Hi friends! Welcome to episode 1 of my new series, Shopping 101 – Black Friday edition. When it comes to shopping and getting more bang for your buck I’m a self-proclaimed expert, and I’d love to share some of my knowledge with you all.
I decided that now is the perfect time to start this series as Black Friday is approaching fast, and I’d like to help you get ready for the madness which is Black Friday weekend.
First things first – what is, and when is Black Friday?
Black Friday is an informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term “Black Friday” did not become widely recognised or used until the early 2000s. – Wikipedia
In South Africa Black Friday will fall on Friday 23 November 2018, and Cyber Monday will be on Monday 26 November 2018. Promotions tend to run throughout the whole weekend.
Now that you have some background, let’s get stuck in. (Maybe get a snack, it’s gonna be a long one)
All the Black Friday sales can be extremely overwhelming and it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying things you don’t really need or want.
My advice is to make a list of things long in advance. If you’re a photographer and have been wanting to buy a new camera or equipment for a while, put it on the list. Or if your PC or laptop is on its last legs and you desperately need a new one, put it on the list. If you want to save some money by buying bulk coffee, diapers or toilet paper at a crazy discount, put it on the list. And then stick to the list. Don’t tempt yourself by looking at everything on offer all over the internet.
Another important thing is to start saving up long in advance. It’s great to have a list of things to look out for, but if you don’t actually have the money to buy it, it won’t do you any good. It’s almost payday, so instead of spending all your money, try to save up for everything you want to buy at the end of November.
DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP
So many South African retailers offer promotions but just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a good sale. Personally, I don’t buy something unless it’s 20% off and more. But that’s just me.
Take time to think about it, is 5% off or 10% off really enough? When you turn the % into Rands it makes a big difference, e.g. If you’re buying something for R7 999 at 10% off, you’re saving R799.90 and still spending R7 199.10, which to me is not a worthy discount. Especially not for Black Friday. If you, however, feel that it falls in your budget, go for it!
Many people are embarrassed to return things so they get stuck with unwanted goods and no money or even debt, so to reiterate, don’t get tempted into buying a ton of unnecessary stuff just because it’s on sale. Also, don’t get into debt because you bought a ton of unnecessary stuff. That’s just silly.
Lastly, compare prices. Many retailers actually trick you into thinking they’ve discounted items, so you have to do your research. Some retailers will mark up the item, show that as the original price, and then show you the actual price as the ‘discounted price’.
Take your list and write down the best price that you’ve seen those items advertised at. You can also make notes of how much those items cost on a weekly basis a couple of weeks prior. This way, when Black Friday rolls around you can quickly find the most competitive price.
If you search ‘Black Friday South Africa’ on YouTube, 8 out of 10 results are footage of stampeding shoppers causing chaos. Not to mention trying to find a parking, long ass queues and crowds, and probably my worst… trolleys smashing into your heels! I highly recommend staying far away from the shops, and shopping online from the comfort of your own home instead.
For those of you who will be shopping online, make sure you are already registered on the site you are planning to shop on. Also, if you’re comfortable with online shopping, save your payment details prior to Black Friday to save time during checkout. You can also choose alternative payment options like Zapper and Snapscan which are also quick and easy.
Ensure you have the relevant discount codes. Some online retailers automatically apply voucher codes if qualifying items are in your cart, whereas others expect you to manually add the code. Check that all the items you are purchasing qualify for the discount.
And most important of all, check your internet connection and battery life of the device you’re using to shop from.
FOR THOSE OF YOU BRAVING IN-STORE SHOPPING
You can’t shop online from all retailers like Game and Checkers, so here are a few tips for the brave. May the odds be ever in your favor!
- Leave small children at home.
- Team up with friends or family; split the list of items between you, or go to different locations of the same store.
- Stay hydrated! Make sure you have had a sufficient meal before heading out, and take water and a snack with you to hydrate and refuel during the day.
- Have a backup store in case the wanted items at the current store are sold out.
- Dress comfortably. This is the perfect opportunity to wear athleasure in public.
- Plan your routes. Familiarise yourself with the shopping centre you’re going to; where is the nearest entrance to your desired stores, and are all the stores you are planning to visit in close proximity to each other?
- Try not to use a trolley as it will be difficult to navigate aisles and will end up wasting a lot of your time.
- Shop early. Many retailers extend their trading hours and open their doors in the early hours of the morning.
- Shop late. Many retailers also offer last minute deals before they close or at midnight.
- Be vigilant! Crowds are good for one thing and one thing only – pick pockets! Keep your belongings on your person at all times. Try not to take a big handbag filled with precious items which can be stolen easily without you noticing. The last thing you want is getting to the till and realising you no longer own a wallet.
BE THE FIRST TO KNOW & COME PREPEARED
Be the first to know when retailers announce their deals , especially if you are eyeing specific items. You can ensure this by subscribing to newsletters, following them on all social platforms, and turning on notifications.
ENSURE YOU GET YOUR ITEMS
Two things you can do to help ensure you check out with the items that you came for are adding them to your cart and wishlists before. This is not a sure-fire way of getting your goods though; some retailers clear out your cart at midnight. In this case, you can quickly add your wishlisted items to your cart and checkout.
Black Friday is a good opportunity to test the waters of shopping on international websites like Amazon for example. Take advantage of discounts and free shipping promos.
IN CLOSING, REMEMBER
- First off, South African deals aren’t as great – USA deals tend to be 40% off up to 70% off, whereas SA deals are usually around 30% off.
- READ THE T’s & C’s – Some retailers don’t offer returns on sale or discounted items, so make 100% sure you want them.
- Use your benefit cards. (I wrote a blog post about rewards programs. Check it out here)
- When purchasing technology, try and find out how old the products are. Some tech retailers use Black Friday as an opportunity to get rid of old stock. Their stock may have been on shelves or in store rooms for months, if not longer. (I speak from experience on this one)
- Some stores have a limited amount of products on offer, e.g. Dion Wired will have a variety of products on offer, but only 10 of each product. First come first serve.
- Black Friday is a great opportunity to buy Christmas gifts at a discounted rate.
In my next episode I’ll be sharing what to shop for and where to shop from, so keep a lookout! Subscribe to my newsletter to get it straight to your inbox (don’t worry, I only email you once a week), and follow me on Instagram for all the latest updates.
Do you have any other cool tips to share? Where are your favourite places to shop on Black Friday, and what’s on your list? Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear from you 🙂