5 great ways to make Black Friday work for you

Black Friday started in the US in the early 1950’s. It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping period, and whilst it started in the US, it has now been incorporated into almost every country’s retail calendar the world over. It is the Holy Grail for retail bargains.

Now, as we all know, sales shopping can result in great outcomes for both your friends and family and your wallet. However, it can also result in the heady kind of high that means you soon forget exactly what it is you were supposed to be looking for and end up draining your bank account (you haven’t paid your rent), because you found an antique set of lawn ornaments (you live in a 5th floor apartment), for only £980! (They were more than 75% off!).

So, to avoid any financial catastrophes, follow these five steps to make Black Friday work for you, not against you, this year.

1. Make a list of exactly what you need

Passive browsing costs money. Don’t be distracted by all the other bargains being pushed at you. By making a list you will be able to focus on buying only what it is you need, and you won't find yourself spending money on things you don't need (and didn't even want in the first place).

2. Make a budget and stick to it

As always, making a budget is a great way to manage your money. Not only does it give you a clear idea of how much money you can afford to spend, but it also helps you develop the discipline to say no to less important items and prioritise those you really need.

3. Use a credit card online

You get online fraud protection when you use a credit card, which you are not always guaranteed when you use a debit card. Furthermore, despite the recent PSD2 updates you may still be charges "transaction charges" for using a debit card online. And last (but not least), by using credit card you are spreading the financial burden slightly. By using your credit card you are able to plan you repayment schedule appropriately.

4. Be discerning

There is a great feeling of pressure on Black Friday that if you don’t buy the deal you see immediately then it will be gone before you can blink. Although you may e aware that this is purely a sophisticated marketing technique it can still be difficult to ignore. However, try to fight this urge to panic buy and take all the time you need to shop around and see if you can get a better deal on what you want from another store.

5. Capitalise on the free returns

If you want something, but aren’t entirely sure of the size or style on you then take advantage of the great Black Friday prices and buy it whilst it’s cheap. If it turns out you don’t like it then most places have a free returns policy and you will be able to send it back for a refund; no damage done.

Remember, choose the deals that work for you, and remember that with the Oval Saving Rules you can still save whilst you shop.