Shop smarter and avoid rip-offs this Black Friday

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What started as a single day of sales in November now lasts for weeks
By Riyah Collins
BBC Newsbeat

If your inbox currently looks like this: “Buy now!” “Don’t miss out!” “Deals end soon!”… it can only mean it’s Black Friday again.

With the cost-of-living crisis, lots of us will be looking for crossed-out prices and big yellow stickers.

But research by consumer advice group Which? suggests we might not be getting the deal we bargained for.

Before you click “add to basket”, BBC Newsbeat’s asked some experts for their top tips on resisting temptation.

Don’t panic – Black Friday isn’t the only sale

Which? has published analysis of 208 deals at eight major shops on Black Friday 2022, tracking the price of the items every day for the six months before and after the big day.

It found that only five of the 208 products – 2% – were at their lowest price during the November sales.

So this is not your only chance to get a good deal.

“There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year when you can find the same products for the same price or maybe even cheaper than Black Friday,” says Harry Kind, from Which?.

The magazine’s research found Apple Airpods on sale in May 2022 for £99-£109 before going up to £139 a few months later.

That meant when they were priced at £119 for Black Friday they were marked as £20 off, but you could have saved an extra £20 earlier in the year.

Obviously, that doesn’t help much if you’re looking to bag a cut-price Christmas gift in November, but seeing a discount can push you into a purchase.

Harry advises to “ignore that ‘was’ price and just focus on the now price because that’s what’s important”.

Harry Kind from Which? says not to feel pressured into buying anything in the sales

Look out for Black Friday scams

“In amongst these deals are some deals that are too good to be true,” says Harry.

“If you see something which is a massive reduction on an item that you know is more expensive elsewhere then be really, really cautious.”

He says scammers can create convincing rip-off websites that leave customers with dodgy products or even nothing at all.

Harry suggests being extra cautious when shopping on social media and using a credit card to give you extra protection when making purchases.

Make a wish list

Kat Leech, known as Kat Saves on TikTok, shares money-saving tips with her 40,000 followers and says companies try and encourage us to buy items we might not need out of fear we’re missing a good deal.

“Getting targeted with ads can be really difficult,” the 27-year-old says.

Kat, who lives in Manchester, says she turns off marketing emails which tend to clog up your inbox and tempt you into impulse buys – “one of the worst habits you can have” when it comes to saving cash.

She advises making a list of what we really want to help us avoid being drawn in.

“The main shopping rule that I really live by when it comes to sales like Black Friday is if you were going to buy it anyway, then you’re saving money,” says Kat.

“If you weren’t going to buy it, then you’re just wasting money.”

Kat Leech shares money saving tips on her TikTok

Do you really need it?

Kat’s ultimate advice is just to reduce what we buy.

“You don’t actually have to buy anything on Black Friday, you don’t even have to buy anything for Christmas,” she says.

Harry agrees and says it’s more important than ever to make more considered choices.

“If you buy something you don’t want, even if it’s got all the money off in the world, it’s not a good deal,” says Harry.

“With the cost-of-living crisis, there’s never been a better time to see through the corporate nonsense that is Black Friday, so don’t feel that FOMO.

“Make sure you’re buying only those things that you really need.”

Organisations that can help with debt and money problems can be found via BBC Action Line.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

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