - it's still the best way to focus on what you need, and not what you want to buy on impulse.
- Ask yourself “Do I really need this?”: It might sound like we’re sapping all the fun out of shopping, but if you’re tight for cash, be realistic with what you can spend. Do you really need another blender even though it’s 50% off, and is it essential to buy that cashmere jumper now? If you answer no to any of these questions then leave it for another day.
- Compare and research prices before hitting the shops: Avoid the pitfall of buying a product that is cheaper at other times of the year by conducting a little research before you hit the shops – focus on the actual price of the product rather than the saving.
- Check the retailers’ returns policy: Just in case you end up purchasing something you may later regret, make sure you’re aware of the retailers’ returns policy. Is there a tighter time period to claim back? Or can you only return for other sale items only?
If you're planning a spot of Black Friday shopping, remember to treat it as a marathon and not a sprint. Make an effort to really consider your purchase before you part with your cash. By doing so, you can avoid any potential financial difficulties further down the line.