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As those across the pond get ready to tuck into their annual turkey fest, it's once again time to get ready for Black Friday and its digital counterpart Cyber Monday. Savvy shoppers are expected to save an average of £191 this year, but are you suitably prepared?
In recent years, the phenomenon that is Black Friday has been slowly taking hold in the UK, with many Brits now using this savings bonanza to get some good deals on their festive shopping – as well as for themselves. Indeed, the latest Lloyds Bank Spending Power Report suggests people are hoping to save an average of £191 on their spending this year, with just 36% planning to do so in the shops.
That's not even including any additional savings that could be made by putting the spend on a cashback or reward credit card, or even by using up any award points you've accumulated throughout the year. An additional cashback bonus could be just what you need to pay for the festive meal(s) that are likely to occur throughout December.
Not only do 89% intend to do at least some of their shopping online tomorrow, but the focus seems to be on electrical items – which can be quite expensive otherwise – as 45% expect to bag at least one small electronic item at a bargain. However, not all sources support Lloyds Bank's figures.
While VoucherCodes.co.uk found that more money is set to be spent in shops, at £2.23 million per minute compared to £720,000 online, Trusted Reviews research suggests that as many as 75% of Brits might just sit this year out. According to VoucherCodes.co.uk, 27% of Brits are positive about Black Friday, which means it could be just a quarter of Brits racking up a total expected spend of £2.44 billion.
The low number of people thinking about taking part could have something to do with previous years' regrets, with Finder.com's survey finding that 21% of respondents regret a purchase they made in last year's sales. What's more, not all may be able to identify a good deal when they see it, with TopCashback revealing that just 11% managed to score full marks on their maths quiz.
So, you may be tempted by an overall 20% off deal, but if you're planning to make multiple purchases then getting your fourth purchase free could bag you a bigger saving (depending on the value of the lowest-cost item). Additionally, some money experts have warned that deals might actually be cheaper at other times of the year, so it's always worth considering your purchases carefully before you commit.
Finally, cybersecurity company McAfee warns people not to be too hasty, as 20% of their survey respondents have bought something from a website they did not know simply because they didn't want to miss out on a deal. With 39% unable to tell if a website is fake or not, it can pay to not get too carried away over the next few days – especially considering criminals have absconded with an average of £725 per person this year.
Aside from double-checking any website you buy from (the lock icon in your browser is a good indicator, as is searching for website reviews through an independent search engine), you can make your purchases more secure by using a credit card, which comes with additional consumer protection. Payment sites such as PayPal can also add another layer of security.
Whether you're still thinking of sitting out this Black Friday frenzy or are ready with a wish list for tomorrow, don't forget to set yourself a budget so you don't overspend and think twice before you make a purchase. The last thing any of us want is a Black Friday hangover next week alongside a big red number on your bank account and/or credit card.
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