We’re now firmly in Black Friday sales territory. Though some retailers began discounting items weeks ago, activity is really going to ramp up over the next few days as we approach the weekend. This is when you’ll likely find the biggest deals of the year.
At least that’s what the retailers (and many influencers and publishers) will be telling you. Be prepared for hundreds of emails, banners, social posts and articles encouraging you to buy now, before you miss out on these never-bettered deals.
I’ve a healthy scepticism for these promotions. I’d certainly caution everyone to be wary of the hype and not to get too caught up in the moment. The bombardment of messages and tricks like countdown timers can easily pressure you into making impulse purchases. Not a good thing, especially if you don’t have the funds available.
And there’s a growing trend in recent years to tell you that it’s best to avoid the Black Friday sales completely. The key criticisms include that many deals can be misleading, with shops overinflating the ‘was’ price to make you think you’re getting a larger saving than you actually are. Linked to this is that often the prices this weekend aren’t even the lowest prices over the year.
And even if you do find low prices, it’s just tat and end-of-line clearances rather than anything special. Ultimately, the anti-Black Friday brigade will tell you that these sales are a scam.
Their points can be, and frequently are, true. And we should absolutely keep them in mind. But my issue is these can often be overcome. And if you do, you might just nab yourself a bargain. It just requires a little research and planning, and perhaps a mindset change, to safely navigate the risks.
When it comes to the misleading offers, if you get excited by the size of the discount itself then you’re better off ignoring these percentages completely. Instead, look at the new price in isolation.
I use price history sites such as PriceSpy and CamelCamelCamel to help get an idea of recent price trends. If the price now is similar to or cheaper than what is shown over the last year, then you’ll know it’s a low price, if not the lowest. And from that you can make the call on whether it’s decent value or not.
These same tools will show if the sale price is actually higher than normal, and that helps you decide if you should buy now or wait for prices to potentially dip again. That’s more likely for some items than others.
TVs for instance are replaced by new models in the spring, pushing existing prices down via clearance sales next year. However other items could be reduced to clear now and delaying your purchase could mean they’re out of stock in the coming weeks and months.
And of course, waiting is all well and good. But what if you need to buy the item now? A lot of shopping will be for Christmas. A winter coat isn’t much use in April. So waiting isn’t really an option (unless you’re planning for presents in 12 months time!). If you can’t delay your purchase you just need to be happy with the price right now, even if it’s not the lowest ever price.
But broader than this, I think our focus on Black Friday (and actually, whenever we shop) shouldn’t actually start with ‘how much?’ The first question you should ask yourself before every purchase is ‘why?’
Is it something you’ll need or use? Doing this can help cut out buying something because of the size of the discount. It blocks spending because you’re caught up in the hype. It stops you buying on impulse, only for that item to never be used.
Then if you can justify your spending, think next about ‘What can I afford?’ You’ll be able to frame any deals you see within your budget. Only then can you really make a decision about whether the deal is a good deal and the price is something you’re willing to pay.
Andy Webb is an award-winning blogger and podcaster from Be Clever With Your Cash. Follow Andy on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram via @andyclevercash
Source: Read Full Article