I Used To Be A Shopping Writer ― Here Are 6 Black Friday Mistakes You Should Never Make

Trust me, I've seen 'em all.
da-kuk via Getty Images

As both an ex-shopping writer and a member of a pretty big, prezzie-hungry family, Black Friday is pretty close to my heart.

But having witnessed what people tend to prefer when discount season rolls in (and how many returns they make), I’m *also* hyper-aware of the mistakes people tend to make when they’re dazzled by deals.

So I thought I’d share the most common errors people make ― and how to avoid them.

1) Not having a plan

Of course, shopping 101 tells you to make a list whenever you’re about to purchase en masse. This is equally true of Black Friday ― it’s very, very tempting to go for that 70%-off hair styler, for instance, when you have no idea what to buy someone.

With that said, a lot of people (myself included) aren’t actually sure what we’re looking for when we start a Christmas browse. Yes, in an ideal world, you’d want to know the exact items you need; but if you don’t, set price points as your goal instead.

In fact, I’ve actually found choosing a section (like beauty or home) or brand that I think I, or my giftee, would like and then looking for the best deals within that is a great flexible strategy. After all, budget is the reason you’re looking at deals in the first place, right?

2) Not checking RRPs now

Look at the price of your coveted goods now to ensure you don’t fall for artificially pumped-up RRPs that make supposedly massive discounts look good. It happens much more often than you’d think.

3) Sometimes, you should hang on for the extended sales

Cyber Monday, and sales leading up to Christmas after Black Friday, sometimes offer better deals for products whose Black Friday rush didn’t perform as planned. So, if your gift isn’t an absolute must-buy, it might be worth the wait.

Of course, if it’s a very popular or very highly-discounted product, nab it while you can ― my rule is that if it’s above 70% off, that’s a grab-and-go. That shrinks to 60% for higher-value items.

4) Have a person in mind for every present ― even if that person is you

Those “I don’t know who’ll want it, but it’s soooo cheap!” buys? Yeah, those can only result in two things; 1) regret from you and 2) an unwanted pressie for someone else.

5) Some sites have a % discount filter on their pages during sale days; this is more useful than price sorting, IMO

After all, I’d rather have a 70%-off £100 item than a £10 product that’s been cut down to £7, right? Budget permitting, of course.

6) Go easy on yourself ― and your wallet

It’s very easy to feel like Black Friday is THE gift-buying day, where not only do you have to decide what all of your loved ones get, but you also have to buy the pressies instantly, before everyone else wins the bargain race.

I understand the need to please your loved ones ― but remember, we’re all in the cozzie livs. And if you’re buying for yourself, consider exactly what it is that you want or need.

Happy shopping!

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